The “mobile first” movement is getting a major boost. Google announced on its webmaster blog that, on April 21, it will be expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.
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.
What Does It All Mean?
Google’s changes will have significant impact on your website’s mobile search rankings. If your website is mobile friendly, expect to see an improvement. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you can expect to see a drop in rankings.
In other words, the announcement means that if your website is not mobile friendly – as in, works as well on a mobile device as on a full screen – your rankings are about to suffer the consequences.
Does Your Website Pass The Test?
According to Google, a web page is eligible for the mobile-friendly label if it meets the following criteria, as detected by Google’s web crawler:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so consumers do not have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
Here’s what you can do about the new changes:
- Read Google’s guide to mobile-friendly sites
- Test your website’s responsiveness on Google’s mobile-friendly test
- Log into Google Webmaster Tools and get a list of mobile usability issues across your website using the Mobile Usability Report.
Google’s mobile-friendly test not only tells how well your site was designed for mobile, but if it is not mobile friendly, it describes the reasons why and how you can fix these issues.
What About Mobile Apps?
Google also recently announced it would take app indexing into account in search results. The company says mobile search will now display more information from applications that have been indexed by the search engine to users who have the application installed and are signed-in to Google at the time. The app indexing process already started earlier this year, but it is unclear when the change will take place on searches by non-signed in users.
Google published a guide for developers on how to ensure their apps get indexed.
Do you need help with your mobile-responsive website redesign? Maybe you have a website that just isn’t performing as a business tool and you want it to be. Then you surely have some questions about how this whole thing works and what options are available to you. We can answer any questions you may have, so leave a comment below or contact us directly and we would be happy to help.