Google has done an extraordinary thing. For the first time ever, they’ve announced a change to their algorithm before they’ve implemented it. Usually they give vague hints or guidelines about what they have planned for future updates. In this instance, they’ve given website owners advance notice. Ignore it at the peril of your organic search engine rankings.
Arnie Kuenn discussed this on episode 28 of Brand Newsroom. The seasoned SEO expert warned that Google is expecting websites to be mobile friendly. If they’re not, they’ll experience a drop in search engine rankings that could be quite severe.
Is your website mobile friendly?
According to an article in Search Engine Land, the new algorithm will be implemented on 21 April and take about a week to roll out to all websites around the world. That gives you a couple weeks to make sure your website is mobile friendly. Google is very explicit about this change. You’re either mobile friendly or you’re not – there’s no in-between.
Test your website for mobile friendliness
You can find out if you’re facing impending trouble by taking a test provided by the Google Webmaster tools. It takes about 30 seconds to complete. You simply enter the URL of your website on the Mobile-Friendly Test. After a short analysis, you receive a report telling you you’re mobile friendly or you’re not.
Having a new or modern website is no guarantee it’s mobile friendly. Here’s an example of a website that doesn’t make the cut:
Why you can’t ignore Google
When Robert Rose appeared on Brand Newsroom, we spoke about how we’re all slaves to Google. If Google is unhappy with your website, you don’t appear in search engine rankings. Regardless of the quality and frequency of your content, if you don’t respect the way the Google algorithm works, it’s going to be difficult for a new audience to find you. With this upcoming change, even sites that have enjoyed good organic search rankings in the past will be penalised if they’re not mobile friendly.
What you should do
Test your website to find out if Google considers your site mobile friendly. (Don’t assume and don’t take anyone’s word for it.) If you don’t have access to the Google Webmaster Tools, contact your webmaster and ask them to test your website for you. If your site passes the test, you can breathe easy. If it doesn’t, don’t waste any time making the suggested changes. Once your site has been unranked or penalised, it can take several months to have your search rankings restored.
If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch.