Google Announces SEO Penalties for Non-Mobile Sites


By Bob West

We’ve talked at multiple times in the blog about the importance or value of having a mobile-optimized website. The folks at Google feel so strongly about this issue that they’ve taken a rare step of announcing specifics of upcoming changes to their algorithm. Effective April 21, mobile-optimized sites receive additional credit in the search giant’s rankings.

While this is certainly good news for companies who have invested to serve the expanding audience of smartphone and tablet users, companies who have not yet made this investment will see the amount of traffic they get via search drop.

Google positioned the change as a service to its users. “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results,” the company said in a recent blog post. “Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

In short, Google wants to ensure that when you conduct a search via its engine while you’re on a smartphone or tablet, the you are directed to sites that will perform well on the device in your hands at that moment.

The metrics on our own websites support Google’s thinking. The numbers below illustrate the percentage of visits to our websites occurring on mobile devices over the past three years. On average, they’ve doubled in 24 months, which is why we spent most of 2014 converting all of our sites to a mobile-friendly, HTML5 format.

Website 2012 Mobile Visits 2013 Mobile Visits 2014 Mobile Visits 16.6% 25.2% 37.7% 16.4% 21.2% 29.2% 13.9% 21.3% 28.5% 5.9% 14.3% 25.1% 13.7% 19.1% 24.8% 11.9% 18.9% 24.1% 12.7% 17.7% 19.8% 6.5% 13.4% 16.9%


So, what does this mean for you, a supplier of products or services for these markets? Simply put, if you’re website isn’t optimized for mobile, you’ve got more reason than ever to do so now.


Bob West is the Director of Interactive Sales for Meister Media. If you would like to discuss engaging Meister to update your website, contact him at 440/602-9129 or