The next big Google algorithm change, coming April 21, 2015, is all about your website's mobile-friendliness. This event has been lovingly referred to as #Mobilegeddon, because it is expected to wreak havoc on companies that don't yet have mobile-friendly websites.
For SEOs and agencies providing search engine optimization services, this change isn't a surprise. There have been signs that mobile-friendliness would impact SEO eventually, but Google didn't make a formal announcement until late February on Webmaster Central.
"Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices."
Google makes little changes all the time, but they don't always make a big deal about it. So, when they do highlight an algorithm change coming, it is important to listen and take the necessary action...unless, of course, you don't care about your website rank falling.
What This Update Affects
- Affects only search rankings on mobile devices
- Affects search results in all languages globally
- Applies to individual pages, not entire websites
What Does Google Consider "Mobile-Friendly"?
At least that part is not a secret. Google provides plenty of direction about exactly what they are looking for and how to test for it. Here are 3 great resources, directly from Google:
- Principles of Site Design – Documentation based on a comprehensive research study examining how users interacted with various mobile sites
- Google's Mobile-Friendly Website Guide – Step-by-step instructions for developers on how to make a great mobile-friendly website
- Mobile SEO Best Practices – Details about mobile configuration options, configuring for various devices, how to properly signal the search engines, and common mistakes to avoid
How to Test Your Site for Mobile-Friendliness
Option #1 – Use Google's Tools
Google provides a mobile-friendliness testing tool for page-by-page analysis. We recently wrote in detail about testing for mobile-friendliness related to SEO, so I won't elaborate on that here. But I will point out that the mobile friendliness testing tool doesn't test your whole website, it only analyzes one page at a time. For a more comprehensive scan, log in to your Google Webmaster Tools.
Option #2 – Get A Free Mobile Website Assessment
If you're not an SEO expert, all this talk of mobile optimization can be confusing and even scary. That's why we're offering a complimentary assessment to help you out. We'll tell you how mobile-friendly your website it, what issues might impact your search rankings and how to improve.