Columbus Ohio SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Mobilegeddon is Here April 21—and it Affects More Than SEO Agencies

Is your site ready for Google’s newest crackdown?

Mobilegeddon hits tomorrow.

Google’s latest update to its search results algorithm is slated to be its biggest to date. The search giant recently announced, “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

This monumental change is in an effort to support the search engine’s No.1 goal: to help readers find the absolute best results, and to bury low-quality sites—whether on desktop or mobile.

Which begs the questions: Is your site mobile-friendly? What steps do you need to take to get Google’s mobile-friendly seal of approval?

What will the latest update do to SEO?

In a nutshell, mobile-friendly sites will get a boost, while sites with usability issues on mobile devices will see a significant and immediate drop in rankings. To be clear, as Moz noted, this mobile-friendly focus will not affect desktop rankings.

And since 80 percent of all online adults own a smartphone, and up to 50 percent of Google searches originate on a mobile device, it’s easy to see how the update’s effects will be felt across industries.

In an effort to do just that, even some of the Web’s most traffic-heavy sites will face the wrath of Google if they don’t get up to speed by tomorrow. Brands ranging from Nintendo to American Apparel to The Daily Mail aren’t up to snuff.

We ran a quick experiment using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test to check the mobile-friendliness of Cement Marketing—passing with flying colors—versus that of Windows Phone. You might be surprised by the results (below).

web-design-agency-mobile-website

What can you do to become mobile-friendly?

  1. Test your site. There are several ways to test your site’s mobile-friendliness:
    • Search on your mobile device to check if the “mobile-friendly” tag appears below your URL in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)
    • Use Google’s Mobile Friendly Test
    • Check your site in Google’s PageSpeed Insights test for a full rundown on issues that affect its search rankings
  2. Know what Google is looking for. Before you can find the solution, you need to know what the search engine gods want. Google considers your site eligible for the “mobile-friendly” tag in SERPS if it:
    • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
    • Uses text that is readable without zooming
    • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
    • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
  3. Nail down a solution. Once you’ve used Google’s Mobile Friendly Test and PageSpeed insights to get a clearer picture of where where your site falls short, it’s time to choose a fix. To be considered mobile friendly, your site must be configured in one of three ways:
    • Responsive Web design: Cement’s (and Google’s) configuration of choice, responsive design uses the same HTML and URL across devices and calls the correct rendering, whether it be to a desktop, iPad or Android, through CSS. We’ve been pushing for responsive Web design for some time.
    • Dynamic serving: Using the same URL but a different version of HTML to serve different device types.
    • Separate URLs: In this configuration, each desktop URL has an equivalent different URL serving mobile-optimized content.

(VentureBeat does an excellent job of detailing how to ensure Google recognizes your site as mobile-friendly via each configuration.)

If your site is built in a third party software like WordPress or Joomla, check Google’s how-to guide for third-party software in order to migrate your website hosted on a CMS (Content Management System) to use a mobile-friendly template.

What will Mobilegeddon mean for the future?

The impact of Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm cannot be overstated. Search Engine Land reported that Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji, who works in the Webmaster Trends team, said it will have more of an impact on Google’s search results than the previous Google Panda update and the Google Penguin update. So as the dominance of mobile searches continues to expand, the importance of fostering a seamless user experience across devices will not only keep you in Google’s good graces, but aso make you a crowd pleaser.

Does your site need a mobile-friendly refresh from a Columbus SEO agency?

Want to satisfy Google’s constant overhauls while also building something great for your audience? Cement Marketing is a Columbus SEO agency that does that and more. Get in touch with Alaina at alaina@cementmarketing.com or request a free online quote.