Each year, Google makes hundreds of algorithm updates, changing the way the search engine ranks websites based on users’ search queries. Many of these updates are not announced forcing SEO consultants to constantly monitor clients’ sites and observe trends on their own. There is, however, a big update that is coming our way on April 21st that Google has been warning webmasters about for months; while it has yet to be given a formal name by the search engine giant, many SEO experts have referred to it as “Mobilegeddon”.
Google’s Actions on Mobile to Date
It’s estimated that approximately 60% of all Google searches are done on a mobile device. It should come as no surprise that the search engine has taken steps to deliver high quality results to mobile users. Over the past few months, Google has issued mobile development guidelines, outlining best practices for creating sites that are fully accessible on a smart phone. The search engine has also placed tags in mobile search results indicating whether a site is indeed mobile-friendly.
Several weeks ago, Google started sending warnings to webmasters across the globe, reporting mobile-usability errors. These warnings highlighted problematic components of the site in question such as small fonts and touch elements that are too close together for a smart phone user. These warnings are what many suspect to be Google’s final push before the search engine begins the real crackdown.
What we can expect from Mobilegeddon?
We know that this update will be rolled out in just about three weeks, and will take about a week to be completed. While we don’t know exactly what will happen during the update, we know the following will take place:
- Mobile-friendliness will be used as a ranking signal, meaning that if your site is not mobile-friendly you’ll likely take a hit in the organic search results and see a drop in traffic to your site.
- There is no preference given to responsive designs vs. mobile websites. Either is fine as long as they meet Google’s mobile guidelines.
- Each page on your site has to be mobile. It’s not enough to just optimize your home page. Each and every page on your site is evaluated for mobile-friendliness.
How can you be sure that you’re prepared for this update?
If you’re not sure whether or not your site is mobile-friendly, try pulling it up on your smartphone. If you have to pinch to zoom or can’t get the site to load in a few seconds, you’re likely in trouble. Perhaps even easier than checking on your own phone is to visit Google’s Mobile-Friendly test. On this page, you can simply type in your site’s URL and the search engine will tell you exactly where your site stands and whether it meets all of the search engine’s requirements.
If the test does identify any issues, you have just three weeks to work with a developer to bring your site into compliance. There are pros and cons to both mobile and responsive site design. This post explores these differences and should be considered if you’re struggling to determine the best option for your law practice.