Major changes are coming soon to Google’s ranking algorithms.

Mobile-friendliness will now be a major ranking factor in the search results. The move is unsurprising as more users use mobile devices to connect online. Which is why Google is shifting its algorithms to adapt to these usage patterns for even higher quality results.

The company made the following announcement in its official Webmaster blog:

“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. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

The digital landscape is a vital foundation with the Internet connecting the pieces together.

Mobile has increasingly become an invaluable tool for everything from accessing content to communicating on social networks. Businesses must learn to adapt to stay competitive. And even more so now that mobile usage exceeds PC usage:

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A site that isn’t mobile-friendly does more than affect your rankings.

It also affects your bottom line.

A study from Google surveying smartphone users found that 67% were more likely to make a transaction on a mobile-friendly site. In contrast, 61% were more likely to leave if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away.

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Mobile needs to be a priority for your business if it isn’t already. Here we outline steps to take to ensure your site meets all mobile requirements by the deadline.

  1. Take the Mobile-Friendly Test

Google provides a helpful tool to check your site. Simply enter your URL. If your site meets all mobile requirements, you’ll see the following:

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But if it doesn’t, you’ll see this instead:

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In this case, the next step is to implement a mobile-friendly design.

  1. Implement Responsive Design

One solution is to create a separate mobile site. But this brings up a number of issues particularly with duplicate content and link building as there are two sites. The answer is with responsive design which is Google’s recommended configuration.

Responsive design consists of a flexible layout that dynamically changes to provide an optimal browsing experience across all devices. Whether a user is on a smartphone or desktop, the site accommodates all screen resolutions. Having a single URL is highly beneficial from an SEO standpoint.

If you know which CMS your site uses (e.g., WordPress, Joomla, etc.), there are dedicated guides available to help you make the switch. But this requires familiarity with your CMS and technical expertise. Another alternative is to work with a professional developer.

  1. Double Check All Requirements

Part of Google’s global rollout is the “mobile-friendly” label in the search results:

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This helps mobile users easily distinguish which site is compatible with their device. Ensure your site meets the following criteria:

  • Content: Content should be appropriately sized to the screen without having to scroll horizontally on the page. This also means that text should be readable without zooming.
  • Links: Links that are too close together make it difficult for mobile users to tap on the right one. Ensure that links are placed far enough apart so the right one can be easily tapped.
  • Software: Avoid using software that is not accessible on mobile devices. Flash is one such example that should be avoided as it is simply not common.

After taking these steps, run the site again through the mobile-friendly test. If your site meets all mobile requirements, you won’t have to do anything else for the April 21 algorithm change.

Conclusion

Google is making a major change to its algorithm to include mobile-friendliness.

In an effort to deliver better results, sites that don’t meet the mobile requirements will have their rankings lowered. The key takeaway from the announcement is to ensure your site is mobile-friendly by April 21. Otherwise you risk losing rankings for your site in the search results.

Use the mobile-friendly test provided by Google. If your site doesn’t meet the requirements, then you have some work ahead of you. Responsive design is the recommend configuration as the layout dynamically changes across all devices from smartphones to tablets and desktops.

Is your site mobile-friendly?

Our professional developers ensure that your site meets all the mobile requirements by the April 21 deadline. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our team.