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Google gives mobile-friendly sites a boost

Google hasn’t given it a name yet but its latest algorithm update, launched on April 21, is potentially one of the most significant yet. Previous updates such as Panda and Penguin have both had a big impact on the way websites are ranked in Google’s search results, now the latest change will focus specifically on judging mobile rankings based on a site’s mobile-friendliness.

Adapting to a mobile world
The way Google ranks websites is based on many factors including the quality of a site’s content, how many inbound links it has, and how user-friendly it is. Now the responsiveness of a website and how well it displays on mobile devices will be added to that list.

Sceptics might say that the upcoming boost for more responsive sites is unfair to larger and well-established websites that have a lot of content and a layout which isn’t easily tailored to a mobile screen. However, studies indicate that mobile browsing has already overtaken desktop, in the US at least, so whichever way you look at it a lot of your users won’t be having an optimal experience if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site.

 

Why you shouldn’t panic

Although there’s little doubt a big change is coming according to Google’s official post on the subject it’s not quite the apocalyptic scenario that many are predicting. It just means that it’s going to be expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.

There’s no mention in Google’s article of the word ‘penalize’ and it would appear that the worst case scenario would be a site falling behind one which is more mobile friendly in the rankings, it doesn’t mean that sites which aren’t mobile-friendly are going to disappear from Google.

 

What you can do

If you’re not sure whether your site is mobile-friendly or not Google offers a test that shows key areas where your site could be improved for mobile. A more detailed analysis can be found by running the PageSpeed Insights test that will highlight the individual elements which need attention. If your site doesn’t pass the test it doesn’t mean you’re going to be immediately losing out, but it does mean you’ll need to be mindful about mobile when considering any future website updates.

If you have any questions about how the update might affect your business, or about how mobile-friendly your site is, get in touch with one of our SEO experts and make sure your site doesn’t fall behind the competition.

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