On Monday this week (April 21) a new change has been released to the Google search algorithm which advocates and forces a ‘mobile-first’ approach be taken for all websites that wish to rank well.
The move marks the biggest shake-up to the search engine since Panda and Penguin. Google will boost sites that display well on mobile and downgrade those that don’t.
According to Google, half of all searches globally come from mobile – yet many brands have failed to keep up with the shift in consumer behaviour.
The answer is for all businesses to ditch their unresponsive site or your ‘m.’ subdomain and embrace a blend of responsive, reactive, adaptive content and templates. Do it now, or be displaced by competitors who got there already
Google has built an online test for brands and publishers to check whether their sites qualify as mobile-friendly – see: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
FIVE action points for your website to become mobile-friendly
Here are some ‘first steps’ to take when responding to Google’s latest mobile friendly algorithm update, whether a business employs their own in-house SEO team or outsources to an agency or consultant:
- The algorithm roll out affects only search rankings on mobile devices and applies to individual pages, not entire websites, so make sure your most important pages are indexed as mobile friendly as soon as possible.
- Check if your site is already considered mobile friendly by Google. There may be a delay in Google identifying mobile friendly web pages on your site though.
- Get your team to cross check Google’s ‘top seven mistakes webmasters make when going mobile friendly’ blog post to assess your conformance. See: www.developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/mobile-seo/common-mistakes
- Check the status of your entire site through the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools that identifies those pages on your site suffering from severe usability problems for mobile visitors.
- Having made the changes, instruct Google’s spiders to crawl your site sooner than they might have otherwise done by using Google’s Fetch as Google function.