Monitoring Mobilegeddon: Track the Effects of Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update in Google Analytics

The day has come, it’s Mobilegeddon! The anticipation was building up, the forewarned launch date of April 21, 2015 gave sufficient time for many companies to prepare their sites. Website owners were anxious about this mobile update because many posts on the subject were scaring site owners into thinking their web traffic from mobile search may suddenly disappear. Now after a day, nearly everyone online is reporting:

  1. There is very minimal movement in mobile ranking.
  2. The movement looks very similar to regular daily fluctuations.
  3. The labels in the SERPs mention “mobile friendly” just before the description snippet.

Many speculate that the algorithm is still being rolled out so we have to wait and see if a site will be affected. If you are uneasy about how your site will be impacted, there are ways to look this up in Google Analytics.

Google Analytics Configured Segments for Mobilegeddon

If you want to measure Google’s organic search traffic on mobile devices, you can do this in a number of ways:

  1. Use the sidebar navigation and select your displayed dimensions.
  2. Change the primary and secondary dimensions from any data table.
  3. Create segments. The advantage of using segments is the settings of these views can easily be saved and you can go back to them at any time. Aside from that, you can easily share segment configurations to other people or use them on other Google Analytics accounts. You can also configure multiple segments and view them all at the same time. Below are some Google Analytics segment configurations you can use for your accounts.

Click to Configure Google Analytics to display the
Google Organic Search Traffic on Mobile Devices Segment

Once you click on the link above, it will ask you to log into your Google analytics account if you are not already logged in. Then follow the steps outlined below.

Comparing Trends to Observe the Impact of the Algorithm Update

Impact on Organic Search

You will want to see how this traffic segment trend behaves in relation to other segments. The dimensions you should compare this traffic to are organic search traffic from all search engines, and also from non-Google search engines. If you are affected by the Google mobile friendly algorithm update, this helps you observe how large of an impact the Google mobile update has on your overall organic search traffic.

Impact on Different User Device Traffic

In some cases you will want to see how mobile traffic affects your site overall. Even though there were new reports in January 2015 stating that mobile traffic has now surpassed desktop traffic, some businesses may still have more desktop traffic and minimal mobile search traffic.

To compare traffic trends on your site for the different segments simply click on the table cell labels from A1 to C3 below to open up the Google Analytics configuration segments.

Organic Search Traffic

  1. Google Only
  2. All Except Google
  3. All Search Engines

User Device

  1. Mobile Traffic Only
  2. All Except Mobile Traffic
  3. All Devices


How to use the Google Analytics Segment Configuration Table

In the table above, cell A1 is the main setting we are monitoring for mobilegeddon; Google organic search traffic on mobile phones. The rest are other settings you may want to compare your traffic to. For instance, you can compare traffic on mobile phones coming from Google organic search compared to organic search in general. Since you are comparing A1 with overall organic traffic, we are looking at column 3, which is the configuration settings for all search engine traffic. In column 3 you will see A3, B3, and C3. But compare mobile traffic only, this would be in row A, which has the cells labelled as A1, A2, and A3.

So to compare traffic on mobile phones coming from Google organic search compared to organic search in general, we want to use the segment configurations of A1 and A3. To do this, use the enumerated steps below:

Click on the A1 link above

This will open up Google Analytics and if you are not logged in yet, it will ask you to log in.

Log into you Google Analytics account

Select Any view then click Create

Select Account to Apply the Segment

If you wish to apply these segment configurations to only one account, you can choose Select a view and choose an account you currently have configured.

Click on Save

Save the Segment Setting

Repeat steps for all other segments in the tables. From A2 to C3.

When you are done, you will have all the saved segments listed along with other segments that were created in the past. When it is all complete, click on the Reporting link in the top navigation.

Go To Reporting

Select the Segments to Display

Once you are in the reporting view, the main segment that will be displayed by default is All Sessions. Click on this and simply pick and choose A1 and A3 to display mobile traffic from Google organic search vs. total organic search.

By this point you can repeat the steps to pick and choose whatever segment you want to display. Google Analytics lets you display a maximum of 4 segments at a time.

Bonus Tip: Monitoring Mobile Search Engine Ranking

For those that are monitoring search engine ranking and want to see how your ranking changes daily, weekly, or monthly with a set of keywords, unfortunately you cannot do this in Google analytics- but you can with some rank monitoring tools. To take out the headache of using desktop applications that check ranking where you need to rotate IPs to avoid getting blocked by Google, you can use SaaS solutions instead. Mobile rank monitoring can be done on AWR Cloud, Authority Labs, and WebCEO. I have used all of these and both are great tools for checking ranking. Some of them have desktop applications to check rankings but I suggest using the cloud based option instead. It is more stable and you do not have to worry about using proxy servers.



4 Responses to “Monitoring Mobilegeddon: Track the Effects of Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update in Google Analytics”

  1. Lester

    Thanks for this but my 3 months old blog seems to be still the same. haha. Hopefully, I can play well with SEO in my blog. 🙂

  2. Benj Arriola

    Someone asked me via Skype…

    How come the Google Organic Mobile Traffic visits plus the Google Organic Traffic on Desktop and Mobile added up is significantly lower than the total Organic Traffic from all Devices?

    That is a good question, and the main answer is, there is some amount of traffic that comes from unknown devices. Sometimes these could be web crawling scripts, scrapers, of organic search and they add up to the organic search traffic numbers.

  3. mark

    didn’t work.

  4. Mark Benalla

    Hi Sir Benj, I tried that segment but it’s not working for me. can you help why it’s not working?


Leave a Reply