Google Mobile Algorithm Update

Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency
[email protected]


The time of the mobilegeddon is upon us. Google officially updated their mobile algorithm on April 21st to help mobile users find the best search results on smartphones and tablets. The bigger question is how can website owners keep up with this new part of the search equation.
Now, more than ever mobile search matters. That means that any company that wants to be found on Google needs to have a mobile-friendly website. Otherwise, you might be missing out on some serious traffic.
However, all is not lost. In this article we want to discuss some of the most important aspects of the new mobile-friendly algorithm changes. While the changes to the algorithm have already occurred, you can still update your site before you lose too much traffic.

Understanding Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Change

The mobile-friendly algorithm update is one of the largest shifts in Google’s history.
If you remember the Panda and Penguin changes that happened about 3 years ago affected 3% and 12% of users respectively for what Google considered spammy search tactics. The current Mobile-Friendly update dwarfs those changes. Furthermore, the changes to algorithm only influence the 10 blue organic links that are the core of Google search. These changes do not matter as of yet to Google Image, Map, News, or Local search.
This is important, because a lot of search goes through the other search properties on Google. Furthermore, Google specifically stated the update is judged on a page by page basis.
Here are the only parts of your search traffic that in Googles words:

  • Affects only search rankings on mobile devices
  • Affects search results in all languages globally
  • Applies to individual pages, not entire websites

A good point to remember is that this shift does not affect a websites desktop traffic. For those sites that still get the majority of their traffic from desktop users then, this is a major win.
On the flip side, keep in mind that Google evaluates mobile-friendly status on a page by page basis. Therefore, it is entirely possible to have a site that has 5 optimized pages and 5 non-optimized pages. The former are more likely to receive mobile traffic.

How to Check your Website Compatibility

The best way to test your site’s compatibility is to use the Mobile Friendly Tool that Google launched a few months ago when they told webmasters they expected mobile friendly sites. If you have a mobile-friendly site, but Google is not showing this in their test, then keep in mind a few items that might be influencing the test.
For example, sometimes your CSS or Javascript code might block the Googlebot on your smartphone from indexing your site. The test might be able to show this. Have your web developer allow the Googlebot crawl your mobile files. Then use the Fetch as Google to re-submit the index and robots.txt file to Google Webmaster. This can expedite the process.

Keep an Eye on your Google Mobile Traffic

Additionally, there might not be a magic switch that comes on April 22nd to see if your site take a precipitous rise or fall. It will take a few days or weeks for the update to rollout. The big question now that mobilegeddon day has come and gone is what do you do if your site is not ready yet for mobile traffic?
The good news is that you do not have to wait for a Google update before your site gets indexed.
Instead, you just have to re-submit your for the Googlebot “naturally (re-)crawl and index the page or you can expedite processing by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index in Webmaster Tools.” If that makes no sense to you, or you feel it might be too much work, then give us a Shout! We have been busy round the clock helping numerous companies stay on top of Google’s mobile updates.
In the meantime, remember that your site is still indexed. Mobile is one part of the vast algorithm that Google uses to determine your search rankings. That means you still need to update your site regularly with killer content and make sure your site is up to date to get the best search results. Having a mobile site is not the end-all, be-all. It is one part of a larger whole.
That being said, if you have an audience that checks your site regularly on their mobile devices it is time to consider updating your website. By checking your Google Analytics, you can determine what percentage of your site’s traffic comes through mobile websites.

Final Thoughts

As we stated at the beginning, this is one of the biggest shifts in Google’s history. When the search giant started over 15 years ago, virtually all searches were done on desktop computers. Now, with the advancement of mobile technology we can search, browse, and view virtually any information wherever we are on the planet. To accommodate a new mobile savvy consumer, Google needed to have mobile savvy websites to show to their consumers.
If you have any questions about how you can claim your share of the mobile traffic, then let us know by giving us at Shout. We can let you know what you need to do in regards to the Google mobile algorithm.

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