Today, the web enters “Mobilegeddon” as Google rolls out its mobile-friendly update. Are you prepared?
Earlier this year, Google announced that it would change its search algorithms on April 21 to accommodate the growing number of mobile users accessing the Internet by boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages in mobile search results. With mobile making up more than half of all Google searches, this new update could negatively affect more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies.
Aimed to help mobile users find relevant, quality content optimized for their mobile devices, today’s update will affect mobile search results in all languages and only applies to individual pages. Google provided the following criteria for how mobile pages are ranked:
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
- Uses text that is readable without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
With the number of smartphone users estimated to exceed two billion by 2016, according to eMarketer, and the increasing level of reliance that companies have on Google’s search results to send traffic to their websites, companies without mobile-friendly pages may see a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google searches. Hence the nickname, “Mobilegeddon.”
Taking heed of the potential and drastic impact that Mobilegeddon could have, Google gave the masses a warning back in February along with a how-to guide on mobile-friendly sites and a “Mobile-Friendly Test” that can be used to check individual pages.
“While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query,” said Google in an official release today.
For more information on making a mobile-friendly site, you can check out Google’s guide. If you would like to test individual pages, check out the “Mobile-Friendly Test” or the use the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools for entire websites.