Was Google Mobile Change Really Disastrous For Small Businesses?

Across the country, the news that Google was going to change the ways it ranked websites of all kinds when users searched for them on their mobile devices had many small business owners worried. The new algorithm, which went into effect a few weeks ago, is designed to prioritize sites that have mobile options over those that do not, and many entrepreneurs were worried that the change would negatively impact their searchability. However, it seems that this concern was misplaced.

A recent examination of many small businesses – with a good mix of sites being mobile-optimized or not – showed that there was relatively little change in Google rankings or traffic before and after the algorithm was updated, according to a study from Search Engine Land. There was some change, of course, but not enough to be considered statistically significant.

What was at issue?
This examination, which included searches for 69 law firms – 12 of which had mobile optimization – over a period of a little more than two weeks and tens of thousands of searches. The change was so little as to be not worth the concern that many owners might have had, the report said. However, when it came to companies that were so worried about the switch that they rather hastily poured thousands of dollars or more into a mobile site, there was a slight improvement.

“With the noted exception of all of those law firms who collectively spent a small fortune to get their websites mobile friendly, it seems that the mobile friendly update was a big belly flop in the local small business market, at least where this type of business is concerned,” the study said.

The so-called "Mobilegeddon" algorithm change doesn't seem to have hit small businesses very hard at all.The so-called “Mobilegeddon” algorithm change doesn’t seem to have hit small businesses very hard at all.

No impact on traffic either
In addition to the marginal to non-existent changes in the search rankings for these companies, it seems that there also wasn’t much of a difference in the amount of traffic being received from searches, the report said. A number of different tests showed the percentage of changes was about 2 percent or so. And in fact, the sites that ended up getting more traffic were those that didn’t have mobile sites.

So the good news for companies that couldn’t afford to make the switch in a relatively short time is that there was likely little to no impact on their searchability or traffic from searches. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to roll out a mobile site over time, because most experts agree that this is going to help in the long run as more people use their mobile devices to browse the web. But it does mean that they don’t have to hastily put together anything in the immediate future, at a potentially great expense.

Owners who want to ensure the ongoing success of their companies might also do well to consider the benefits of finding more affordable small business insurance. For instance, if they can reduce the cost of their general liability insurance bills, they might be able to save thousands of dollars annually.