Report: Number of Non-Mobile-Friendly Sites Decreased by 21% on the first 3 Pages of SERPs after Google “Mice” Rollout
It’s been five weeks since Google’s “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update (also known as the Google “Mice” update) impacted the rankings of a substantial number of websites on Google Search. Indeed, many leading websites are experiencing reduced rankings in mobile search results because of non-mobile-friendliness.
It was reported earlier that Google saw a “4.7 percentage point uptick” in the proportion of mobile-friendly sites two months after the original announcement was made in February. Fortunately, these sites were spared the reduction in mobile traffic. But what happened to sites that paid no heed to the search engine’s caveat?
Examining over 20,000 URLs and 750 keywords, content performance marketing platform BrightEdge (@brightedge) found that less than a week after the rollout, there was a 21% decrease in the number of non-mobile-friendly websites on the first three pages of Google’s SERPs compared to before the update.
“Versus the decrease seen on page 1 of 17.3%, a more pronounced impact was seen on the 2nd and 3rd SERP pages, which saw a 20.7% and 25.2% decrease, respectively, in non-mobile-friendly URLs,” the company added. [See Figure 1]
BrightEdge assumes that the impact was more distinct in the second and third pages because other ranking factors—such as content quality and keyword prominence—are generally weaker in these pages compared to the first.
Traffic Loss Due to Google Mice? Others Blame a More “Disastrous” Update
In an article that appeared on CNBC (@CNBC), reporter Ari Levy (@levynews) noted how the Google Mice update produced “no impact” on user generated site HubPages (@HubPagesDotCom), and pointed out a “ruthless” and “secretive algorithm tweak” that proved to be more “disastrous”.
According to the article, a massive 22% of HubPages’s traffic “evaporated overnight”—and the loss had nothing to do with Google’s mobile-friendly update. Digital marketing expert, Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe), blamed another algorithm tweak for this—an update he called “Phantom 2” in a blog post (because it’s allegedly Google’s second significant unnamed update in two years). Gabe concluded that Google Mice wasn’t responsible for the traffic loss, as most companies that complained to him, apart from HubPages, actually had mobile-friendly sites.
What Gabe discovered is that low-quality sites, not just non-mobile-friendly sites, are being penalized. “Many of the top landing pages from organic search that dropped revealed horrible click-bait articles. The pages were thin, the articles were only a few paragraphs, and the primary content was surrounded by a ton of low quality supplementary content,” he wrote.
Google reportedly declined to comment about Phantom 2 and its aftermath, but a representative from Google’s Webmaster Trends team confirmed that it was part of a core algorithm update.
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