On April 21, 2015, Google released a new algorithm update. Whenever it does this, website rankings get reshuffled as some long-held SEO practices either stop working or actively start hurting website rankings. Google’s recent mobile-ready release focuses on rewarding websites that are friendly and visible to mobile devices—and will improve searchers’ ability to get the search results they want on those devices.
To searchers, this is crucial. More and more people use their mobile devices to browse the web. When they do, they expect the websites they find to be easy to read and navigate on those devices. Google is following search trends, and its new release is designed to provide a better experience to searchers and encourage webmasters to build sites that are compatible with all devices.
But what does Google consider “mobile-ready”? Fortunately, there’s an easy way to answer that question. Check out Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/—just enter your URL, and the tool will tell you how mobile-friendly your site is. If it already does well, you might not need to make changes.
A few things to know about this update include:
It’s a page-level change. That means that if part of your website is mobile friendly and part isn’t, only the parts that are mobile-friendly will do well with the new algorithm. The rest of your site won’t see its rankings rise just because some of its pages are mobile-friendly. The Mobile-Friendly Test ranks individual pages; but you can also use the Mobile Usability Report https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-usability?pli=1&authuser=1 to gauge the mobile-readiness of your entire site.
Desktop search won’t be affected. This algorithm won’t affect how your websites rank on laptop and desktop searches. It’s just for mobile devices.
If you didn’t make the April 21 deadline, don’t worry. Google periodically crawls and indexes your website—so if you make the changes later, it will notice. You can specifically request a recrawl by using Google’s Fetch tool https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6065812.
Your links won’t impact your ranking. Don’t worry about what other people’s websites are doing. If you link to a website that’s not mobile-friendly, it will have no effect on your ranking.
It will take about a week for your site’s rankings to change if it isn’t already mobile-friendly. So keep an eye out and see how you’ve been impacted. If your designer already made your site mobile-ready, don’t worry—but don’t assume your audience mostly searches via desktop or laptop, either. Chances are, more of your audience is using mobile devices to browse your site than you realize—and you’ll want to be prepared.