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Mobilegeddon: Amazon, eBay, and the Google Ranking Shift

It was a straightforward yet impactful change Google revealed to the world. A site’s friendliness to visitors arriving on mobile devices would affect its ranking. Google said on its Webmaster Central blog, “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

According to companies that measure such impact, like comScore in its 2015 U.S. Digital Future in Focus whitepaper, mobile devices are a “continuing disruption” in “all facets of digital.” It’s not just the younger demographics driving this, per the report:

Mobile-only internet usage is also becoming more prevalent, driven largely by the 21 percent of Millennials who are no longer using desktop computers to go online. Meanwhile, the 55-years-and-older consumer segment is actually the fastest growing faction of mobile users, increasing its combined multi-platform and mobile-only share of audience from 60 percent to 74 percent in the past year.

In the ecommerce world, pure online plays like Amazon.com and eBay, and conventional retailers with broader online selling aspirations like Walmart and Best Buy, all stood to gain or lose from Google’s algorithm tweak. It’s a topic Searchmetricstouched upon as they looked for winners and losers among sites affected by the update.

In the world of online retail, Searchmetrics told EcommerceBytes that “the Mobile SEO Visibility of Amazon.com has surpassed their Desktop Visibility during the time period of the update (and already a bit before). So they perform even better than before.”

Not so for eBay, which could be to the dismay of some of their sellers. “Ebay.com, on the other hand, has lost both Mobile and Desktop Visibility at the same time,” Searchmetrics said, but they did allow that “this may be due to other reasons than the update.”

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Regarding a couple of the more noteworthy storefront services, Volusion and Bigcommerce, Searchmetrics said Volusion increased both mobile and desktop visibility, with mobile even slightly better, while Bigcommerce has decreased slightly regarding mobile visibility.

 

Big name conventional retailers with ecommerce aspirations seemed only mildly affected by the Google update. Searchmetrics found visibility for Best Buy and Target “pretty constant” through Google’s switch, while Walmart had a slight downtrend on mobile after a positive development.

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.