In a few weeks time on the 21st of April 2015, Google will role out its latest search update. The big focus is on mobile friendly sites. Online dating is one industry that is very mobile centric. The mobile traffic to dating sites owned by platformdating is 70% and other brands such as POF have claimed numbers as high as 80%. Dating is generally a private activity and mobile is the perfect platform.
The rumours suggest that this update will really penalise sites that are not mobile friendly but we don’t expect it to be an issue when searching on a desktop. For example, logic would suggest that when searching on a mobile device Google will show mobile sites and when on a desktop show desktop sites. A grey area is the tablet as the screen size puts it somewhere in between. However our tablet traffic is about 10% of our business so is not as significant as mobile and we expect other companies to have a similar spread.
If you search for common dating keywords on your mobile today you will find hundreds of sites that are not ready for this update. You can test your own site or anyone else’s with Google Page Insights tool. We therefore decided to run a small experiment. Below are our results, we sill have a few more tweaks to perform before the deadline.
Search for “Adult Dating” on Google.com and check the first 20 results with Google Page Insights
From this brief test 25% of the top 20 “Adult Dating” sites are not ready for the update and if the update is as significant as we expect the failed sites are likely to drop their search positions in the coming months. Another important area to consider is raw speed. We would think that Google will factor that in also. If you’re on a mobile you may have a slower connection and data limits. Therefore we expect sites will need to pass the mobile test, be as fast a possible and use the minimal amount of data / bandwidth. Many sites in this top 20 list do not perform that well for speed.
This should be an exciting few months with the dating industry at the forefront of mobile friendly design.