Ready for Google’s Mobile Update?

Are you ready for Google’s Mobile Algorithm update? This is a common question we hear being asked recently as Google prepares to launch a new ranking algorithm in mobile search on April 21, 2015. Read our blog article to find out how your rankings may suffer with Google’s new algorithm update and click here to read our white-paper for SEO tips and guidelines for mobile sites.

How will Google’s mobile update hurt my website ranking?

The new update will calculate whether a page is mobile-friendly or not.  Google had introduced the mobile-friendly label in mobile search at the end of 2014, which was a strong hint that mobile as a ranking factor would be imminent. With Google’s mobile update, sites which don’t offer a mobile site will suffer.  Those who already have a mobile or responsive site, may see a small increase or maintain the same rankings right now in mobile search.  It has been said by Google that this update will affect more searches than both the Panda and Penguin update.  That’s a lot!

How you can stay afloat?  

There are a few tools and suggestions by Google to help determine how they are currently evaluating a site and also will offer some tips on how to make your site more mobile friendly. Check for a mobile-friendly label in mobile search and use Google Webmaster Tools Mobile Usability Reports.  Additionally, the following tools will provide automated results based on a calculation: The Mobile-friendly Test Tool and PageSpeed Insights Tool.  These tools combined help answer the question “is my site mobile friendly?”

Google Analytics is another great tool to utilize and understand the types of devices being used to view your website.  If your site has a large percent of mobile traffic, it is critical to create a mobile-friendly website and optimize that site. There is a difference between a site which is mobile-friendly and a web-page that is optimized for mobile search.  While the focus of the update is to reach mobile-friendly “status,” it is also important to optimize and begin to think about how to serve the most optimized pages to Google.

You need to optimize your mobile website

Optimizing for a mobile site is similar to Google’s desktop search in that it also weighs in hundreds of different algorithmic ranking factors to determine the best result for the user. Mobile sites may need some additional configuration depending on the type of mobile site you have.  For example, a mobile site on a subdomain or subfolder would most certainly benefit by having a Mobile XML Sitemap.  Additionally, Google recommends rel=canonical and rel=alternate tagging.  Visit Google’s mobile optimization best practices.

People are searching on their mobile phones

The demand of mobile users is the driving force why Google is announcing the update.  It is important that we are cognizant of the devices being used by our visitors and that we are providing the best mobile experience them.  While achieving mobile-friendly label may be the single most important part of Google’s algorithm update, it is also important that we focus on optimizing the sites with the users experience in mind.

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