What is the "mobile-friendly" update

If you have been following anything regarding SEO and Google lately, you have likely heard the term "Mobilegeddon".  This refers to the  announcement GoogleGoogle made in February of this year that the mobile ranking algorithm Google uses would now include mobile usability factors to consider the ranking.  This means that if your site was not considered "mobile-friendly" according to Googles usability factors, your mobile rankings could drop in favor of sites that are mobile friendly.  While you may say that only effects part of the searches done online, Google has recently said that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.”  This means that your rankings could drop for more than 50% of all searches done in your industry. 

Google is typically quite about algorithm changes, but this announcement was made with such gusto that it caught people’s attention.  While it didn't make as big of an impact as Penguin or Panda at this time, this update has potential to influence rankings in the future as mobile usage becomes bigger.

Google isn't the only one

While Google commands a large share of search traffic, Bing (which powers both Bing and Yahoo) has  announced today that like Google, they will be updating their mobile ranking algorithm to favor mobile-friendly sites.  Thought there are few details about implementation dates, Bing has stated that this is not be a "Mobilegeddon", and that it will roll out over the next few months with communication to webmasters and tools to check your website. 

Learning from Google, and being the underdog in search, should provide a better experience with less fear for website developers. 

Why It Matters

You may have never heard of these updates, and you might not have seen any difference in your rankings, so you may ask yourself "why do I care?"  With all search engine questions like this, there is one answer I can give that, while not particularly unique, gives the best reason I can think of: Because Google and Bing said it is important.  Google has always said to adhere to best practices, and you should avoid any penalties.  With this update, Google has simply changed some definitions of best practices.  

When Google created the Panada update, it penalized sites with issues in content (duplicate content, keyword stuffing, etc...)  When Google introduced a Penguin update, it penalized sites with bad, spammy, or irrelevant links.  Whether you were actively managing your site at that time, your website was affected by those updates.  For those who used duplicate content and had a lot of bad links, your site got hit hard, and it can take months to get rid of those penalties.  Though the "mobile-friendly" update may not seem like a big deal now, it will definitely become more important as they refine and update these algorithm changes. 

Fix it now

While you may be penalized with this update, it is not too late to fix the problem.  This update will release any penalties once Google Bot has crawled your site and determined that it is mobile friendly.  If you were hurt by this penalty, or if you don't know how it affects your site, you can always test your site here to see if it passes. You should also look at Google webmaster tools to see if you have any notifications or updates.

If you have any questions, or need help in updating your site for the new update, contact us for more information and a free consultation.