Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly by April 21 – Google algorithm deadline

Google has announced that it will be starting the roll out of a major algorithm change on April 21, 2015. This mobile-friendly ranking algorithm will classify your site as mobile-friendly or not, and determine whether your site should rank higher in search results than others. Google has warned webmasters that this algorithm update will have a “significant impact” in mobile search results, “in all languages worldwide”.


Hasn’t mobile usability been important for a while?

Mobile usability has been a factor in Google’s search algorithm for some time. Sites that are optimised for use on mobile devices tend to rank higher than non-optimised sites. But up until now, it hasn’t been clear which factors are considered by Google when calculating mobile rankings or which sites are actually affected. Due to this many business owners have put off optimising their sites for mobile devices and in some cases they have coasted along without dire consequences.

As of April 21, all of that is set to change.


How can you get ready for this change?

  1. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. If you have a responsive design you shouldn’t have any issues. However, you may have a stand-alone dedicated mobile site, a  mobile app or you may be one of the many business owners who have never taken any steps to optimise their site for mobile devices up til now.  Google has provided a guide to mobile-friendly sites which is a good place to start.
  2. Check that Google’s mobile bots can actually crawl your site and find out how the world’s most popular search engine rates your site for mobile usability. If Google can’t see your site you won’t rank in search results.
Google has offered up a few handy tools you can use to check how Googlebot views your pages:
  • You can use the Mobile-Friendly Test to test a few pages from your site. Remember that just because your homepage is mobile friendly doesn’t mean the rest of your website is.
  • If you have your own website you can use your Webmaster Tools account to obtain a full breakdown of mobile usability issues on your site using Google’s Mobile Usability Report.

3. Take a look at Google’s Mobile SEO guide to learn about configuring your site for multiple devices, helping search engines understand your configuration, and ways to avoid the most common mistakes.


What about Mobile Apps?

Google has also informed website owners that apps that are indexed by Google through App Indexing will start to rank better in mobile search. To find out how you can implement App Indexing famaliarise yourself with Google’s step-by-step guide on their developer website.

If all of this seems a bit overwhelming or you would like to speak to somebody who knows how to make your site mobile-friendly contact the AWD team today on 1300 855 651 or online.

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