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Get Prepared for Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update

Get Prepared for Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update
Google_Algorithm_Update_2015

On April 21, Google is changing their algorithm for mobile search. The new update will be placing a higher mobile search ranking on websites that are considered “mobile-friendly.”

This means that any websites that have had high search rankings in the past could lose their prominent rank if they are not optimized for mobile devices. The new update will affect all mobile searches in all languages worldwide. Google has said “Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

For companies that have been putting off making their websites responsive, now is the time to update and get your site mobile-friendly. Even if your site is responsive, it is still important to run the necessary mobile audits before April 21 to make sure you have no underlying errors that could affect your mobile search ranking. If you are unsure if your site is mobile-friendly and error free, here are a few free Google tools, you can use to find out.

Preparing for the update

We recommend testing your site’s different pages with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.  This test will analyze the page and let you know how the “Googlebot” views the page. It’ll let you know if the page is mobile-friendly or not.

If your page passes the test you’ll receive a message like this:

Google Mobile-Friendly Passing Results

Google's Mobile-Friendly Results

If your page does not pass the “Googlebots” test, Google will let you know what needs to be fixed, such as links being too close together, text too small or an overall problem with the site’s not responsiveness. Google will then offer the appropriate resources on how you can update your site and make it mobile-friendly. They also offer advice on the top common mistakes to avoid while making the mobile updates.

Google Not Mobile-Friendly Results

Google's Not Mobile-Friendly Results

Another tool to use is Google’s Webmaster Tools Mobile Usability report. Not only do you want to make sure your website is mobile-friendly, but you also want to make sure it does not have any errors for mobile users. This tool will let you know if there are any specific pages on your site that are causing usability problems for mobile users. This tool allows you to fix any page errors while improving the page’s search performance.

Final Thoughts

Because this is the first time Google has given a heads up on an algorithm change, we suggest everyone take advantage and prepare while there is still time. You don’t want to lose your prominent ranking or be penalized because your site isn’t responding to mobile devices. Finally, we recommend that you keep a close eye on your site’s ranking before and after April 21. It’s still unknown if the update will be delivered all at once or over a few weeks. Either way, you should treat that date like a deadline.

Lauren Henninger is the SEO and Social Media Specialist for The Deciding Factor. Lauren keeps busy by volunteering as a junior board member for Josh Cares and serves on the chapter advisory board for Kappa Delta Sorority at Miami University. In her spare time Lauren can be found at the airport traveling to a new city or front row at her favorite boy bands concert.