With Google's latest big change in its search algorithm, "Mobilegeddon" is officially upon us. As of Tuesday, websites that don't work well on smartphones will start getting punished by Google's all-powerful search engine.
Robert Bowick, a 37-year-old web developer in the Detroit suburbs, is cashing in on the mania.
Back in February, as bloggers started throwing around the made-up word "mobilegeddon," Bowick's company, iHenix, shelled out 99 cents for the domain www.mobilegeddon.net. He decided to focus his one-person shop on helping small businesses that would largely be blindsided by the coming changes.
"There's been this huge scramble by businesses to get their sites mobile friendly," said Bowick, who started iHenix in June after a career creating websites. "What I realized is that small businesses would be impacted the most. These are websites designed five years ago that have been sitting there, they haven't done much with them, they're not mobile friendly, and they don't have the resources to do it."
Bowick populated his new site, with "Mobilegeddon" in bold letters, the date April 21, and simply asked, "Are you ready?" He embedded a one-minute video that plays out like an apocalyptic movie trailer and ends with a promotion for iHenix. The video has been viewed more than 15,000 times in the past two weeks, Bowick said.
Google, whose search engine controls two-thirds of the U.S. market and upwards of 90 percent in many European countries, notified webmasters of the approaching algorithm change in a blog post on Feb. 26, and directed interested parties to instructions on creating a mobile-friendly site. The experience should be fast, clean, simple, adaptive to screen size, and everything should work, including the checkout process for an e-commerce service.