Is your website ready for Google's upcoming 'mobile-friendly' update?

As many of you will already know, last week April 21st 2015 to be precise Google rolled out their mobile friendly update by boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results.

Unlike past algorithm updates, this update dubbed ‘Mobilegeddon’ is very transparent in both intent and judgment criteria. This won’t be a sliding scale, in Google’s eye you can’t be slightly mobile friendly. You’re either mobile friendly or you’re not.

Essentially, if you’re browsing a site on your phone or tablet, and you have to pinched and zoom or scrolled horizontally, then it’s not mobile-friendly and come mid-April, that site will see a significant dip in the search engine rankings, traffic, and conversions.

So now is the time to react and ensure your site can be viewed on all mobile and tablet devices. The numbers don’t lie. Figures show 30 percent of all organic search traffic originating from mobile with some data putting the number as high as 60 percent in certain industries. These numbers aren’t about to plateau either.

Below are some questions that the Google team have kindly answered

  1. Will desktop and/or tablet ranking also be affected by this change?
    No, this update has no effect on searches from tablets or desktops. It affects searches from mobile devices across all languages and locations.
  2. Is it a page-level or site-level mobile ranking boost? 
    It’s a page-level change. For instance, if ten of your site’s pages are mobile-friendly, but the rest of your pages aren’t, only the ten mobile-friendly pages can be positively impacted.
  3. Unfortunately, my mobile-friendly pages won’t be ready until after April 21st. How long before they can be considered mobile-friendly in ranking?
    We determine whether a page is mobile-friendly every time it’s crawled and indexed -- you don’t have to wait for another update. Once a page is mobile-friendly, you can wait for Googlebot for smartphones to naturally (re-)crawl and index the page or you can expedite processing by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index in Webmaster Tools.
  4. Since the mobile ranking change rolls out on April 21st, if I see no drop in traffic on April 22nd, does that mean that my site’s rankings aren't impacted?
    You won't be able to definitively determine whether your site’s rankings are impacted by the mobile-friendly update by April 22nd. While we begin rolling out the mobile-friendly update on April 21st, it’ll be a week or so before it makes its way to all pages in the index. 
  5. Will my site / page disappear on mobile search results if it's not mobile-friendly?
    While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal -- so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.
  6. What if my audience is desktop only? Then there’s no reason to have a mobile site, right?
    Not exactly. Statistics show that more people are going “mobile only” -- either because they never had a desktop or because they won’t replace their existing desktop. Additionally, a non-mobile-friendly site may not see many mobile visitors precisely for that reason. 

The mobile-friendly update will apply to mobile searches conducted across all sites, regardless of the site’s target audiences’ language, region, or proportion of mobile to desktop traffic.

In a nutshell this update is simply Google doing what Google does best, ensuring that their search engine provides its customers with the most relevant quality search results it possibly can and I have to say I welcome this algorithm update.

To check if your site is mobile responsive or not Google has provided a handy little tool to do for you. Mobile Friendly Test.