Once again Google is updating their organic search algorithm and the target is mobile. Google has announced that a new algorithm update will be launched on April 21 to clean up and optimize organic mobile search results.
Although Google has mentioned in that past that responsive and mobile friendly websites may see small boosts in rankings, this update will be the biggest mobile refresh to date. Google’s own Zineb Ait Bahajji was quoted as saying the upcoming mobile update will be larger than both Penguin and Panda.
Below we have outlined precautions for the mobile update, and the potential impact of the mobile algorithm on your site.
How to Prepare for Google’s Mobile Algorithm Update
Usually Google gives us little time and resources to prepare for an algorithm update, but this time around Google has provided us with a few tools to prepare. There are two tools from Google that will help boost your site’s mobile friendliness before the big update.
- Google Webmaster Tools Mobile Usability – If you have Google Webmaster Tools set up for your site this should be the only tool you should be using to prepare. You can easily navigate to the Mobile Usability section under Search Traffic section in the left hand navigation to find any mobile usability issues Google has identified.This section of Webmaster Tools will identify any mobile errors currently on site and then will drill down to the exact landing page where each issue resides.
- Google Mobile Friendly Test – This tool should only be used if you do not have access to Google Webmaster Tools. Google’s mobile friendly test allows users to search individual URLs and spot check them for mobile issues.
What is the Impact of the Mobile Algorithm Update?
We have already seen Google team members comment on the severity of the mobile algorithm update so we can reasonably expect this update to have a short and long term impact on your site. Once the update is officially rolled out on April 21 we should expect large scale changes within the mobile organic SERPs. We should see SERP changes along the lines of the last Panda and Penguin updates, where sites that are not optimized for mobile search could see SERP changes from 1 to 100 places or a complete removal from the mobile index as a whole. As we continue to see users migrate from desktop searches over to mobile search we must adapt and optimize our sites to cater to those users.
Mobile is not going anywhere anytime soon, so we must make changes with mobile search in mind. If your site relies heavily on mobile traffic or if your site gains a large number of sales through mobile, you must begin optimizing now. Making your site as mobile friendly as possible before the April 21 update will be of the utmost importance to rank well in Google’s mobile organic search.