“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
This mobile-friendly algorithm will be on or off, and is on a page-by-page basis. In other words, it is not how mobile-friendly your pages are in order to increase rankings, it is simply are they mobile-friendly or not. As a result, pages that are not considered mobile-friendly will not benefit from this update and it can be assumed that their rankings will decrease as mobile-friendly pages push forward.
TL;DR: if your website has not been optimized for mobile devices by April 21st, it is announced that your search rankings will drop.
If you think about it, it really does make sense. Google is in the business of giving their customers (all of us) the best user experience on their platform as possible. So when 30% (and rising each year) of search queries are coming from mobile devices, Google’s search algorithms are adapting to these usage patterns and prioritizing websites that will increase the user experience.
The algorithm will start taking place on April 21st and is said to take anywhere from a few days to a week to completely implement it on a global scale. We think it’s a good idea to find out the percentage of mobile traffic directed towards your website in order to gage how imperative it is finish by the launch date.
1. Google yourself on your phone:
The fastest way to see if your web pages are mobile-friendly is to see if you have the mobile-friendly label – just do a Google search for your website on a mobile phone and look for the label in your description.
2. Check other Google Tools
If not, check the mobile-friendly testing tool, which will emulate the view of a mobile phone and spit out recommendations. You can also check the mobile usability reports in Google Webmaster Tools, but they can be postponed based on crawl time.
If you found out that your website is not actually mobile-friendly, ways to update your website for mobile-friendliness will vary. It might be dependent on your software or it will need to be added to your code on a page by page basis.
With these algorithm updates, we honestly never really know how much it will impact a site until it gets pushed out — but needles to say — if Google is going out of their way to notify the community almost a year in advance, businesses who are not providing their users with mobile user experience are likely going to take a pretty big blow. Hopefully your web developer or marketing team has informed you before you stumbled across this article — but if not, get on them fast. If your business was originally ranking number one in Google, a drop in five positions could mean a loss of as much as 85% of mobile traffic. As mentioned before, for businesses with an average of 30% or more mobile views, this mobile-friendly algorithm could be very detrimental.
To see how much web traffic you get from mobile devices, login and go to: Audience > Mobile > Overview
There are some industries that simply do not get a whole lot of traffic from mobile devices. However, given that mobile access is quickly increasing, businesses should really consider making their sites mobile-friendly. And while the April 21st adjustment may not initially produce any considerable impact for desktop search results, that might not always be the case in the future. Overall, businesses should be investing their resources to make certain that their website is attuned for mobile devices, whether the effects of it appear now or later.
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