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Google Mobile Friendly Deadline is April 21st

Google recently announced about a new algorithm that will use mobile-friendliness as a factor for ranking sites—with the deadline of April 21st.

Based on statistics, mobile web traffic makes up about 30% of traffic to any website, so it is important to have a site that is mobile friendly.

Google has always been an advocate of providing the best search experience for its users, and given the fact that having a mobile friendly site provides the best user experience, it was obvious that Google was going to take steps to reinforce the importance of having a mobile friendly site.

So, starting April 21st if your site is not mobile friendly, Google will demote your site in its ranking.

I put together a series of questions and answers that most of our clients ask below:


How do I know if my site is not mobile friendly?

Sign up for Google Webmaster Account. This is a free service from Google.

Google Webmaster Tools provides Google traffic and keyword ranking information. This will help you get very useful information about where you are ranked in Google using different keywords. You can use that information to strategize your search engine marketing.

Additionally, Google Webmaster tools provides information about your site's current optimization issues—issues such as duplicate titles or meta descriptions.

Now, Google also provides information about your site's mobile friendliness. You can find out which one of your pages are mobile friendly and which pages are not mobile friendly.

If you don't have a Google Webmaster account yet, I would recommend signing up and start using the tool. Here is the link to Google Webmater Tools:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/

Once you are in the Google Webmaster's Tools, click on Search Traffic > Mobile Usability
This will show the pages within your site that are not mobile friendly. A fair warning, if you have not focused on mobile friendly features such as responsive design, most likely, all of your pages are going to be not mobile friendly

If you need SEO/SEM help, we will be glad to provide you those services. Please contact us at 858-410-1500 for more details.


How do I update my site so it is mobile friendly?

If you are currently using a CMS such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal, you are also using a theme that went with your CMS.

You need to check if your CMS theme is mobile friendly or provide an upgrade for a mobile friendly responsive feature.

If your CMS theme has a responsive design update, update your CMS with the updated theme (with caution).

If your CMS theme does not provide mobile friendly feature, then you need to search and use a theme for your CMS that is mobile friendly.

If you are using a custom CMS, or have a custom website, then you may want to consider updating the CSS for your CMS or website to one of the common responsive CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap CSS, Foundation CSS, Gumby CSS, etc..

If you need help with making your site mobile friendly, we will be glad to update your site so it is mobile friendly. Please contact us at 858-410-1500 for more details.


What happens if I don't make the April 21st deadline?

Starting April 21st your site's ranking will be affected. You can fix the issue at anytime after April 21st. Google constantly scans your site for mobile usability issues, once Google finds that your pages are mobile friendly, they will start ranking you better in mobile search results.

However, it is hard to predict whether your site will start ranking above others once you fixed your mobile friendliness issue. You may want to look at this in more of a common sense way. I have noticed that Google tends to rank sites based on so many factors and one of them is based on first come, first serve. So, if your competition is ahead of you with their site's mobile friendliness, they will start ranking higher ahead of you, and sometimes it may not be easy for you to get ahead of them if they were ahead of you for making their site mobile friendly.


Would this affect my site in the standard browser search results? (not just mobile browser search results)

We know for sure that this change will have an effect on mobile browser's search results.

Again, we need to look at this issue in a more common sense way; Google's ranking algorithm works based on so many factors and one of them is based on how many users click on your links, how many users visit your site and pages, how long the users stay on your pages, etc..

If your site does not rank well on Google for mobile users, based on the research that 30% of traffic coming from mobile type browsers, you will be loosing about 30% traffic, clicks and views. So, this change can have a possible affect on all of the Google's ranking of your site.


Does this affect my whole site or just page by page?

This change will affect pages within your site, so for example, if you have half of your pages being mobile friendly and the other half are not, the pages that are not mobile friendly will not get good ranking in Google.

But, bare in mind that this can affect overall ranking of your site, because if half of your pages are not mobile friendly, they will not rank well in Google mobile, which will reduce your overall clicks and views of your site's pages, which is one of the factors that Google uses to rank sites.


Final thoughts . . .

If your site is not mobile friendly, you may want to start looking into fixing this issue as soon as possible.

Google's ranking has so much affect on businesses that rely on Google for bringing traffic to their sites. If you loose your ranking with Google, you could loose customers.

In my opinion, this is a major milestone in Google's ranking algorithm, so do not take this change lightly.

You are welcome to contact us at 858-410-1500 for help in making your site mobile friendly and provide you SEO/SEM services.

Research for this article was completed March 25, 2015; information may change.

Bernard Kohan

Bernard Kohan is a mobile app and web application development and technology analyst expert. He is available to discuss any issues or questions you have about web development and the best choices for your company or project.

Bernard can be reached at
858-410-1500


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