Google announced its newest update, which will take effect on April 21st. Google is making two makes a move modifications and will be using mobile-friendly factors in its new mobile search results algorithm. So, what does this update mean for you? It means that it is crucial for your website to be mobile responsive, and on top of that — mobile-friendly. We’re going to tell you what you need to know including what the new algorithm will be looking for, how to test your website for mobile compatibility, and some likely effects this update will have on your site if you do not make these necessary changes.
Mobile browsing has become more and more popular, and Google wants to make sure mobile users have the best online experience possible. This update will reward mobile apps and web pages that have responsive design to ensure that anyone searching on a desktop or mobile device will find the most relevant content possible. It will also allow for users to know right away that they will be choosing to view a web page that has been optimized for mobile devices. Google’s mobile factors will label your site as “mobile-friendly”, and it will also use that label to determine if your site should rank higher in the search results.
Google has explicitly stated this algorithmic change will have a “significant impact” on the mobile search results. So you’re probably wondering what makes a website mobile-friendly? According to Google, it depends on if Googlebot detects the following:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen, so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
To prepare for this major update, you can use Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool to see if your website is considered mobile-friendly. If your site passes the test, your results will look something like this:
If your site does not pass the mobile-friendly test, your results will look something like this:
The downside of ignoring this issue will be lower rankings, less traffic, fewer leads/sales, and less brand awareness. Plus, if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you will be missing out on delivering an ideal experience to your potential customers, which is why we started encouraging eMedia clients and friends to upgrade to responsive websites early last year. This update from Google makes the move to responsive design even more critical.
If you aren’t updating your website until after April 21st, you won’t be entirely at a loss. Once you’ve made responsive design updates and changes to your site, you can start seeing the benefit of the algorithm change as soon as Google crawls your new mobile-friendly version. Once a crawl happens to any web page on your site, that page will immediately be labeled as mobile-friendly and immediately benefit from the new algorithm.
Keep in mind; this algorithm will run on a page-by-page basis. If you have a website with 30 pages, and you only update the designs to make 10 of the pages mobile-friendly, then only those pages that have been updated will benefit. Of course, going mobile-friendly for all your pages is important as mobile user growth continues to expand, but you can make a decision on a page-by-page basis if you need to.
Although the deadline is fast approaching, if you haven’t upgraded to a responsive site, you still have time to get on the ball and hopefully avoid the negative consequences. Making your site mobile-friendly is necessary, and something we make mandatory for new eMedia clients. This update is just around the corner; so if you haven’t done it already, let’s start getting your mobile-friendly ducks in a row!