According to research conducted during the first quarter of 2015 by Merkle | RKG, Google’s mobile algorithm change could hurt Fortune 500 companies. At that point, almost 50% didn’t have mobile-friendly websites, based on Google’s standards. Internet Retailer Top 500 websites, on the other hand, had more than 70% of their websites ready for the change.
Interestingly, not all of the Fortune 500 websites that passed Google’s mobile-friendly test were necessarily following Google’s recommendations. A full 70% were using separate mobile websites, such as those with .m in the domain.
The study further noted that Fortune 500 companies that didn’t finally make the necessary changes to implement a responsive design would suffer with regards to their search traffic. While previous algorithm changes may not have impacted Fortune 500 company websites much, Google’s latest change threatens to take away a significant portion of their traffic.
In Q4 2014, AdLift conducted research on how ranking high in search results impacted clickthrough rates (CTRs). They found that the CTRs were dramatically lower for sites not featured in the first position. In some instances, falling only to the second position decreased CTRs for branded keywords by more than 75%.
When the RKG study looked at Google’s North American organic traffic for the first quarter of 2015, it found that a full 47% of search traffic came from mobile devices. This increase in mobile search traffic represents a 3% quarter over quarter increase for Google and 11% year over year. Other search engines showed even larger increases:
- Q1 2015 increase – 54%
- Year over year increase – 14%
Based on these findings, it’s little wonder that Google is placing a higher emphasis on mobile-responsive website designs than they used to.
eMarketer predicts that the following percent of Internet searchers in the US will use a mobile device for their searches at least once a month:
- 2015 – 49%
- 2016 – over 50%
- 2019 – 65%
This trend toward increased mobile search usage indicates a clear opportunity for businesses willing to take the necessary steps to implement mobile-friendly responsive designs now. Whether the remaining Fortune 500 companies or small businesses will be the first to adapt is yet to be seen.
eMarketer. Do Fortune 500 Sites Meet Google’s Mobile Standards? April 29, 2015.