Since February, there has been much talk of Google’s new mobile-friendly update and today, it is upon us. This will be a big change in the Google algorithm, and although so much advance warning is unprecedented, this time Google gave ample time and information prior to release so that website publishers were able to prepare for the changes ahead, as to avoid their page rankings being seriously compromised by the updates.
What do the changes mean?
For websites already using responsive design, and providing a mobile friendly website, they are likely to see a large boost in page ranking, as the algorithm changes are optimised to provide search results that are mobile friendly in priority. Users accessing Google from their mobile devices are the ones who will be impacted, as their search results will be specialised, to provide mobile friendly results, improving the user experience for anyone using their mobile device.
Desktop searches and page rankings will remain unaffected, as will tablet searches, as this update is designed to only change search results when being conducted from smartphones and mobile devices.
This is the second mobile-friendly algorithm update
It is true that this is the second mobile friendly algorithm update that Google has released. However, the first, which was implemented in 2013, was released to address major issues involved with accessing a mobile website, whereas the new update is expanding upon this, and directly addressing mobile usability issues.
How to know if you’re ready for the update
In order to be certain your website is prepared for the update, and won’t be negatively impacted by the changes taking place, you will need to ensure that if your site is already indexed by Google, that it has been labelled mobile friendly in the search results. If you are unsure of the page’s classification, publishers are able to run the mobile friendly testing tool to ensure that your site is optimised and ready to go.
It is important to understand that if you are just now preparing your site for the pending changes, it may take Google some time to update all of their indexing and catch on to the fact that webpages are now mobile friendly, therefore effecting mobile search results until this is done.
Mobile Usability Reports provided within the Google Webmaster tools can also be of great use, but the results can be fairly delayed. Although the algorithm changes go into effect on April 21, and the algorithm is in real time, publishers will need to wait until Google crawls their pages to determine whether or not they are mobile friendly.
Early stage testing shows this can take somewhere in the range of 72 hours, with large sites expecting to take as long as a month, therefore it is important to make sure the most crucial content pages are indexed as mobile friendly as soon as possible.