On April 21, 2015, Google released a significant new ranking algorithm coined Mobilegeddon, which was designed to give a notable boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results. While much hype accompanied this launch, it seems to have been overblown. Search Engine Land confirmed this conclusion with its concentrated study of 69 small to medium sized legal firms. Here are some key takeaways from the study.
- Many of the firms invested a great deal of time and money getting their websites mobile friendly.
- The businesses in question saw little if any effect from Google’s algorithm release.
Specifically in its study, Search Engine Land analyzed natural search traffic from mobile devices for all 69 law firms (12 of which were not mobile optimized and 57 of which were). Data collected following the launch was statistically compared to a benchmark of average mobile weekly search traffic across 8 weeks prior to April 21. The goal was to pinpoint and demonstrate mobile changes resulting specifically from the algorithm launch. They did this in two ways:
- They ran a test comparing the changes in traffic before and after the launch date across the two groups (mobile optimized and non–mobile optimized), calculating the expected actual distribution from the two samples and then determining whether the actual average of the two groups was different. The result: the difference between the two data sets or groups would not be considered statistically significant according to conventional assessment criteria.
- The researchers then combined all of the traffic in each of the two groups and compared the aggregate traffic change between mobile friendly and non–mobile friendly sites. They found that there was only a 2 percent difference in performance between the groups, with the non–mobile friendly group actually outperforming the mobile friendly one. Therefore, with extensive data mining the research team was able to find a statistical difference between the two samples, just not the difference that most forecasters had predicted following the onset of Mobilegeddon.
Saam, Conrad. “Mobilegeddon a Month Later: Small Business Study Shows…Nothing Happened.” Search Engine Land. 5/20/15.