In only a few weeks, Google will be rolling out an algorithm update, which has been deemed "Mobilegeddon," that will dramatically change the way sites are ranked.
On April 21st, the upcoming mobile-friendly ranking algorithm will begin to hit the web—and Google has suggested that the “significant impact” on search results will be even larger than the Panda and Penguin updates. When the update goes into effect, websites that are not mobile-friendly will be listed far lower in the search engine results page.
Until the roll-out, which is expected to take place over the course of a few days to a week, we won’t know exactly what kind of impact “significant” means. But there are a few things that we know for sure so far.
You can check your mobile friendliness using a few methods.
Do you know whether you’re mobile friendly? There are a few ways to check.
- Look up your site on Google from a mobile device. If it is mobile friendly, you will notice a grey “mobile friendly” label next to your website’s name.
- Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool will analyze your site for mobile friendliness—all you need to do is enter your URL and let the tool do the work.
- Monitor your mobile usability using Google Webmaster Tools with the Mobile Usability Report, available here (if you have Webmaster Tools).
- Google has handy guidelines for managing your site’s content, if you have some level of technical skill and can make the transition yourself.
There’s no scale for mobile friendliness—your site is either mobile-friendly or it isn’t.
In other words, your website will have to match whatever criteria Google puts in place in order for you to be considered mobile-friendly. Google has in fact put together a few tools you can use to determine whether your site is mobile-friendly, and if not, what you need to change.
The first, mentioned above, is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool, which offers a free analysis of what you have to do to make your site mobile friendly if you’re not already. The second is a guide to common mistakes to avoid on your mobile website. Use these as a guide when transitioning your site to mobile friendliness.
Google will use a few key criteria to determine the mobile friendliness of your site.
When GoogleBot crawls your site, here’s what it will be looking for:
- Your website avoids using software that doesn't translate to most mobile devices (for instance, Flash).
- Your website uses text that is easily readable without the need to zoom.
- Content is sized to the screen automatically so that visitors don’t have to zoom or scroll.
- Links have enough space between them so that the correct one can be easily tapped.
Just because your site is “mobile-friendly” doesn't mean you’re set for higher rankings.
Google’s Mary Grove explained recently that there are more than 200 factors used to determine a website’s rankings on the search engine results pages. If your site doesn't provide a great user experience, a “mobile face-lift” will not help you in the rankings.
Remember, Google wants the highest-quality content on the web to reach people when they perform a web search. If your website isn't providing the best experience for your user, Google won’t favor you—mobile or not.
The fact that Google’s getting serious about mobile is actually a good thing. With 94% of people using a mobile phone to get local information, it’s critical for businesses to ensure their mobile presence is leading customers to them, not to their competitors.
If you’re concerned about your website’s design or your mobile presence, get in touch with us today. Give us a call, click to start a conversation, and check out our portfolio with responsive website designs. With the Google mobile update on its way in a few short weeks, now is the time to get started turning your website into something that you’ll be proud of—and something that will help you rank higher in the search results.