Get Your Questions Answered About the Google Mobile Update
By Small Screen Producer. Publish on April 21, 2015.
As many of you know, Google’s new mobile-friendly update launched today. This new update has been referred to as, “Mobilegeddon,” “the new Y2K,” and “the end for ill-prepared businesses”. It all sounds scary so we thought it would be helpful to answer some frequently asked questions we’ve been receiving from our clients and others regarding the mobile update. Here’s what you need to know.
Q: When was Google’s Update Known?
We first learned about Google’s new algorithm change back in February. It was very out of the ordinary for Google to pre-announce this new change since the company has a tendency of releasing info after the fact. They were also very specific, even mentioning a deadline of April 21, 2015 for webmasters to update their web pages to mobile friendlier versions.
Q: What is the Google Mobile Update Exactly?
This new algorithm update will enhance Google’s current algorithm for mobile search results. This update will allow Google to find web pages that are mobile friendly and rank them higher in mobile search results than pages that are not mobile friendly. The new update will only impact mobile searchers and will give a ranking boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google mobile search results only. As stated in Google's follow up annoucement today about the update,
- Affects only search rankings on mobile devices
- Affects search results in all languages globally
- Applies to individual pages, not entire websites
Q: Will it Impact Desktop Searches? Will my Desktop Rankings Drop?
No, the new change will only impact mobile searches and will have no impact on desktop search rankings.
Q: Will it Impact Tablet Searches?
No, it will only impact searches on mobile smartphone devices, not tablet devices.
Q: How Do I Know if my Website is Mobile Compliant or "Mobile Friendly"?
There are few ways to do this. One way is to see if Google has already indexed your site as mobile-friendly. When you search for your website in search results, there should be a “mobile friendly” label next to the website link in mobile search results. You may also use the mobile friendly testing toolGoogle provides. Enter your website URL in the space provided and the tool will let you know if you have passed the test. Google’s new update may take some time to update their index so you may not see the label right away in mobile search results. Lastly, you can use the mobile usability reports in Google webmaster tools, but those results may be delayed.
Q: Will be OK if You are Partially Mobile-Friendly?
No, Google is very black and white with this. You can either be mobile friendly or not mobile friendly but nothing in between. This means that it’s not enough to have just a couple of webpages on your site be mobile compliant.
Q: If I am Not Mobile Compliant, will I Start Seeing a Dip in Rankings Right Away?
No, not necessarily. Again, it will take some time for Google’s algorithm to rollout. You may, however, see changes in the next few days or next few weeks if you are impacted.
Q: When it Does Fully Roll Out, How Badly will My Non-Mobile Site be Impacted?
Truthfully, it’s unknown for right now how badly the damage will be for non-mobile sites. Search Engine Journal reports that it will have a more significant impact than past Google algorithm changes like the Panda and Penguin algorithms, which could mean more than an 11% change in search results. According toTech Crunch, over 40% of Fortune 500 companies could be impacted by the update.
Q: Will Non Mobile Friendly Big Brands or Location Based Queries be Impacted?
Most likely not. Relevancy is still important for Google, more than the mobile algorithm, so if you search for “American Apparel” in Houston, you will probably get the American Apparel website at the top of search results, even if the website is not mobile friendly.
Q: What if I am Not a Big site or Mobile Friendly?
This mobile friendly ranking factor is one of many ranking factors Google uses to rank mobile search results. To determine if you are the right page for the search, Google will consider multiple factors, including the content on your page. If you have really great content but you’re not mobile friendly, Google will still show you regardless. Google recently released a statement saying that good-quality content could rank well, even if not mobile friendly. Our web services team gave a really great example. If Google finds two pages that offer similar content and would be helpful for the searcher but only one of them was mobile friendly, Google would probably rank the mobile friendly site first in mobile search results.
Q: Will this Update Affect my Google Ads?
No, this change is only for organic listings. Google Adwords may have their own ranking factors for mobile, but this is separate from that.
Q: I Took Google’s Mobile Test and I’m Not Mobile Friendly, What Do I Do?
You have a couple of options to become mobile compliant. One is to create a dedicated mobile site for your current website. This would be a separate site that would be managed by your web team. This site would be an abbreviated version of your current site and include some information about your company and large link buttons for quick contact. This is a quick fix if you are looking to become mobile friendly immediately.
The other option is a web responsive site. You can redo your website completely and make it web responsive. That means that no matter what device your customer is on, whether it’s desktop, tablet, or mobile, your website will automatically adjust the dimensions to fit that device. With a web responsive design, you are only managing ONE site instead of 2 different sites (1 desktop site, and 1 dedicated mobile site). This is also the option that Google recommends.
Although the Google's mobile algorithm update released today, you still have time to make your website mobile compliant before you see the long term effects of the change. If you have any questions about your website that were not addressed in this article or if you would like to learn more about our mobile website design options, please contact us! We're here to help.
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