With Google's mobile-friendly algorithm update fast approaching you should be asking yourself -am I prepared? Google has been hinting towards the shift from desktop to mobile for some time. In fact, Google even rolled out a few subtle updates, such as adding a badge on the SERP that tells a user if the site is mobile friendly before they even get to the site. On April 21st, Google will start rolling out a big change to its algorithm geared specifically towards mobile-friendliness of a site.
To prepare advertisers and companies for this update, Google hosted a Google+ Webmaster Hangout last week dedicated to discussing the rollout. Two key takeaways from Google's Hangout are:
- Although the rollout officially starts on April 21st, it will not happen all at once. It can take up to a week for the new update to be fully rolled out.
- Your site cannot be partially mobile-friendly - it either is or it isn't.
I've had a plethora of companies ask whether their site is mobile friendly or not and for a few tips on what to do when converting a site to a mobile-friendly design. Here are a few of the points I typically cover:
How to tell if your site is mobile friendly?
There are two main ways to see whether your site is mobile friendly. The first and most full-proof way to check is by using a Mobile-Friendly Test Google tool (rolled out in November 2014) to evaluate mobile-friendly webpage capabilities. You can access the tool here. This tool will tell you if your site is mobile-friendly, show how the Googlebot views web pages, and give recommendations on next steps toward making your website mobile-friendly. Secondly, you could Google yourself on a smartphone to see if there is a gray "mobile-friendly" badge next to your site. If you see this, your site is confirmed as mobile-friendly; however, the badge may not show 100% of the time. If you don’t see the badge, cross-check using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool above.
What are common mistakes to avoid when converting your site to mobile-friendly?
There are a few mistakes we've seen people make when trying to convert their site to mobile-friendly. To help you avoid making these mistakes, I've compiled a list of some of the most common issues we've come across:
- Slow mobile pages
- Mobile-only 404s
- Fault redirects
- Unplayable content
This new update to Google’s algorithm clearly shows that the shift from Desktop to Mobile is here and real. Make sure that you adopt a good mobile strategy throughout all of your marketing campaigns and that your site is ready to go come April 21st. Check back in with us for more updates on changes in the industry.
by Corey Levine, Search Analyst