By rick | Thu, 04/30/2015 - 14:00
Be warned! Google is about to shake things up on you, and you may not like it.
Starting April 21st 2015, the mobile readiness of your site is going to affect your search engine rankings. Sadly, many are not taking this seriously. Even though Google has been very clear on their intentions.
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.
And if that is not enough. Members of their team have been quoted as saying that this new mobile-friendly algorithm will have more of an impact than Penguin and Panda.
Bigger than Penguin and Panda? Wow, that is a serious statement. Whether that turns out to be true or not, why take the risk?
What can you do about it?
Well the very first thing you should do is to head over to Google’s mobile-friendly tool and check out your website.
Even if you have a mobile version of your site it is worth checking out if Google sees it this way. The tool will confirm. And if you don’t pass, then the tool will also tell you what you need to work on.
What makes a site mobile friendly?
With so many ways to build a website, you could be confused as to what Google deems as mobile-friendly. Don’t worry you are not alone.
According to their official blog, here is the criteria:
A page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria as detected by Googlebot:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don't have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
I failed! What can I do about it?
Well, sadly with the deadline only a few days away, not much. But, fear not! You can certainly mitigate the damage.
The first course of action is to create a mobile version of your site. Google has already provided a number of tools to help with this. Again, by referring to their blog on the subject, you can find this information.
If you want to make sure that your page meets the mobile-friendly criteria:
- Check your pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test
- Read our updated documentation on our Webmasters Mobile Guide on how to create and improve your mobile site
- See the Mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, which highlights major mobile usability issues across your entire site, not just one page
- Check our how-to guide for third-party software like WordPress or Joomla, in order to migrate your website hosted on a CMS (Content Management System) to use a mobile-friendly template
They even have an official guide for Drupal.
However, if you have a custom site that needs a professional’s touch, then a company like Cheeky Monkey Media, would be able to get you up to date.
It’s impossible to tell how big of a shake up this is going to have on your site. We can only assume that some sites will see no change, while others will drop out of the rankings altogether. The most important thing is to be aware of the changes that are coming. This will at least give you a fighting chance.