You could see a decline in your rankings, if your website is not ready for Google's next update and optimized for mobile. The search engine giant's algorithmic change will go into place on April 21 and could catch a number of website owners by surprise, if they have not been paying attention to the news. In a rather uncharacteristic manner, Google issued a notice back in February announcing not only their plans to change their mobile algorithm, but also providing the precise launching date for the new algorithm.
With the goal of ensuring that results are as mobile-friendly as possible, the new algorithm change from Google comes in the wake of increasing mobile device usage. Although there is little time left remaining until the deadline and the new changes go into place, website owners who have not yet taken action still have time to do so and avoid possible penalties, including a drop in their rankings.
What to expect from Google's new mobile algorithm.
So, what do you need to know to ensure that your website is ready for Google's next rollout? The algorithm changes will focus on a number of key areas, including rewarding sites with text that can be read without the need to zoom and appropriately sized content that eliminates the need to scroll. Also playing an important role in the new algorithm changes are website designs with links that are spaced in a manner that helps users to avoid what has come to be known as the fat-finger syndrome. If you are not sure whether your website is up to par for Google's new algorithm changes, Google has released a Mobile Friendly Test that can help you to gauge how well your website will fare based on the upcoming changes.
To date, Google has not provided any indication regarding how significant the resulting changes from the new algorithm could be. Search Engine Land indicates that the mobile-friendly algorithm changes could result in more of an impact than either Panda or Penguin. Google, along with other search engines have begun to use more user signals, including location, as a means for providing users with more relevant results, a move which underscores the increasing popularity of mobile searches.
Now, more so than ever, website owners and marketers must be aware of how their webpages rank in terms of mobile results. Furthermore, it is increasingly vital for marketers to develop an understanding of the factors that drive higher mobile search engine results positions. Even more important, understand that the factors driving higher mobile results are not necessarily the same factors used to generate higher desktop results.
Steps you can take to boost your site's mobile friendliness.
The following steps will ensure that you are prepared:
- Review your site to make sure it is mobile friendly.
- Gauge whether the touch elements on your site, including buttons and links, are spaced away from other elements and are easy to use,
- Redirect mobile users on desktop URLs to the appropriate mobile URL, if you use separate URLs.
- Avoid cross links that are not relevant.
- If possible, avoid having your website rely on Flash, as it does not play well in mobile-specific browsers.
- Evaluate page load time.
A well-optimized mobile website can help you to achieve higher mobile search engine results rankings, while also making it easier for customers to locate the information they need about your business.