On April 21, Google officially updated its algorithm to start incorporating mobile-friendliness into its ranking factors. As we warned in our previous post, this moment marked a significant milestone in the world of digital marketing. Businesses that had been neglecting their websites were expected to begin finding themselves dropping in the search results rankings.
Several months later, many are left wondering what sort of impact this mobile-friendly update had on businesses. Was it as big of a deal as everyone expected? According to a recent study by Adobe, the answer is clear — it was a big deal.
The study found that traffic to non-mobile-friendly websites from Google mobile searches fell by 12% in the two months after the changes took effect on April 21.
Below is all of the information you need to understand Google’s update, assess your current situation and determine your next steps to ensure that you maintain your rankings.
The Importance of Mobile SEO
Do you know how much traffic your website gets from mobile devices? If you’re like most other businesses, you’ve seen a steady increase in mobile activity, possibly surpassing desktop traffic. For many businesses, mobile traffic is critical for their continued success.
This is why mobile SEO has become such an important component of any digital marketing strategy. Optimizing your website for mobile search involves much more than title tags and meta descriptions. Usability, design, content, links and local SEO all play a vital role in this optimization.
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update
The next step is to understand Google’s mobile-friendly update and it’s implications. Beginning on April 21, Google began using mobile-friendliness as as ranking signal. This means that if your website does not meet Google’s mobile requirements, it’s likely that your non-mobile pages will suffer a loss in rank and, as a result, suffer a decrease is search traffic.
This recent mobile-friendly algorithm update focuses on mobile usability. The primary factors include:
- Mobile-friendly design (preferably a responsive website).
- Touch elements that are spaced properly and a readable font size.
- Built in a way that allows Google to crawl your site.
- Reduced mobile page load and page speed times.
Determine Whether Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
The good news is that Google offers a mobile-friendly test. This tool is very easy to use. Simply provide your website address and click “analyze.” Google then provides you with a report that will help you identify anything that needs to be fixed.
It’s also a good idea to create a Google Search Console account (formerly called Google Webmaster Tools). This will provide you with a variety of free tools and reports about the health of your website, including a mobile usability report.