The early impact of Googles mobile-friendly update

On the 21st April 2015 Google started to globally roll out their “mobile-friendly” Google algorithm update. The update will potentially affect web pages that aren’t mobile-friendly and increase the rankings of pages that are. Google explained that a mobile-friendly website must have, amongst other things, readable text without the need for tapping or zooming and should avoid unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.

Google specified the update will:

  • Only affect rankings on mobile devices
  • Affect search results in all languages worldwide
  •  Applies to individual pages, not entire websites

Our findings so far

We have used data from our enterprise SEO platform, to analyse the early effects of the mobile update. We have seen early signs of fluctuation, with some non mobile-friendly pages losing position to pages that Google deems to be mobile-friendly.

We have analysed the rankings of six well-known brands that positions changed around the 21st April and asked:

Is this a Google “Mobile-Friendly” Algorithm Hit?

Asda = Yes
Sainsbury’s = Yes
Barclays = Yes
Siemens = Yes
Next = No
Halifax = No

Chart 1) Position explorer chart, Asda have risen in position across a number of search terms post update, Google mobile UK

Is this a Google “Mobile-Friendly” Algorithm Hit? Yes

Asda mobile-friendly update

We believe Asda have benefitted from Google’s mobile-friendly update and have increased in position for a number of search terms. Asda has mobile-friendly pages and passed Google’s mobile-friendly test.

Asda Google mobile test

Chart 2) position explorer chart, Sainsbury’s have dropped in position, Google mobile

Is this a Google “Mobile-Friendly” Algorithm Hit? Yes

sainsburys

Sainsbury’s have a mobile-friendly site however dropped across a range of search terms post update. Sainsbury’s have a m. site but Google is still trying to return the www. site.
sainsburys2
Chart 3) Position explorer chart, Barclays have dropped in position, Google mobile 

Is this a Google “Mobile-Friendly” Algorithm Hit? Yes

barclays

The Barclays homepage is mobile-friendly and ranks consistently pre and post Google’s mobile update (blue line search term personal banking). All other pages aren’t mobile-friendly and have dropped in position post update.

Barclay’s homepage passes the mobile-friendly test:
barclays test
Other pages failed the mobile-friendly test:
barlcyas tst 2

Chart 4) Position explorer chart, Siemens have risen in position, Google mobile

Is this a Google “Mobile-Friendly” Algorithm Hit? Yes

siemens

All Siemens pages are fully optimised for mobile and passed Google’s mobile-friendly test. Siemens have increased in position since the update, which suggests they have benefitted from it.
semn

Chart 5) Position explorer chart, Next have dropped in position, Google mobile

Is this a Google “Mobile-Friendly” Algorithm Hit? No

Next

Next dropped in position for a number of search terms post update however they have now risen, this could have been due to internal error and over-steer prior to the update.

Next’s mobile site is not recognised by the Google mobile test this could be due to an internal error.

Chart 6) Position explorer chart, Halifax have dropped in position, Google mobile

Is this a Google “Mobile-Friendly” Algorithm Hit? No

halifax

All Halifax’s pages are fully optimised for mobile and passed Google’s mobile-friendly test. Halifax dropped in both mobile and desktop prior to the update this could be due to over-steer prior to the update.
halifax test
Chart 7) Position explorer chart, British airways have dropped in position 

Is this a Google “Mobile-Friendly” Algorithm Hit? Yes

BA

British Airways have dropped in position across a range of search terms post update. BAs home page is mobile-friendly however all other pages failed Google’s mobile-friendly test.

BAs home page passed the mobile-friendly test:

baa test

All other pages failed:
ba other pages

In conclusion

Sites that are fully optimised for mobile have benefited from the update, however pages that aren’t mobile-friendly have dropped. We will be monitoring mobile results over the next few weeks, please contact us if you need any guidance.