Google Mobile Ranking Update FAQ

Answers to your questions about the Google mobile algorithm update.

1. Google’s 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 warning site owners about mobile usability issues.

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?

This will mean that there will be a divergence between desktop and mobile rankings, which currently run parallel.

It would appear from Google’s wording, that it will only impact your mobile rankings. As in, if your site is not a responsive site, your mobile rankings will fall.

On the flip side, if your site is mobile-friendly, it could mean a rankings boost.

4. Does this affect your 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 for mobile friendliness. If the page passes its test, it assigns that page the mobile-friendly label. If not, it gets no label.

Check any URL on your site to see if it passes the test.

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 or fail. While the list is short, making sure all the pages on your website pass might be a lot of work.

Google recommends that your site be rebuilt as a responsive website. Doing so will ensure that all of your site pages will pass the test.

Is your site going to loose rankings? Does it pass the Google mobile-friendly test?