On April 21st Google mobile friendly update will come into force. Will it affect website rankings only on mobile devices or involve desktop as well? Read more to understand what you need to be aware of to get ready for the latest algorithm update.
The major Google algorithm update, which revolves around mobile friendly websites, is about to be released. Even though Google has stated it won’t affect Desktop devices, we can’t help but wonder whether this will be the case – at least in the long run. Ranking factors are plenty and even if the majority of your visitors come from desktops, you could still see changes in SERPs.
Those who remember Panda and Penguin know how even large established sites got caught in a loop – causing them to be penalised. This could well be the case with mobile friendly changes. They said it will be bigger than Panda and Penguin, and we know how much pain those caused in the last couple of years.
How much will this update affect my mobile rankings
All websites get at least some mobile traffic – and this is increasing – with data showing that mobile visits will outstrip desktop by the end of 2015. Some see a small percentage of all visitors coming from mobile devices, while others have a significant proportion. Furthermore conversion rates on mobile can be higher and that’s what matters the most.
To see how much the latest update will affect your mobile rankings, you’d need to do some calculations. For instance people might be looking at your pages while on their phones and then go on the PC to do the purchase. You should also have a look at how high your pages rank on Desktop vs. Mobile devices.
We have seen sites ranking high for certain search terms on mobiles, with lower conversion rate.
Although, after further research, it proved that most people who landed on pages while browsing on their phones have returned later and converted by using Desktop devices.
If you’re getting a lot of visitors then you should consider optimising pages for a better user experience as soon as possible.
How can you prepare for Mobile Friendly Update?
The first option is to have a responsive template for a website. This makes sure that pages are displayed based on a screen size. Works magic even for different Desktop screens. Well that’s the first step, and it’s never easy. Google actually recommends this method as it improves user experience on all devices, saves resources and time needed to optimise the design.
A few other things to consider before 21st of April:
Next thing to do is to configure the Viewport so the browser knows how to adjust the content on user’s screen. You can do so by adding the meta tag for a viewport – meta name=”viewport”.
Text size matters. If the font is too small or too large, Google will see your pages as not mobile-friendly.
Similar goes for links. People do not click on mobile devices, they tap the screen. If links and other clickable elements are too close to each other, the user might open a different link then intended.
Content of each page should fit on the screen. If not, then the page will get a lower score.
Many other factors, which might seem as less important, will count towards mobile-friendliness. You can test whether your pages are mobile friendly here.
The Website Speed
Page Speed loading time has been an important ranking factor for few years, and it will become even more so once the algorithm update hits the digital world. There are various things that count towards page speed loading time and the best way to test your pages is to use Google’s own PageSpeed tool.
Good news is that even if you aren’t ready for 21st of April, you can get your site up-to-date when you get a chance. Apparently, once the algorithm has been updated, once a page has been modified it will be crawled and its score will update on a real-time basis. It will also be per page score, so it’s claimed that it won’t affect the site as a whole.
We can’t completely support this assertion as we know how Domain Authority boosts ranking for each page. Also, knowing how most people use mobiles to check their social networks’ profiles, which counts towards ranking score, it’s hard to believe this update won’t affect Desktop at all.
Whichever way you look at it, Google wants to stay competitive on all platforms, and we know they’re not dominant on mobiles. With an upcoming update, Google will attempt to gain a bigger share. They’re trying to make mobile browsing experience more user-friendly. It will be their biggest update and we expect a lot of sites to lose on rankings.
The update will affect pages and apps. Search Engines are evolving, and we try to keep the [pace with constant changes they throw at us. We wonder what animal this release will be named after. Hopefully not another bird that will poop all over the online world. We will test and report results.
If you need help or would like an audit of your website please Contact us and Pull's Digital team will be happy to help.