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What does Mobilegeddon mean for you?

A recent Google algorithm change – dubbed ‘mobilegeddon’ – penalises websites that are not mobile optimised. But small businesses need not fear.

Under the most recent change in how google decides to place sites in its search ranking (the ‘algorithm’) websites that are not optimised for devices such as tablets and mobile phones will rank much lower.

“Google changes the goalposts every now and again, often without any real notice. This is one of those times,” says Oliver Hopkinson, an SEO expert who works at “Those who have not thought about non-desktop users will now urgently have to do so. The PPC auction system is quirky in that the highest bidder does not always win – you should always try to make your site as easy to use as possible, with the user at the heart of everything you do.”

A mobile optimised website for small businesses

There are three main options for making a website mobile optimised and all businesses must choose one to avoid being penalised by google:

  • Responsive design – a website that automatically adapts to a user’s device for easy reading and navigation
  • Specific mobile site – a separate website just for tablet and mobile users, often recognisable by the prefix ‘m’
  • Dynamic serving – provides the user with a different interface (generated by different code) to different devices but remains on the same URL.


Creating mobile optimised websites can be a very expensive business. B&Q, for example, recently spent around £60 million on a new site. Those without a dedicated IT expert in house may look at such massive spending with envy and frustration. But Hopkinson says that smaller business actually have an opportunity to steal a march. “Smaller businesses tend to have simpler sites so can make changes a lot faster. Having just one or a few decision-makers means the update process can be a lot quicker. That offers the opportunity to take business from bigger rivals that cannot act so fast.”

5 tips to make your website mobile friendly

There are a few straightforward tips that should make the process a lot more straightforward:

  1. Check if you are affected: google’s mobile friendly test will let you know if you need to make changes. There is information in their mobile-friendly websites section to explain how, including seven common mistakes.
  2. Act now, see the opportunity: your competitors may well choose to ignore the change, offering you a valuable chance to grow your business.
  3. Be willing to make a modest investment: optimising your website for mobile may be as easy as making your wordpress platform mobile responsive. But most small businesses will have to spend to ensure their site is not left behind. The cost is well worthwhile.
  4. Build for mobile first: if you have not yet created a website or if you are rebuilding your site, make sure that mobile users are the primary focus.
  5. Stay on top of digital trends: changes are much easier to anticipate if you educate yourself. Just a few hours will be enough to get a working knowledge

To find out more about building an online presence, see our comprehensive guide.

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