April 2, 2015: On February 26, 2015, Google announced via its Webmaster Tools Blog that effective April 21, 2015, sites that fail to provide good experiences on mobile devices will suffer from reduced search visibility on these devices when searches are made. While Google has acknowledged that the impact of the 4/21/15 changes (AKA “mobilegeddon“) will be “significant,” it’s not yet clear what the impact will be in every business vertical.

To gauge the possible effect of Google’s big mobile algorithm change on PR firms in the U.S.A., Didit analyzed 96 sites belonging to PR agencies appearing on’s 2015 rankings list of large agencies.


Didit ran each PR agency URL through Google’s Mobile Friendly Test application page to see whether Google considers each site “mobile-friendly.” The error types causing any test failures were logged, and a screen capture was made of each report. Here is a summary of our findings:

1. 57.3 percent (55) of the 96 PR firms surveyed are fully “mobile-friendly” according to Google’s definition.

Mobile-Friendly (mobilegeddon) test results: large U.S. public relations firms

2. The most common errors seen on the 41 PR agency sites failing Google’s Mobile Friendly test were:

a). Links spaced too closely together to be easily clicked on mobile devices. 36 failing sites had this error.
b) Content wider than screen. This error causes parts of the right area of the screen to become invisible on mobile devices. 28 failing sites had this error.
c) Mobile viewports not being set correctly. This error can cause the site to render in less than 100 percent of mobile display space. 27 failing sites had this error.
d) Text being set at a point size too small to read on mobile devices. 27 failing sites had this error.
e) Blocking of resources necessary for the Googlebot to correctly parse the resources referenced by the web page. 19 failing sites had this error..
f) Incompatible plug-ins. Sites relying on Flash-based navigation will have a hard time passing Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. Only 1 of the failing PR agency sites displayed this error..

Mobilegeddon: PR agencies - common error types

3. Some regional differences were observed in our testing. Among New York-based PR firms, 42 percent passed Google’s test. California-based firms did marginally better (44 percent). DC-based PR firms were exceptionally mobile-friendly: 100 percent of them passed the test, as did all PR agencies surveyed in Tennessee. Massachusetts-based PR firms did almost as well; the pass rate in that state was 83 percent.


SEO for 2017While the mere fact that a given PR agency site has failed Google’s Mobile Friendly Test does not mean that it cannot be accessed on mobile devices, Google has indicated that poor showings on this test may result in less visibility in search results made from mobile devices. This is obviously a concern as mobile traffic — and searches made on mobile devices — grow in importance. According to, “2015 will see mobile search reach the tipping point — the stage at which the majority of spend, organic traffic, and paid clicks comes form smartphones and tablets.”

These findings should not be cause for panic. In most cases the problems causing a “Fail” on Google’s Mobile Test can be easily solved, by unblocking resources for Google’s robots and by deploying responsive themes that render equally well on all devices. PR agencies with very old sites, however, that were built years ago (before smart phone access was a factor) may have to do some major “heavy lifting” to bring their sites into compliance.

Because PR agencies have less than a month to pass the test, it’s incumbent upon agency management to take this issue seriously. They should direct their IT teams to immediately evaluate their sites’ mobile friendliness, and, if there’s a problem, ensure that all corrections are made in time. Google Webmaster Tools provides additional resources to help these teams identify and eliminate any such problems.

Didit Editorial
Didit Mobilegeddon Report:  Only 57.3 percent of major U.S. PR firms are mobile-friendly
Article Name
Didit Mobilegeddon Report: Only 57.3 percent of major U.S. PR firms are mobile-friendly
Didit's mobilegeddon study of the largest U.S. Public Relations agencies shows that only 57.3 percent get a passing grade on Google's Mobile Friendly test.
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