Attention: Algorithm update
It’s not often Google warns businesses of an upcoming algorithm update, so when they do, it pays to take notice! On April 21, 2015, Google released a significant new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that’s designed to give a considerable boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results. Now searchers can easily find high quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.
What is the Mobile-Friendly Test tool?
Google considers your web pages to be mobile-friendly by using its Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Have you ever tapped on a Google Search result on your phone, only to find yourself scrunching your eyes up to read the text on the page because it was too small, the links were tiny and you had to scroll sideways to read the content? This tends to be the case when the website has not been optimised to be viewed on a mobile phone. To make it easier for people to find the information that they’re looking for on their phone, Google have added a “mobile-friendly” label to their mobile search results.
“Content is fire, social media is gasoline”
While the mobile-friendly change is important, Google still uses a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal – so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content.
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash.
- Uses text that is readable without zooming in and out.
- Content fits the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom.
- Links are spreaded out so that the correct one can be easily tapped.
- Check your pages with the Mobile-Friendly Test.
- Read Google’s updated documentation on our Webmasters Mobile Guide on how to create and improve your mobile site.
- See the Mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, which highlights major mobile usability issues across your entire site.
- Check Google’s how-to guide for third-party software like WordPress and Joomla, in order to migrate your website hosted on a CMS (Content Management System) to use a mobile-friendly template.
If your website failed the mobile friendly test, then it’s time to put a plan in place. Users of the WordPress platform can switch to a mobile friendly theme. If you are not using WordPress, we would encourage you to take this opportunity to switch platforms.
We hope this article has helped you understand how google mobile friendly update can benefit your business. If you have any more questions, see Google’s FAQ or ask on the Mobile Websites section of the Webmaster Forum.