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Did Google Deliver on its Promise to Increase Search Rank for Responsive Design?

Do you remember Mobilegeddon? The day Google declared its search algorithm would now give priority in search rankings to websites that were designed to be mobile friendly. The first time you used a smartphone to look at a website, you were likely viewing at a desktop webpage that was tiny. This was not an ideal user experience, but it seemed as though most businesses and others with websites weren’t going to do anything about the problem. Then, for the first time, Google broke its silence regarding the innerworkings of its complex search algorithms. On April 21, 2015, Google announced it was going to change its search algorithm to give higher ranking to sites that were accessible using mobile devices. In the last four years, we’ve seen dramatic changes in the way that websites are designed. Specifically, non-responsive websites are virtually a thing of the past, but what about the few non-responsive websites that are still out there? Did Mobilegeddon really make it easier for responsive websites to make it to the top of search rankings?


Whether you were an early adopter of the Mobilegeddon name or you’re still trying to make Mobocalypse a thing, you’re likely aware of some of the basics. On Mobilegeddon, the analysts at Google, in response to a rising need for websites that could be easily navigated from smartphones and other mobile devices, encouraged businesses to make a change by offering higher search rankings for those sites that were easy to use from any device. Google even created a tool that tests websites to determine how mobile-friendly they are, and the Google team offered insights, tips, and techniques to create a better mobile experience for users.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design can be done in a number of different ways, but the easiest way to think about it is that the device used (smartphone, tablet, etc.) should not negatively impact the user’s experience on a website. They shouldn’t need to constantly zoom in and out to view text and images clearly, download a separate app, or otherwise alter their environment to access necessary information on your site. Responsive web design is the best thing for user experience, but it also has a number of other important benefits for your business, including:

  • Increase customer reach through improved search rankings
  • Consistent experience for existing customers from any device
  • Mobile friendly design often incorporates analytics and tracking tools to help you make the most of every click
  • Stay ahead of the competition – as of August 2019, 44% of Fortune 500 companies still did not have mobile friendly websites

Welcome to the Post-Apocalypse

Fast forward nearly four years after Mobilegeddon in April of 2015, and we’re living in the post-apocalyptic future. Can you even remember the last time you had to pinch and swipe to expand an old fashioned website from your cellphone? I can’t. Use your phone to search for anything right now. Do any of the top links take you to a website that isn’t mobile friendly? Apart from the rare exceptions that make the rule, it’s unlikely that you will find a non-responsive site in your search results. It seems like Google has really delivered on its promise to give higher search rankings to mobile ready sites. With more than 60% of online searches conducted using a smartphone, some researchers debate whether or not Mobilegeddon is an example of the proverbial “chicken” or “egg” conundrum. Did Google’s change to the algorithm make using smartphones for search easier, leading to increased smartphone searches, or did Google accurately predict this trend? We may never know, but in the post-Mobilegeddon world, it may not matter anymore. It’s clear, responsive web design is now an essential part of search optimization strategies.

What Happens to Non-Responsive Designs?

Don’t get me wrong, there are still some hold outs, and you may come across a non-responsive website every so often. However, if you’re like most users, you quickly click away to find an easier to use site. If your website is still non-responsive, you could be missing out on new clients who find you from their mobile devices. Non-responsive sites are less likely to be found in search, mobile users are more likely to leave the site right away, and even if a mobile user stays on the site, they are less likely to be able to complete their task (making a purchase, scheduling an appointment, contacting you, etc.).

Let iKnoix Studios Help You with Responsive Design

Do you have a non-responsive website, or do you want to improve user experience on your current responsive site? We can help. The iKonix Studios team has the knowledge and skill to partner with businesses to create websites that are functional, beautiful, and responsive. Give our team a call to start the process today.