You have probably been receiving emails from web marketers shouting “Beware a belated Ides of March, or April 21st!”
On that date, Google’s latest Algorithms of the Apocalypse will be unleashed to wreak havoc on websites which are not mobile friendly.
Enough of the hype. However Google’s recent announcement about including a site’s mobile friendliness in its ranking algorithms from late April has really kicked the marketing ‘hornets nest’.
Google have never pre-announced such algorithm updates before, and clearly decided to use this opportunity to actively encourage site owners to upgrade their sites.
Unfortunately it has triggered a swarm of hype and misleading techie marketing information.
So here’s some clarity. From April 21st:
1. For searches undertaken from a mobile device (only), when all other factors are equal, a mobile friendly web page is likely to rank higher.
2. But all other factors are never equal (there are over 200 ranking factors used by Google).
3. And Google has not specified what ‘higher’ means. One place, 5 places, …..?
4. Also Google has been penalising sites which provide a bad mobile search experience since mid 2013, as well as highlighting mobile friendly ones in the mobile search results!!!
What is actually new is that mobile friendliness will now be assessed worldwide by Google at an individual page level in real time.
- worldwide – unlike many updates, it is not being rolled out country by country.
- individual page level – this is good news as it means unfriendly sections will not cause your whole site to be penalised.
- real time – again this is good news. It means as soon as you improve the friendliness of a page, you will see the benefit the next time Googlebot visits it.
The real impact of the update will only be known after the dust has settled on April 21st. Before then, through your Google Analytics account, you can check how much of your organic search traffic comes from mobile devices and so potentially affected.
BUT REMEMBER – SEARCH RANKING IS NOT THE PRIMARY REASON WHY YOU NEED A MOBILE FRIENDLY SITE!
It should be to significantly improve the overall user experience of your site visitors using mobile devices, so that they find it easier to navigate, to find the content they need and to make contact with the relevant team.
And to be wowed by your product or service!!
Your objective is to raise conversion rates, with improved Google visibility as a by-product.