4 Ways to Measure the Impact of the Mobile Friendly Update

4 Ways to Measure the Impact of The Mobile-Friendly Update

On 21st April 2015 Google launched the Mobile-Friendly update which is designed to boost the rankings of mobile-friendly pages in the search results.

It’s important to remember that mobile-friendliness is just one of a number of signals used to rank search results.  So if a high-quality page is still not  mobile-friendly, it may still perform well in the search results.

If you know that your website was not friendly before the mobile-friendly update rolled out,  then here are  four ways to see whether your website was impacted by the mobile-friendly update from Google.

#1 – Check Your Organic Traffic from Mobile Devices in Google Analytics

Simply analyse your organic traffic (from search engines)  from mobile devices in the month leading up to the 21st April 2015 and the month following to see if there have been any significant drops in traffic from mobile devices.

A drop in traffic from mobile devices after the 21st April would indicate that your mobile rankings might have dropped.

Step 1 – Login to Google Analytics and Select the Organic Traffic Segment

You only want to be analysing traffic from search engines and not people finding you from other traffic sources such as mobile paid traffic or social media.

Step 2 – Select Mobile Overview under the Audience Reports

This allows you to look at organic traffic by mobile device category

Step 3 – Tick the box next to mobiles and click the button Plot Rows 

This will allow you to plot the organic traffic from mobile devices on your chart.

If your website is adversely affected by the mobile friendly update you would expect to see a drop in traffic after the 21st April.

How to Check Mobile Traffic in Google Analytics
How to Check Mobile Traffic in Google Analytics


#2 – Check Your Search Query Impression numbers from Mobiles in Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster tools is an essential free tool from Google that allows webmasters to track and monitor the health of their websites.

Now given that webmaster tools only keeps 90 days worth of data, this approach is only going to be useful for a short period of time.  If you are reading this post more than 90 days after the mobile-friendly update, the data may not be in webmaster tools to help you.

While Webmaster tools includes a section on Mobile Usability,  it’s main focus is more on pointing our mobile errors for you to fix.

Our focus is on seeing how your website has responded to the mobile-friendly update by looking at the trend in search impressions and clicks from mobile. trend in search impressions and clicks from mobile.

Step 1 – Login to Webmaster Tools and click on Search Traffic > Search Queries


Step 2 – Filter the Search Queries by Mobile Traffic

Webmaster_Tools_-_Search_Queries_-_http___www_onlinekickstart_com_ 2

Step 3 – Review the Search Impressions chart and data

You can see from the chart below that my site saw an increase in mobile impressions indicating that it actually benefitted from the mobile-friendly update, with pages on my site either ranking higher on mobile devices or being showed for more searches.



#3 – Analyse your Organic Traffic using the Panguin Tool

Created by Barracuda Digital the Panguin Tool is designed to overlay all known algorithmic updates on your organic traffic to allow you to see if any drops in your organic traffic correlate to algorithmic updates.

Be aware that the tool overlays algorithmic updates on all organic traffic, not just mobile, so any drops in traffic might not be immediately obvious.

If your website has a large percentage of its traffic from mobile devices than this data will show more impact, if any.

Step 1 – Go to https://www.barracuda-digital.co.uk/panguin-tool/ and click the Log-in to Analytics Button

login-to-panguinStep 2 – Approve access to your Google Analytics

Request_for_Permission Step 3 -Select the Google Analytics Profile of your Web site a


Step 4 – Review your Organic Traffic with Google Algorithm overlay

By analysing your organic traffic and the mobile-friendly algorithm update you will be able to see if the update had any impact on your rankings and traffic.  Remember the chart shows all organic traffic, not just mobile traffic.

The impact will depend on how much of your traffic was from mobile devices.


#4  Use Mobile Visibility Features of SEM Rush or Searchmetrics

With the roll out of the mobile-friendly update,  several of the leading seo toolsets have expanded their data to include mobile only tracking features.

These features give you information on how many keywords the website is ranking for on mobile devices and whether this number is increasing or decreasing over time.

Semrush.com gives you organic search positions for a website on mobile devices, but it’s just for Google.com for the moment.


The Searchmetrics suite allows small businesses to  sign up for a free account at https://suite.searchmetrics.com/.  This account provides you with limited data but a fully paid account which starts at $69 a month gives you access to what looks like very comprehensive mobile reporting data.


Over the long term, if mobile traffic is an important part of your business then it may be worth investing in a more comprehensive tool that allows you to track and monitor the mobile visibility of both yours and your competitor websites.