On the 21st of April 2015, Google will roll 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 desktop. 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 it is not as significant as mobile, and we imagine other companies 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 the Google Page Insights tool.
We therefore decided to run a small experiment. Below are our results, we still 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 also factor that in. 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 as possible, and use the minimal amount of data / bandwidth.
Many sites in this top 20 list do not perform very well for speed. This could be an exciting few months in the dating industry.