Roughly this time last year Google announced massive changes to its mobile search algorithm which is believed to have affected thousands of site’s mobile search rankings.
So before we move ahead, lets recap what happened last year. Google released an update that was given the name within the industry as “Mobilegeddon”, for reasons that it was supposed to be the end of the world for so many sites, simply because business owners have ignored the principle of mobile responsive website experience.
Google cracked down on sites that would not adapt to a small screen, would not load quickly on mobile, was hard to read text and see images etc.
Now were one year on, it would seem the roll out wasn’t as severe as first feared. Jason from one of the top SEO companies, Resilient Digital says “our clients websites have seen very little change in the mobile rankings, even from those sites that are not 100% mobile friendly.
We are working together to get these up to date, however since their rankings are still stable, our priorities for now have moved elsewhere.”
So moving on, Google announced on their Webmaster blog that they are going to be tweaking the effects of the mobile friendly algorithm that was launched last year.
This update is expected to “begin in May”, as communicated by Google.
The update is expected to increase the mobile friendly ranking signal, however it was reported by Google that “if your site is already mobile friendly, you don’t need to worry because you will not be impacted by this update.”
Me personally I would test my site instead of taking Google’s word for it.
You can use their mobile friendly test tool to determine if your site is compliant.
This test will give an all clear or not result with some tips on improvements
So how will all this effect your site?
Well its intended this update will be rolled gradually, so if your site is not yet compliant with mobile devices, the chances are you won’t see any effects or major drop offs in rankings.
It’s unclear as to the timeline of the update, however it’s more than likely dependant on how fast Google crawls and indexes all of the pages on your site.
My thoughts are this update will have significantly less impact that the original algorithm update, however best to be ready.
So how can you optimise your site for mobile friendliness?
Different things like ensuring your site adapts to fit the screen of any mobile device and this include iPads. Web developers can code your site so it transforms into a slim line site. If you have a WordPress site, many premium themes will have the ability to respond to any screen size.
Another area to optimise is page load speed.
A slow loading page speed can have a drastic effect on your mobile rankings.
After some testing, I have concluded mobile search results tend to favour sites that load quickly. Possibly because Google know people are out and about when using their mobile and need search results and websites to load quickly.
The fact that this is a major issue to contend with, even if Google determined your site loaded quick enough to not penalise, your engagement rate and conversion rate for a slow loading site would be severely impaired.
So get optimising your page load speed immediately.
Go and use Pingdom to check your website load speed.
You will receive a report and areas that require attention. One of these areas may lead you to having move hosts.
First determine if you need to fix issues within your coding, links and overly large images. These three areas are the most common cause for slow loading web pages.
If after fixing these errors and your new test results are still not favourable, then moving hosts may be your best bet.
The benefits of a fast loading site will increase or bring back lost rankings and more important you should see a big increase in conversions.
So that’s a wrap of this upcoming mobile algorithm update.
Get your site up to speed and keep those mobile rankings.