Is your website ready for Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update?
Google is about to unleash yet another algorithm update, and this time it could have a direct impact on your business—in a very real, dramatic fashion.
Step back to Google’s initial rollout of the Penguin algorithm update: The overall number of global searches it affected was nil, relatively speaking (roughly 4%). That number increased slightly to 12% with the implementation of the Panda update. With the latest iteration, that number will be bigger than Penguin or Panda, according to Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst Zineb Ait Bahajji.
So what’s the lowdown on the new algorithm update? It’s going to use mobile friendliness as a ranking signal, meaning if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you could get penalized on search engine results pages (SERPs) when someone is searching Google from a mobile device.
Let’s be frank—nobody enjoys landing on a site that isn’t optimized for mobile. Between the zooming, side-to-side swiping and clicking of tiny links, it makes for a poor user experience.
Alas, Google has swooped in to relieve us of these frustrations and modified its algorithm accordingly. Soon, when a user is searching on a mobile device, Google will elevate sites that are easy to read, make navigations and links easy to tap, contain images that are appropriately sized for the device and make information easier to find.
Currently, Google marks which sites are mobile friendly in its mobile search results. Starting April 21, it will actually reward and penalize websites based on their mobile experience.
Is My Website Mobile Friendly?
If your website uses responsive design, it should be prepared for the upcoming algorithm changes.
If you’re unsure of your website’s responsive functionality, you can run your site through free tools such as Google’s mobile-friendly test to uncover issues that may need to be addressed.
Common reasons why a website isn’t mobile-friendly include:
- Content is wider than the screen – requires users to scroll side to side in order to read the page
- Text is too small – users must zoom to read text on the page
- Links are too close together – links should be big enough and in a natural location to tap
- Mobile viewport isn’t set – if your site displays a desktop landscape when smartphone visitors land on a page, then the viewport is not set for “mobile” on that page. Note: Responsive design will automatically adjust the viewport based on the device
What Can I Do Next?
Shifting your website into an updated, mobile-friendly format will be critical as Google’s upcoming April 21 deadline approaches. The more time that lapses, the higher the risk that your website will be penalized and downgraded in the search results—while your competition gains ground.
Try the Google website test to check for compliance. If it doesn’t meet the criteria, we can help you get on track. Contact our team today to learn more and take the next steps.