Is your website mobile-friendly? If not, your competition will rank better than you.
Web giant Google has been reigning not only in search but also in mobile. Proof of this is the success of Android as the world’s most widely used mobile operating system and biggest mobile app store. With the company setting its sights on using the mobile platform as the next primary mode of communication and information access, Google’s search engine is set to experience a significant update.
Come April 21, Google’s search algorithm will go through arguably the most important update in the history of all algorithm changes: mobile-friendliness. With the algo update, Google will put a premium on mobile-friendly websites, which will earn more points in search rankings. Many experts are calling this new algorithm change something bigger than its previous Panda or Penguin updates.
Check your site with Google’s Mobile-Friendly test HERE
Before you have a massive panic attack, here are five important things that you need to know about Google’s search algorithm change:
- The guys at Google say this update is “significant”. The extent of its effect on current webpage search rankings probably won’t be felt until the actual algorithm change, but Google Webmaster Central reports that it “will have a significant impact in our search results.” A safe guess would be that Google will feature more mobile-friendly links on the first search results page.
- Mobile compatibility is assessed page by page, not site-wide. If you have site pages that look good on mobile, Google will probably promote those pages more than the non-optimized pages. In today’s generation of framework-based websites running on WordPress or Joomla, having a mixture of mobile-friendly and non-optimized pages are rare. It’s either your site is optimized or it isn’t.
- Google will crawl through mobile pages in real time. Changing your site or pages to mobile-friendly versions may be done any time of the day. As soon as Google crawls through and discovers your optimized pages, they will get indexed in real time.
- Ranking signals will be based on a mix of desktop and mobile access. The new algorithm will merge some of the assessment parameters for mobile and desktop browsing, such as page speed.
- The algorithm change will include app indexing. Android apps associated with websites will appear in Google mobile search. Google wants mobile Web search and mobile apps to co-exist, and the algo update may be able to address that issue.
These five critical changes may seem daunting at first, but if you can ride the waves of this new algorithm, your website may continue to stay – if not improve – in search results. Here are some of the adjustments that you need to put into action:
- Make your site mobile-friendly and responsive. If you’re using a popular CMS framework, there’s a big chance that you can replace your current theme with one that is responsive and mobile-optimized. Do it now, before the April 21 update drops into orbit.
- Use Google Webmaster Tools to address mobile compatibility issues. Google has been sending alerts to Webmaster Tools users about issues in mobile-friendliness. Look through each of the suggestions and address them as much as you can.
- Put your mobile app up for indexing. Because app indexing is not integrated into the new algorithm, make sure that Google discovers your app. You may include deep link support and complete the verification process in the Google Play Console.
- Check your site stats through the algorithm rollout. Look at your website’s metrics from now until the April 21 change and even beyond. If you see permanent dips, address root causes as soon as possible.
Note that the algorithm change on April 21 is not a one-time crawl. If you observe a significant decrease in your search rankings, then you can always go through your pages and address mobile optimization issues. Google will be able to discover your mobile-friendly pages when it performs another crawl.
Is your site mobile friendly? If not, give us a call. We would love to work with you!