Google is pushing their next big update to their Search Algorithm on April 21st. The new Google Mobile Site Algorithm is predicted to affect search results for millions of websites. Will your site be one?
Google’s algorithm updates are known for causing waves in Search Engine Results Page (SERP). When Panda was released in February 2011, it affected 12% of all English search queries. This was followed up by Penguin in April, 2012 and impacted roughly 4% of search results globally. Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends team, has stated that this next update will have more of an impact than Panda or Penguin.
What does this mean for desktop only websites?
Back in February, Google announced this change was coming:
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.
Google’s aim seems to be (as always) to provide the best possible search results for their users. In this update, they have chosen to give higher ranking to those individuals and businesses that have tailored their websites towards a mobile-friendly experience. It is believed that around 50% of all search queries are performed on a mobile device, so why wouldn’t user experience become a factor in search results?
What does this mean for sites that only offer desktop versions of their website? While Google hasn’t said that websites will be penalized for only offering a desktop experience to users, when weight is given to one side of a scale the other side is naturally affected. In this case, the scale is search ranking. As more consideration is given to sites offering both a desktop and mobile experience, those offering only desktop experiences will naturally be pushed down in organic results.
Will the new Mobile Site Algorithm affect your site?
Google is doing it’s best to ensure that no website unfairly loses ranking. The Search Engine released its Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool for those who are unsure if their site will make the cut. The only thing a website owner needs to in order to verify their site is mobile-friendly is open the tool and plug in their URL, Google will take care of the rest. If your site is mobile-friendly, great! If not, let’s talk.
In addition to this testing tool, Google, working with its webmaster community via Twitter compiled a list of common mobile mistakes made when.
Here’s a quick summary of items to avoid when building a mobile site:
More details on these common mistakes can be viewed in the Mobile SEO: Avoid Common Mistakes Guide