Google announces major mobile site ranking update. This is a big deal.
Over the past year we have emphasized the importance of a mobile-friendly website. Responsive designed websites have a specific relationship between a mobile and desktop browsing experience because they are one in the same. Now more than ever you need to consider mobile responsive design if you value traffic from Google.
Yesterday on Google Webmaster Central Blog, Google shocked us all by giving us a heads up and announcing their plans to change the mobile search algorithm stating, “it will significantly impact search results.” And not only did they mention it, but they gave us an exact date! Come April 21, Google will increase the ranking of sites that are mobile-friendly (responsive).
Never in the history of working on websites or SEO have we seen Google be this specific with a date of a change. Until now, we’ve always been left in the dark.
What’s Changing? You need to be mobile-friendly.
As of today, we’ve gauged the ranking of a mobile website by linking it to the desktop ranking strength. Thus, if you had strong rankings on your regular, desktop site you could feel confident that your mobile version would also share those rankings. It’s no secret that Google shows some preference to responsive sites but with these new updates, it will dramatically impact mobile searches and mobile user experience.
As more and more people began to use their mobile devices, smart phones and tablets to browse the web, Google started to make small mobile adjustments and pushed out mobile-friendly testing tools that suggested the importance of mobile- search. So, it only makes sense that Google make a change, because search as we know it is now highly mobile.
For those of you web site owners that don’t have a responsive web design, you should be worried. It will be interesting to see just how many site’s rankings will plunge come April 21st.
What is Unknown?
The announcement is specific to mobile search results as we stated above however, many in the SEO community have speculated that a mobile friendly website design will also impact the way Google looks at your regular, desktop site. This is already happening to a degree. Nothing was specifically stated on whether it would be at the domain level or on a page-by-page basis. This can be important to those sites that serve different sites or pages for a mobile user versus a desktop user.
Currently, “mobile-friendly” labels already show up in the SERPs, being awarded to specific pages of a site. It’s not a complete annotation, so it’s hard to predict whether your entire site will be effected by the update or just certain pages lacking mobile-friendly design.
What Should You Do?
You need to take action ASAP and make an assessment if this update could potentially hurt your rankings. Google has a tool that will analyze a URL and report the mobile-friendliness of the site.
Alternatively contact TM and we can help you navigate through this update.