Is your website optimised for the use of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets? If yes, then you can soon be pleased with additional Google-Traffic. This is because, the search engine giant is serious on the topic mobile optimisation. So far this was simply a recommendation for a better search engine ranking, but from the 21st of April is obligatory. Against its usual habits, Google announced an algorithm update for this date (instead of just doing it as usual). This shows how important this topic is for Google.
After the update, mobile optimised websites will be preferred on the mobile Google search. This means that the (mobile) user-friendliness of a website will have a greater influence on the ranking of mobile search queries than before. All webpages that did not comply with the megatrend “mobile internet” will fall significantly lower in the rankings.
Basically, this step does not come as a surprise. Already five years ago, Eric Schmidt, from Google, proclaimed the, at that time, new pre-condition for Google, i.e. “Mobile First”. Behind the new paradigm was the strategy of optimising every new product development for mobile usage first. Schmidt knew already five years ago that the future of the Internet would be mobile. By now, there are many pages receiving most of their traffic from mobile devices. It can be expected that mobile internet traffic will cause a much higher volume than notebooks or desktop PCs by the end of this year.
It was only a matter of time until Google would employ the strategy applied to the development of its own products also for the design of Google search results.
The criteria of mobile updates
On the 21st of April, Google will introduce the algorithm update under three criteria concerning the “mobile fitness” of a website: “either, or”, “page per page” and “mobile search only”.
“Either, or” refers to the idea that either a website is mobile-friendly… or not. It cannot be mobile-friendly just a little. There are no grades or gradual differences, only yes or no. “Page per page” says that changes in the rankings will be made for every single page of a website. This means that if a part of a website has not yet been mobile optimised, only this part will be ranked badly. On the other hand, the single pages that have already been optimised for mobile will be positioned better, independently from the rest of the page. “Mobile search only” means that all ranking changes, which will be introduced on the 21st of April, will apply only to Google search queries on mobile devices. Rankings on desktop versions of Google will not be influenced directly.
What does it mean “suitable for mobile”?
Google offers a large number of tools and notification functions to test the mobile suitability of a page. Particularly reliable is the test on optimisation for mobile devices. At https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ you can test whether a page is affected by upcoming mobile updates or not. “Not optimised for mobile devices” will downgrade the page in the mobile rankings, with the result “wonderful! This page is optimised for mobile devices” your page will profit from updates.
A further piece of advice, check the indication “for mobile devices” in the mobile search results. With this, you simply carry out a search on a mobile device. In the search results stemming from optimised pages you see the indication “for mobile devices” as grey text. If this is missing, it means that from the 21st of April the page will have a problem. If you need to carry out a mobile check for your page, including concrete recommended course of action, contact us.