Google’s Mobile Algorithm Update

Robin Bush

Robin Bush

May 5, 2015

4 mins read

Leading up to today (April 21, 2015) you may have seen SEOs referring to Google’s latest update as ‘Mobilegeddon’. In short, Google’s latest update – released today – will push mobile friendly websites higher up in mobile Google searches only.

Although this update is significant, and should in no way be ignored, referring to it as ‘Mobilegeddon’ and other apocalypse type terms is a huge scare mongering tactic most probably thought up by website developers wanting to earn some new business.

One aspect of this update which isn’t being stressed enough to website owners feeling panicked prior to this update is that it will only effect search results on a mobile, not search via desktop or tablet.

Why is Google doing this update?

It’s quite simple really, Google’s company mission statement is “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” and Google’s users (us lot) are not happy using unresponsive websites on mobile. Whether a site’s text is too small, the CTA’s are too small or the styling renders awfully – currently the web is not perfect for all users on mobile.

Interestingly, 61% of mobile users said they were unlikely to return to a mobile site that they had trouble with and 40% said they would use a competitor’s mobile friendly site instead.

So, in accordance with Google’s mission statement, this update is further organising the world’s information in a way that is better for mobile devices and users.

How do I check if I have a mobile friendly website?

Google has made checking whether or not your website is mobile friendly very easy for us SEOs and webmasters. To check simply Google search your company on your mobile phone, if you have the ‘Mobile Friendly’ tag within the rich snippet, then you are all good and ready. However that doesn’t necessarily mean your mobile website is completely optimised for users.

So what makes my site ‘mobile friendly’?

We recommend that you make changes to your site to make it mobile friendly, but equally, this change is not a change that will happen overnight. I’ve come up with a bullet point list of some the important factors that come together to build a ‘mobile friendly’ website.

  • Does your website fit on a phone screen? – you shouldn’t have to scroll from side to side or zoom in or out.
  • Is the text size readable?
  • Are your links and buttons big enough to click with a finger? – Tap targets
  • Is your primary content not in Flash?
  • Is your site loading fast on a phone? – page-speed is an important ranking factor
  • Have you made sure your css and javascript files are not bing blocked by your robots.txt file?– Google needs to see and understand your site.

Helpful tools that can identify mobile usability issues

Google webmaster tools

  • Mobile Usabilityidentifies any errors your site has for a mobile.
  • Fetch and render – View your site how Googlebot-Mobile indexes it.

Page Speed Insights – how can you improve the loading speed of your website? Really useful tool. Screaming Frog SEO Spider – You can actually use screaming frog to crawl your site using Googlebot-Mobile in order to see how Goggle is understanding the pages on your site. For those unfamiliar with Screaming Frog – get it now, it’s fantastically versatile and one of our primary crawling tools.

Still confused?

If you are still unsure what you should be doing to make your website mobile friendly, give us a call for a bespoke strategy to help you take advantage of ‘Mobilegeddon’. Instead of dreading this update, see it as an opportunity to exploit.

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