Mediagistic Blog

Google will Expand “Mobile-Friendliness” as a Ranking Signal on April 21st

467194261In a move that some SEO industry observers are calling “Mobilegeddon” or the “Mobile SEO-Pocalypse,” Google announced last month on the company’s Webmaster Central Blog that mobile-friendliness will soon become a major ranking signal. And with the April 21st deadline looming, the scramble is on to ensure sites are compliant.

A Worldwide Impact on Mobile Search

This algorithm change will have an impact on mobile searches in all languages across the globe, and will significantly affect the search results users receive from Google. Here’s the quote:

“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.”

For businesses that fail to adjust their Web presence strategy, the fallout likely will be immediate and significant. According to an article published earlier this week by Search Engine Land, “given that the norm is about 30% search access from smartphones (according to seoClarity) and that some sites have more than half of their traffic coming from smart-phones, this mobile-friendly algorithm could be very disruptive to many businesses.”

Shifts in Mobile Rankings May Already be Happening

Back at the beginning of February, Matt Southern of Search Engine Journal wrote a story detailing how some sites were already seeing shakeups in their mobile rankings. Southern noted that, in January, Google was “sending out warnings to webmasters of non-mobile friendly sites that their search rankings may be impacted.”

Even further back, Jennifer Slegg of the SEM Post reported in January that “People began noticing that websites that received this notice are no longer ranking when a search is done on a mobile device. The rankings are retained for desktop searches, but the visibility in mobile searches drops dramatically.”

So what does this mean? The bottom line is this — although Google officially is rolling out the changes on April 21st, sites are already seeing the repercussions of this change. If you’ve received one of these notices, then compliance probably should be your top priority.

Preparing for the Mobile-pocalypse

In order to prepare, there are a few key tools that webmasters can leverage. The first is Google’s mobile usability reports available within its set of webmaster tools, and it may also be helpful to review Google’s mobile-friendly guidelines. Additionally, you can estimate how much traffic is at risk using this handy mobile algorithm estimate study data template.

Of course, Mediagistic’s clients can rest assured that we already build sites with mobile devices in mind using the latest best practices of user experience and responsive design. Our Web presence team also is currently working to double- and triple-check that each of our sites will be 100% compliant for the upcoming April 21st algorithm change.

Image via Thinkstock


cm_teamelements_eddieEddie Childs is the Lead Content Strategist for Mediagistic. His writing has been published by a range of websites and publications including Copypress.com, Jambase.com, NFLSoup.com, FootballNation.com, and Boating World, KnowAtlanta, Men’s Book, Cobb in Focus, TCL, Blush, Charged Electric Vehicles, Business to Business, and Catalyst magazines.

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