Mobilegeddon has officially arrived and otherwise strong webmasters are quaking in their flip-flops. So, is your website mobile-friendly? If you want the biggest search engine on the planet to help people find you among the millions of other sites, it had better be. If not now, soon.
In the often vague world of algorithm updates, there was nothing subtle about the quote issued from Google a couple of months ago. “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
Just to be clear. Google has never made this kind of announcement before changing its algorithm. Even though the search engine behemoth has been warning webmasters for years about the importance of mobile-friendly websites, it has never been this adamant or this direct. When this 800-pound search engine gorilla makes it a point to say a site’s mobile friendliness will “have a significant impact on search results,” there should be no doubt about what is about to happen.
10 Things We Know About Google’s Algorithm Change
If you are scrambling to deal with this fundamental change in search engine optimization, you might want to get the straight skinny from one of the top Googlers. Back in early March, Google’s webmaster trends analyst, Gary Illyes, pointed out a list of 10 factors to be aware of.
Responsive does not have a ranking benefit.
Because Google has been pushing responsive design as a way to handle mobile traffic, some people wondered if the only solution was to also use responsive because it could give a rankings boost. However, Illyes says they recommended it because it worked well for Google. He reiterated that responsive design does not have a ranking benefit.
Your site must unblock CSS & java script.
If you are blocking elements such as CSS and java script, your site will not pass Google’s mobile friendly test, even if everything else on the site passes. So you do need to allow Googlebot to crawl both CSS & java script to pass.
Mobile friendliness is page by page.
When determining if a page is mobile-friendly, Google bases this on a page-by-page case. Passing some pages, or even most pages, as mobile-friendly will not mean your entire site passes the check. All pages must be mobile-friendly.
There will be no specific tablet-only ranking factor.
According to Illyes, Google does not plan at this time to have anything specific for tablet rankings.
April 21st is the date. There’s no gradual roll-up.
To quote Illyes: “I will say April 21st is a very important day.” That means now.
There should be little delay between a site being mobile-friendly and this being reflected in search results.
Illyes said, “As soon as we discover it is mobile-friendly, on a URL by URL basis, it will be updated.”
This change will not affect desktop computers.
Illyes leaves himself some wiggle room when responding to searches on desktops. “To the best of my knowledge, it will not.”
Google will have a completely separate mobile index in the future.
He said Google already has plans for this and there is a team already working on it.
Google doesn’t need to see noscript if they can crawl it.
Many webmasters used noscript when java script was not executed for whatever reason. But Illyes says that Google still sees noscript, but cancels it out when they crawl the java script.
What about offsite resources that may block java script?
Because webmasters don’t always have control of offsite java script (ie. Google Analytics code) Google takes this into account. However, webmasters need to allow Googlebot to crawl java script and CSS on their website itself.
Change this significant is always disconcerting, especially if your livelihood depends on customers finding your goods and services on the Internet. Having a site which is mobile-friendly is more complicated than one might think. For example:
* Should you have a separate mobile site or responsive site, and what does this do to site resolutions?
* How does the process of linking vary in a mobile-only vs. responsive site?
* How do the sales conversions change with different types of mobile-friendly sites?
* What about future changes in the algorithm? If your site is mobile-friendly now, will it be six months from now?
Having a mobile-friendly website requires the assistance of experts in site design. Fortunately for you, we have some and we’re ready to assist. If we can help you get over Mobilegeddon, let us know.