What You Need to Know about Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update

google mobile search

Starting April 21st, Google will implement an update to increase the importance of a website’s mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.  In layman’s terms, how well your website works on mobile devices will ‘have a significant impact’ on how highly you rank on Google.  The aim of the Mobile-Friendly update, according to the search giant, is to make it easier for users to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimised for their devices.

What does Google consider mobile-friendly?

To determine if your page is mobile-friendly, Googlebots scan it for the following criteria:

  • Content automatically adapts to the screen of the mobile device (also commonly known as responsive web design)
  • Text should be legible without users having to zoom in
  • Avoidance of software that is uncommon for mobile e.g. Flash
  • Links are spaced out so that users can easily tap the correct one

How to tell if your website is mobile-friendly

Google has several free tools that you can use to determine if your website has been optimised for mobile:

  • Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test – Enter your site URL for a quick analysis.  As you can see, the Netinspire website has passed the test.
    Google Mobile Friendly Test Netinspire
  • Check your Mobile Usability Report – If you are have a Google Webmaster Tools account, log in and check your Mobile Usability Report, which should provide a full list of your website’s mobile usability issues.

What if my website is not mobile-friendly?

Google has made it clear that the change on April 21st will ‘have a significant impact in (their) search results’.  There were several posts on the Webmaster Central blog providing advance notice of the impending update so there would be sufficient time to make the necessary changes.

What if my site is not mobile-friendly but I do not make any changes to it?

If your website does not pass Google’s mobile-friendly test and you choose not to make the necessary improvements, you risk losing your rank position.  And if you’ve devoted time and money to increasing your Google rank in the first place, that means your efforts would have been a waste.

How do I make my website mobile-friendly?

If you are a web developer, you could attempt to tackle the site upgrade by yourself following Google’s many guides, such as this page on the fundamentals.  Alternatively you could work with a developer to build you a mobile-friendly site.  Moz has written an informative article on salient points to note with Google’s mobile-friendly update.

For more information on making your website mobile-friendly, visit the Netinspire site or give us a call on 01782 524600.

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