I guess at this stage there is not a website owner out there who has not heard that Google is launching a Mobile Friendly algorithm on the 21st of April. A lot of chinese whispers have done the rounds on the topic, and this update – dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’ – is said to be the biggest in 2 years, larger than the last 2 Google updates, Panda and Penguin.
Let’s quickly determine if this impacts you and your business: Google your business name on your smartphone. Do you see a ‘Mobile-friendly’ tag in front of your meta description in the search results? If so your site is classed as mobile friendly and you have nothing to worry about, but if you do not offer mobile users (who are responsible for 60 % of website traffic ) optimised content based on devices – you might find your business in a bit of strive.
‘Mobilegeddon’ is going to drastically affect how search results are presented on mobile devices, which will then have a similar affect on how users browse, shop, and spend their time online on their smartphone. So let’s take a closer look at the areas directly affected by the update, and what you as a small business owner should do to get your site mobile ready, if not done already.
What does the change entail?
This update will impact only mobile searchers and it will give a ranking boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results only. This also means that – where only a selection of pages in your website are mobile friendly – only those pages will benefit from the update. Desktop and tablet searches and rankings remain unaffected.
In short, only Google’s organic mobile search listings, aka the “10 blue links”, will be affected .
Why and Why now?
Google has given webmasters ample notice of the update to ensure that all web owners have the opportunity to update their sites and offer search results formatted for all types of devices.
Google recognises that a large number of website traffic comes from mobile devices and wants to ensure that ‘users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices’.
The majority of large companies already offer mobile experiences – so called “responsive” design – making a site automatically change layout depending on what device is being used to view it, providing the best experience possible to a large range of screen sizes. Without doubt though there are still some lagging behind, creating a small window of opportunity for smaller companies to rank more favourable in mobile searches while they catch up.
What happens on the 21st of April?
Most of us will not notice anything since Google has indicated that the roll-out might take several weeks to complete.
What do I have to do if my site is not mobile friendly?
The short answer is that you need to make it mobile friendly. Probably the easiest and most effective way of doing this is ‘responsive design’ and all you need is a good front-end developer to help you. It is also worth having a look at this Google prepared content to avoid making common mistakes  and test your site for compliance post the update.
It is important to note that mobile changes you apply will not have immediate effect on your mobile rankings. Although unconfirmed at this stage – because your web pages has to be crawled before they can receive the ‘mobile-friendly’ tag – it can take several hours to days before your site will be classified as ‘mobile friendly’. So it is best to get cracking on your most important pages as soon as possible!
- Google’s Mobile Algorithm Bigger than Panda or Penguin. 2015. Google’s Mobile Algorithm Bigger than Panda or Penguin. [ONLINE] Available at:https://www.searchenginejournal.com/googles-mobile-friendly-algorithm-to-have-greater-impact-than-panda-or-penguin/130980/. [Accessed 21 April 2015].
- Here’s what Google’s new mobile-first algorithm means – Fortune. 2015.Here’s what Google’s new mobile-first algorithm means – Fortune. [ONLINE] Available at: https://fortune.com/2015/04/20/google-website-mobile-friendly/. [Accessed 21 April 2015].
- Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Finding more mobile-friendly search results . 2015. Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Finding more mobile-friendly search results . [ONLINE] Available at:https://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html. [Accessed 21 April 2015].
- What Will Be Affected By Google’s Mobile Friendly Algorithm. 2015. What Will Be Affected By Google’s Mobile Friendly Algorithm. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/what-will-and-will-not-be-affected-by-googles-mobile-friendly-algorithm/130657/. [Accessed 21 April 2015].
- Avoid common mistakes — Webmaster’s Mobile Guide . 2015. Avoid common mistakes — Webmaster’s Mobile Guide . [ONLINE] Available at:https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/mobile-seo/common-mistakes/. [Accessed 21 April 2015].
- Google’s mobile friendly algorithm change: Why businesses could rue “mobilegeddon” | City A.M.. 2015. Google’s mobile friendly algorithm change: Why businesses could rue “mobilegeddon” | City A.M.. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.cityam.com/214042/googles-mobile-friendly-algorithm-change-why-businesses-could-rue-mobilegeddon. [Accessed 21 April 2015].
- Mobilegeddon Checklist: How To Prepare For This Week’s Google Mobile Friendly Update. 2015. Mobilegeddon Checklist: How To Prepare For This Week’s Google Mobile Friendly Update. [ONLINE] Available at:https://searchengineland.com/tomorrow-is-mobilegeddon-are-you-ready-for-the-google-mobile-friendly-update-219291. [Accessed 21 April 2015].