10 Things Website Owners Need to Know about Google’s Mobile-Ranking Change
Is Your Website Ready for Google’s Mobile Update?
On April 21st, Google will be launching a new algorithm update that will affect search engines on mobile devices. This change is said to be bigger than both “Panda” and “Penguin,” and will take just over a week to be effective globally. Although this will not affect any desktop search engines, it is important to make sure your website is mobile-user friendly. Here are the top 10 things website owners need to know about the new mobile-ranking change.
1. Mobile-Friendly Criteria
There are a list of factors that will determine whether or not a website is mobile-friendly.
- Font size must not be too small
- Links/buttons cannot be too close together
- ViewPort must be set correctly
- Video content must be playable
2. How to Check if Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
The webmasters at Google shared some helpful tips for website owners on preparing for this update. If you want to check whether or not your website is mobile-friendly, Google Developers created a Mobile-Friendly Test. All you have to do is submit the link to your site and it will tell you wheter or not you need to make changes to fix your site for mobile capabilities.
3. Mobile Rankings
Although most mobile rankings will be impacted, it is unclear if changes will occur more for Android, or both Android and iOS devices equally.
It’s estimated that about 50% of all searches on Google are done on mobile devices, and this number will continue to grow. That means if your website is not mobile-friendly after this update you could see a big difference in business.
It’s pretty obvious then that websites that are mobile-friendly will have higher rankings after this update is launched. Hence, websites that fail to meet the new criteria will have lower rankings. Keep in mind that even if a website’s rankings are high on a regular desktop search engine, they may be significantly lower on a mobile device.
4. It Won’t Be Used
Mobile users who come across websites that are difficult to navigate become frustrated, and prefer not to use it. That means if you decide not to fix the necessary changes and believe your website is still ranked decently, most users will leave your website shortly after clicking.
“Focus on the user and all else will follow.”
The webmasters at Google say not to worry too much about the algorithm, but rather the user experience. Some companies are so focused on being mobile-friendly for the update, that they do not consider the mobile-experience from the user’s perspective. Check your website using a phone, tablet, or other mobile devices, and see what flaws there might be. Mobile-friendly should not pertain to just Google’s standards, but the user experience as a whole. Put yourself in the user’s shoes and you will be able to perfect the mobile-user experience.
6. Google App Indexing
Google is also introducing a new type of indexing for Android users. If a website is connected to an app, the link to that app will now appear in relevant Google searches. App Indexing allows users to open an app directly from a search result, but will only appear if the app has been previously downloaded to the device.
For example, if an Android user Google searches for movie tickets, a link to an app that sells movie tickets or shows movie times may appear in their search results. For more information on how to configure your website with an app, refer to Google’s App Indexing Guide.
These new crawlers may also focus more on newsfeeds, schemas or sitemaps. Websites such as Facebook or Pinterest use Responsive Design well within their apps, which allows the crawlers to understand the content more easily and by deep linking through single-page apps.
With the introduction of new crawlers, it only makes sense that Google would create a mobile-only indexing for apps. In order to rank the content of apps and deep links without them affecting the desktop algorithm, Google has decided to begin working on a new mobile index.
8. How You Know if Ranking Changes Have Been Made
So you check your website and correct the necessary changes. But how do you know if Google detected these changes? Will you need to re-index your page or website? The answer is no- after this, you won’t need to do anything else. Google will update the Mobile-Usability Report next time they crawl websites.
Keep in mind that mobile-usability is not the only component to achieve higher rankings. Google uses about 200 other factors when considering page rankings, so making sure that your website has quality content is key. This is always something to consider when looking for higher-ranking results.
If you are looking for tips on how to make your website mobile-friendly, the following link to the Webmaster’s Mobile Guide by Google can answer some of your questions or concerns. Or, check out the Webmaster Help Forum for more information.
The use of mobile devices is becoming increasingly prominent. To make sure that you are not negatively affected by the new Google update, now is the time to begin working on making your website mobile-user friendly. Don’t worry if your website is not completely finished before April 21st, because it’s never too late to make improvements to your website.