Google's Mobile-Friendly Overhaul Shakes Up Search Results

With search still playing a dominant role in content discovery and e-commerce, Google’s announcement earlier this year that it was revising search algorithms to favor mobile-friendly sites caused some understandable concern (and probably anticipatory gloating) on the part of publishers and online retailers.

Well, the mobile shakeup happened last week and some early results are in.

The following figures are taken from a report by Searchmetrics, which tracked the changes in its measure of Mobile SEO Visibility, providing a window on desktop versus mobile search rankings based on comparable search volumes. Searchmetrics provided a list of the top 50 “winners and losers” -- although we try to avoid judgmental terms like “loser,” so let’s just say, “not winning so much.” Here are the cream of the crop and the bottom of the barrel, with the top ten and bottom ten from the Searchmetrics lists.

The biggest gainers from the mobile-friendly search shakeup included many companies in the media category. Among these were, up 420% in Searchmetrics’ Mobile SEO Visibility;, up 771%;, up 67%; and washingtontimes, up 21%. Also gaining were, up 91%;, up 32%;, up 13%;, up 31%;, up 51%; and, up 32%.

There are fewer media sites on the “not winning so much” list, most notably, down 28% in the Mobile SEO Visibility index. was down 27%, down 26%, and down 76%. In the “non-media but still important” category, was down 23% -- clearly someone needs to help the Feds with their mobile site design.

Google announced back in November that it would begin marking mobile-friendly sites with a mobile “badge.” The company defined mobile-friendly sites as having four criteria: they must avoid software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash; use text that is readable without zooming; size content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom; and place links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.

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