We’re getting a lot of questions from our clients about the upcoming Google mobile algorithm update, and so we have put together this FAQ which we will keep updated as things progress.
1. Google’s Historical Mobile Ranking Announcements
October 29, 2014 Google announced that they added the Mobile Usability feature to Webmaster Tools to show mobile usability issues they’d identified across your website.
November 18, 2014 Google announced that it would start rolling out a label on mobile search results “to make it easier for people to find the information that they’re looking for.” This is commonly known as the mobile-friendly label.
January 2015: Google sends mass emails to site owners who don’t have a mobile friendly site.
February 26, 2015 Google announced that they would start factoring in mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal that will “affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
2. When will the mobile ranking update happen?
On March 4, 2015, Google’s Gary Illyes answered some questions in a Q&A concerning the upcoming Google mobile ranking change. When pressed with the question, “Will this change go live on April 21st or is there wiggle room,” his answer was about as specific as you can ask Google to be: “I will say April 21st is a very important day!”
If history serves us, the complete roll-out could take awhile.
3. How will this affect your rankings?
It would appear from Google’s wording, so far, that it will only impact mobile rankings, meaning that there will probably be a divergence between desktop and mobile rankings, which currently run parallel. Thus far, if your site is #1 for a term, it would be that way on both desktop and mobile SERPs.
It is important to note that after April 21st things may change. As mobile traffic to websites continue to rise at a stellar pace, and are arguably going to run neck and neck with desktop users in the near future, this could be disastrous for website owners. Loosing 25-50% (or more) of your traffic will be a huge impact!
On the flip side, for those sites that are mobile-friendly, it could mean a rankings boost.
4. Does this affect my whole site or just a few pages?
Google’s Gary Ilyes clarified that the update would operate on a page by page level. In other words, Google has already been checking every page on your site, and assigning it the mobile-friendly label, or not. Google seems to be giving everyone fair warning to get each page up to snuff.
5. How often will Google’s mobile data refresh?
Gary also suggested that this data will be updated in real-time. Basically, as soon as a page or site becomes mobile-friendly, the data will refresh.
6. What should site owners do to comply?
Google has a short list of requirements that are pass of fail. While the list is short, making sure all the pages on your website pass might be a lot of work, if you haven’t started all ready.
Act Quickly: Sign up above to download our “April 21st Mobile Rankings Survival Guide” for all the details!