Will Google’s Mobile-friendly Deadline Affect Your SEO?

Mobile-friendliness may effect your search rank

Posted on March 23, 2015

Your Search Rank May See a Significant Change Soon

At the end of February, Google posted on their blog, “we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” In other words, websites that aren’t mobile-enabled or responsive by April 21st, 2015 will start to lose rank in Google’s search results. If Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an important element to your digital marketing strategy, then this post is a must-read for you.

No one is guessing whether or not this change to Google Search will have a significant effect on search results. Google says in plain English that it will.

“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.

– Takaki Makino, Chaesang Jung, and Doantam Phan of Google

Google is providing direction for Mobile-friendliness

What exactly does ‘mobile-friendly’ mean? Google has published a website providing clear definitions and guidance for designers and developers on what ‘mobile-friendliness’ means to their Search service. This is surely the first-time Google has offered comprehensive direction on a pre-released algorithmic change to Google Search.

Good News for WordPress-powered Websites

If your website currently employs WordPress in the core, then satisfying Google’s mobile-friendly requirements may be somewhat painless. There are many WordPress mobile-friendly themes that can replace your current theme, and WordPress themes are relatively easy to set up. The only caveat with switching themes is that the existing website content will need re-tailoring for a proper fit to the new theme’s design. From my experience with changing themes, 60-80% of the content will easily transfer over. The remaining 20-40% will need to be created anew. Unfortunately, if you’re not already employing WordPress, the mobile compliance process may be a much more painfully expensive experience.

Google’s Mobile-friendly Website Test

Do you know if your website is mobile-friendly? Your website may already be mobile-enabled and you may not know it; or alternatively, you may believe it’s mobile-friendly and Google does not. To find out, Google has set up a Mobile-friendly web page for you to test your website. Once at this page, just type in your site’s domain and Google will provide an analysis of your homepage – the analysis does take a minute to process. If Google says your homepage passes, that’s good news (however, you may still need to test other legacy pages if your website has a disparate structure across sub-domains and sub-directories). If you receive a message saying ‘Not mobile-friendly’ in red, then it’s time to act and get the site corrected. Whether your website passes or fails Google’s test, share the results with your designer for advice and recommendations – or feel free to contact us, here at My Internet Scout.

Perform a test on your website here.

Google’s designers’ and developers’ Guide for Mobile-Friendly Websites can be found here.

Final thoughts about Google’s Push for Mobile-friendly Websites

Google’s pre-released guidance for the mobile-friendly signal is an unprecedented move by them. The challenge will be meeting their deadline. The April 21st, 2015 compliance deadline is very short, under 60 days from their original announcement; and, there’s a limited supply of proficient website developers and designers right now. I surmise that only a fraction of the website owners wanting mobile-friendliness will get their site in compliance by April 21st. Therefore, I strongly recommend the following… If you own a website that has failed Google’s Mobile-friendly test and SEO is important to your marketing strategy, call your webmaster/designer/developer immediately to get on their production calendar.

Written by Peter La Fond

Having lived most of his life in Northern California, Peter consults for organizations of all sizes on Internet marketing engagement, strategy and execution. He regularly speaks on website design techniques and WordPress. Peter is a graduate from California State University, Sacramento, and practices the ancient art of eating sushi with nose-hair-curling wasabi.

About My Internet Scout

Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, My Internet Scout, LLC is an Internet Marketing firm for small- and medium- size businesses. We specialize in WordPress website design, marketing and related services that include e-commerce, event registration, maintenance, content creation and search engine optimization (SEO). We service a variety of clients across the United States.

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