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Update to Google's Mobile-Friendly Algorithm

Back in April 2015, Google rolled out their mobile-friendly algorithm. This meant that searches from mobile devices resulted in mobile-friendly website pages ranking higher than their non-mobile-friendly cousins.

Google have announced that, this month, they are updating this algorithm to further boost its effects. So, if your website is not mobile friendly, your Google ranking may drop even further.

In other words, as far as Google are concerned (and less face it, that makes it everyone's concern), it's even more important to be mobile-friendly.

Try Google's mobile-friendly tool to see how you stack up. 

A recap of the original algorithm update:

  • Which Google searches are affected?
    This algorithm, and this months' update, are only relevant to searches from mobile devices. Desktop and tablet searches are unaffected.

  • How are mobile searches affected?
    A rankings boost is given to mobile friendly websites, meaning that those websites not mobile friendly are likely to drop in ranking over time.

  • My website is not currently mobile friendly. How quickly should I expect to see the rankings drop?
    This update is likely to roll out gradually. The algorithm is a page-by-page signal so may take some time to update.

  • What if I get mobile-friendly now? How long will the change take to come into effect?
    This is a “real-time” update, meaning every time your site is crawled and indexed by Google, the update will be made. This is good news if you haven’t already become mobile-friendly. If you'd like to see when Google last crawled your site, enter the following into the address bar of your browser: cache:www.yoururl.  For example, Terabyte would enter cache:www.terabyte.co.nz

  • What about my Adwords campaigns?
    No need to worry - this update will only affect organic listings.

  • What do I need to do to become mobile-friendly?
    There are two options: mobile and responsive design. Mobile requires a different domain name (e.g. m.abc.com) where a responsive site uses the same url. Whilst a responsive site will always adapt to the device on which it is viewed, mobile sites will require updating as technologies change, making responsive design a one-off investment.

Of course, "mobile-friendliness" is just one of the factors for Google's ranking algorithm. This very colourful pie chart illustrates where it sits alongside the other determining factors:

graphforgoogleblog
Reference Evan Bailyn ©2016

Here are Google’s best practices for helping them find, crawl and index your website.

Last year, Google confirmed that more searches are now being conducted on mobile devices than on desktop, which has galvanised many - but not all - website owners to ensure their sites are mobile-friendly. The demand for mobile-friendly websites is here to stay! 

Feel free to contact us if you have any concerns or questions.