Is Your Website Optimized For Mobile? You Have Until April 21 To Get It Done
By now, your site should be optimized for mobile access. If it isn’t, you’ve got about 3 weeks left, as of the time of this writing.
Mobile user experience has been evolving over the course of the past decade, with a greater percentage of online searches being performed on mobile devices every year. Addressing this trend, Google has made strong efforts to accommodate mobile audiences, tailoring its search results to favor sites that are suitably optimized for mobile use.
For example, a responsive-designed website will always perform better in search results than its non-mobile optimized counterpart in mobile searches, and mobile-friendly sites are marked with an appropriate “Mobile-friendly” tag in search results, increasing their click-through rate from search engine results pages.
The ranking boost you get from having your site optimized for mobile has been significant, yet not overwhelming. Millions of sites have fared just fine despite not being optimized for a mobile user experience, and yours may very well be one of them. Unfortunately, this respite will not last much longer.
As announced by Google in a recent blog post, Google is currently working on a significant structural algorithm change that will increase its emphasis on mobile-usability as a ranking factor. Once rolled out, the algorithm change is expected to have a significant impact on search results; Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends team, was quoted at SMX Munich as saying that the new mobile-friendly algorithm change will have more of an impact on search rankings than either Panda or Penguin, two of its most impactful search algorithm updates Google has ever rolled out.
The algorithm change will be rolled out gradually worldwide starting on April 21st of this year. That gives you about 3 weeks to get your site updated before you start seeing the consequences.
The search giant seems to make near-constant updates to its search protocols. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this upcoming April 21st update is something like the last few we’ve seen—a data refresh or some small tweak that leads to almost imperceptible changes in search rankings for only a handful of businesses.
Unfortunately for currently non-optimized businesses, this doesn’t appear to be the case. With one of Google’s own recently explaining that this latest algorithm rollout is set to have a bigger impact than either Panda or Penguin, and considering Panda and Penguin are the biggest algorithm updates we’ve ever seen from Google, this new mobile update could completely change how we look at search.