google mobile algorithm

Mobile Friendly Websites Gain Useful Advantage With New Google Mobile Search

Mobile Friendly Websites Gain Useful Advantage With New Google Mobile Search

Being encouraged to have a mobile-friendly website certainly isn’t a new thing, but on April 21 it will take a new form of urgency as Google adds mobile-friendliness to their search algorithm.

The announcement came on February 26, 2015, when Google announced that its algorithms have to adapt to new internet usage patterns. With a growing number of people accessing the internet with a mobile device, the algorithm change will help ensure that mobile users find web pages that are optimized for their devices. Since that time, Google has shared more information – and we’re now in the final stretch for business owners to make this all-important change to their business website.

What the New Algorithm Change Means to You

To explain it as simply as possible, starting on April 21, 2015, if your website is not mobile-friendly then it will not (likely) be displayed in search results performed by mobile users. That could translates to a huge decline in visibility, site visits, and sales.

More specifically, Google’s new algorithm will label your website as mobile-friendly, directly on the search results page, and use that label to determine what results appear in mobile searches. Experts are predicting that the change will have a significant impact on search results in all languages and all countries around the world.

More Details Revealed

After the initial announcement, Google revealed further details in a Google+ Hangout session (watch the video below for the live Q&A session, or click HERE):

Here are some of the main points:

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  • Although the algorithm will start on April 21, it will take time (up to a week) to completely implement globally.
  • Sites will be labeled as mobile-friendly or not. It’s a yes/no dichotomy and they will not be judging based on degrees of mobile friendliness.
  • Google has a tool to find out if your website is mobile-friendly. This way you will know if you’re ready for the change or have to make some alterations.
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Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?

To find out if your website is mobile-friendly, simply visit this Google page and use the Mobile-Friendly Test. Enter your website URL in the box and click Analyze. When the analysis is finished your results will be displayed – and your goal is to get the green bar that says “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.” You’ll also get a list of page resources that are blocked by Googlebot (and therefore won’t be displayed on mobile devices).

Once the changes are in place, you can also Google your website with your phone. If Google understands that your site is mobile-friendly, you’ll see a gray ‘mobile friendly’ label.

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 "The changes will affect mobile search results only and when people search on mobile, sites that are mobile friendly will be displayed more prominently and rank higher than non-mobile sites. - Google's Webmaster Team

What if My Site Isn’t Mobile-Friendly?

Because it hasn’t been released yet, the impacts of the new algorithm aren’t fully understood and there are still many other factors that impact search ranking. However, it seems safe to say that if mobile-friendliness is a factor, your non-mobile-friendly website will not be showing up in search results on mobile devices, drastically limiting your reach.

To make the change yourself, you can consider changing your WordPress-based website’s theme. You’ll want to look for a “responsive” design, which means that your website will automatically be adjusted based on the viewer’s screen.

A responsive theme is a good choice because you have one website that adjusts for everything and thus will get the “mobile-friendly” label. However, you can also choose to have separate desktop and mobile versions of your website. For that you may consider the WP Mobile Edition plugin. This plugin features a “mobile switcher” that can detect if the visitor is on a mobile device or not, then automatically switch between your primary (desktop) WordPress theme or load the mobile theme instead.

These are two options, but there are many other plugins and ways to create a mobile friendly website as well. Since the search engine visibility of your website is at stake, you may also consider hiring out to make sure things are done right.

Keeping Pace with Changes

This algorithm change represents a new way of assessing websites by Google, based on a growing number of users who are searching on their mobile devices. The success of your business requires keeping up with these important changes, so we advise that you embrace the change sooner rather than later.