If you’re involved with performance marketing of any type, you’ve almost certainly heard about the upcoming search algorithm update from Google. The update is focused on encouraging websites to become more mobile friendly. If rumors are true, however, it is going to be a major ‘slap’ to anyone who hasn’t yet optimized their site properly for mobile devices such as smart phones.
Many of these rumors were prompted by Google’s announcement that they were going to be making updates to the algorithm specifically focused on making the web a more mobile friendly place. This is quite an unusual move from Google, since they tend to try to keep any algorithm updates as quiet as possible until they roll them out. The fact is, however, this one has the potential to impact a huge number of sites and Google seems to want everyone to take preemptive action to minimize the impact as much as possible.
Read on to learn about a few of the key points that will be most important to marketers.
When Does the Algorithm Take Effect?
The ‘mobile-friendly’ algorithm change is launching tomorrow, April 21st. This is the official date that has been given by Google. Whether it is a one time update or it will be rolled out over the course of days is not known, but most people expect the changes to be completely done on the 21st.
Only Impacting Mobile Searches
One nice thing to keep in mind is that this algorithm is only going to impact searches that are done with mobile devices. So, if you do a search on Google on your PC, you’ll get one set of search results. From a mobile device, you may get something completely different. While this can help to minimize impact for some sites that aren’t mobile ready, it is still a huge issue. Mobile adds up to around 30% of searches today, and that number is growing rapidly.
Tablets Aren’t Mobile?
Oddly enough, this algorithm change is not going to impact searches done on tablets. Many people expect there will be a second update focused on tablets, but that has not been confirmed by Google. It is not exactly clear why Google is not lumping the tablet searches in with mobile devices since they operate in much the same way.
How to Test Your Site
This is perhaps the most important thing you need to know. It isn’t always enough to just put up a theme that claims to be mobile friendly. You need something that Google will recognize. The best way to check your site is to use a free mobile friendly testing tool, one of which can be found HERE. That tool is provided by Google so it is likely going to be the most accurate option available.
It’s Not Too Late!
Another important thing for all marketers to keep in mind is that it is not too late to make changes to your site. The algorithm is said to operate in a ‘real time’ way, which means as soon as you make the changes, Google will begin ranking your site properly. With this in mind, you could update your site today to be more mobile friendly and avoid any negative impact from the update.