It’s been four years since Google shook up the search world with its Panda and Penguin updates, which respectively put an end to spammy content and spammy link building. That means we’re overdue for another game-changing algorithm update that sets the digital marketing industry scrambling in panic.
The wait will soon be over when Google rolls out what the industry has dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon,’ an update set to greatly increase the role of mobility usability as a ranking factor.
Google made the announcement on its Webmaster Central Blog in February:
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.
In addition to putting more weight on mobile usability, Google has also started indexing more content from mobile apps in its search results for users who have that app installed and are signed in.
Google also announced that they are working on a completely separate index dedicated just to mobile. This likely won’t roll out on April 21st but is an indication of the direction the search engine giant is heading.
While its name might be ever so slightly hyperbolic, this update is expected to be bigger than Panda and Penguin combined, which means every site needs to prepare for a radically altered search landscape. Those sites that deliver an excellent mobile experience to users will likely see a boost, while those that have stuck their heads in the sand as the mobile revolution took place will likely reap the consequences.
What to Do
No one is exactly sure what Mobilegeddon is going to look like, but there are a few steps you can take now to make sure you’re prepared when it hits.
- Check your site using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test – This tool makes it easy to plug in the URL of your site and figure out if Google thinks it has a mobile-friendly design. If it reads your site as mobile-friendly you should be good to go. If it’s not mobile-friendly, it will offer you some tips on how you can make improvements.
- Check your site using Google’s Page Speed Insights – Another huge component of mobile usability, aside from design, is mobile speed. If your site is slow to respond in mobile, you may get docked in the search engine rankings. Plug your URL into this tool for Google to analyze your site speed in both mobile and desktop.
- Check the Mobile Usability Report in GWT – If you want to get even more granular, Google now features a Mobile Usability Report in Webmaster Tools. Log in to your account, navigate to Search Traffic, and then Mobile Usability. It will outline all the pages where users might encounter difficulties if they visit your site on a mobile device.
Wading into Mobile for the First Time
Is this your first foray into mobile? Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites is a nice place to start. There’s no better place to get your information than straight from the horse’s mouth.
You can also check out some other articles from our blog about mobile:
Or contact us directly to find out how we can help prepare your site for the upcoming Mobilegeddon.