Back in February Google announced an impending algorithm change that will expand mobile friendliness as a ranking factor when serving mobile search results. In simple terms this means that if your site is not mobile friendly you will lose ranking to sites that provide a better user experience for mobile users. With mobile traffic now surpassing 50% in some markets this algorithm makes a lot of sense. As users we all hate landing on a non-mobile ready web page while browsing with our phones.
Timing and impact
The update to the algorithm was scheduled to take place on April 21st. Lots of rumors and guess work has been flying around the industry as to how long it will take for the complete roll out and just how big the impact will be. As of April 24th the update was 100% complete in some of the data centers. Google expects the update to be totally complete in about a week or a week and a half. The impact to search results is expected to be significant. The Panda Google Update impacted over 11% of search results. This new mobile algorithm is expected to have the same or higher level of impact.
An important distinction to make on this update is that it only affects mobile search results. It will not impact your desktop or tablet search rankings. Google has put together a pretty awesome Mobile Friendly FAQ that answers several key questions.
What can you do?
First of all check to see if your page is currently considered mobile friendly. Again Google has put together a great tool called the mobile friendly test. If your site passes hooray, proceed to go and collect your $200. If your site fails, you’ve got some work to do. Before you do anything, I highly recommend you educate yourself on what building a mobile friendly website looks like. Take the time to read through Google’s Building Mobile Friendly Guide. Then contact your web designer and start the process of making your site responsive. If you’re still not sure where to get started shoot us a message over on our site.
At the end of the day Google is only trying to make their product better by improving the experience for mobile users. This should be your goal too. If you can make your website easier to use for half of your visitors, why would you not do it? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that tablets, cell phones and the like aren’t going away anytime soon. It’s well worth the investment to make your product better for those customers.