In April 2015, Google launched the “mobile-friendly update” to its search engine ranking algorithm. Now, how your website renders on mobile devices can affect your search engine rankings. But what does this update actually mean for your website? We answer your questions below.
Can it hurt my search engine rankings on non-mobile devices?
No. The update only affects mobile search results. Also, it only applies to individual pages, not entire websites. Says Google, April 21st’s mobile-friendly update boosts mobile search rankings for pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices.
Does it only apply to English websites?
No. The mobile-friendly update affects search results in all languages and all locations.
Is it worth it to change up my entire website to make it more mobile-friendly?
In a word, yes. Although Google assures webmasters that quality content is still the most important search signal for search engine rankings, a growing number of people are accessing the internet on their mobile devices — roughly 35 percent. This means that if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you will miss out on a lot of traffic.
How can I measure how mobile-friendly my site is?
It’s easy! Test individual pages of your site using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Or, check your entire site using the Mobile Usability report in Google Webmaster Tools.
How do I make my site more mobile-friendly?
Google recommends using something called “responsive design” to make your website more mobile-friendly. This means that, rather than having a separate mobile website, your website is designed to look good no matter how someone accesses it (on their PC, on their tablet or smartphone, etc.).
Here are a few basic criteria for responsive design:
• Avoid any content that requires Adobe’s Flash Player.
• Make the site readable without zooming in.
• Make sure content doesn’t require horizontal scrolling (page should scale to fit mobile screens).
• Place links far enough apart so that people can easily tap without hitting the wrong link.
Find more tips in Google’s mobile-friendly websites guide.
I’ve made some changes to make my site more mobile-friendly. What now?
Once your site becomes mobile-friendly, Google will automatically re-process (crawl and index) your pages. Google also says: You can also expedite the process by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index, and then your pages can be treated as mobile-friendly in ranking.
Want more info on this Google update? Peruse Google’s official FAQ page for the mobile-friendly update. Also, be sure to check out our previous blog post on mobile-friendly sites: The Growing Need for a Mobile-Friendly Website.