Google once announced that they will be releasing a new algorithm update on the 21st of April. This update is specifically to access the level of mobile compatibility of websites. Its aim is to modify the search results on mobile devices significantly and to offer extra benefits to mobile friendly sites over non mobile ones. This modification is even more significant than Penguin or Panda therefore, what can the SEO world expect from this update.
What changes is Google making to its algorithm?
A site is either mobile friendly or it is not. This is because the results of mobile friendly sites tests are binary, this was explained by Google. There is no half way there when it comes to mobile friendliness of sites; it is either your site works on mobile devices or it doesn’t.
Google also goes on to explain that these alterations will only have an effect on the search ranking of a site on mobile devices. Perhaps more importantly, it exclusively relates to individual pages, and not to whole websites. It will also only have a bearing on searches made on smartphones and not tablets. Furthermore, this new kind of mobile-only index is being released alongside the new crawler. This makes good sense if Google wishes to index and rank app content plus deep links to screens in the app, which are only available currently on Android devices.
Another modification is that this algorithm will make use of real time for updates. If you can’t get your website modified to be mobile responsive before the set date then this is good news, because once the modifications are done, your site will be reassessed quickly and a reversal of any negative effects of the algorithm can be done.
The new algorithm will be released globally and different from other updates in the sense that it will not be released with a country by country phased approach implying that there may be a major drop in mobile traffic from searches all over the globe from henceforth. However, the website’s pages will automatically be reprocessed by Google as soon as the modifications are put in place.
So what can you do?
Very few small businesses have a mobile site and that’s why this algorithm has the potential to be the biggest challenge in Search Engine Optimization. However, no changes have to be made by you before the update that is if your website is already mobile. All you have to do is use the Webmaster tools to monitor your website.
If you intend to speed up the process of crawling, you can make use of Fetch as Google with submit to index. If the criteria are met, pages ought to be treated as mobile-friendly in rankings.
If you have doubts as whether or not Google sees your site as mobile friendly, one of the most effective ways to find out is to use the Mobile-Friendly Test or Mobile Usability Report tool in Webmaster Tools. Study the Google Webmaster’s Mobile Guide for more information.
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