10 things you need to know to avoid #Mobilegeddon as Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ algorithm arrives

21 Apr 2015

Google’s new mobile-friendly algorithm goes live today, making it easier for users to find content formatted for their devices. Dubbed #Mobilegeddon, the change is bad news for sites that aren’t mobile-ready.

“We will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal,” said Takaki Makino, Chaesang Jung and Doantam Phan in the Google blog.

“This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results,” they added.

The move, announced in February, potentially spells bad news for Irish businesses in particular. Research by IEDR yesterday revealed that not only are 91pc of Irish business websites incapable of processing e-commerce transactions, but 54pc don’t have responsive website designs for tablet or smartphone.

1. The algorithm change

The algorithm change is on track to launch today, 21 April.

2. Why Google is changing the algorithm

The purpose of the change is to help users find search results that are formatted for their device.

3. Conforming to the algorithm change

Google announced the changes in February, rolling out various tools and test services to help sites conform to the algorithm change.

4. Will the algorithm change impact traffic?

Google expects the change to have a big impact and the new algorithm could potentially affect traffic and revenue for sites that rely heavily on search results.

5. Good mobile experience sites will rank higher than poor mobile sites

The change will see Google take into account how mobile-friendly a website actually is. Sites that provide a good mobile experience will rank higher in Google search results than those with no mobile or poor mobile sites.

6. Change will only affect mobile searches

The changed algorithm will only affect mobile searches and will have no impact on desktop or tablet searches.

7. Is my site mobile-friendly?

To find out if your site is already mobile-friendly a Google search will tell if your site measures up. The search giant has also created a Mobile-Friendly test wizard. Google has also created a how-to guide for third-party software like WordPress or Joomla, in order to migrate your website hosted on a CMS (Content Management System) to use a mobile-friendly template

8. How to be mobile friendly

Basic ways to be deemed mobile friendly: avoid software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash; use text that is readable without zooming; size content to the screen so that users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom; place links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.

9. Will my traffic die suddenly?

No. While the advent of the new mobile-friendly algorithm has been termed #Mobilegeddon, it doesn’t necessarily mean a sudden drop in page rankings for sites not deemed mobile-friendly. Google said it will take a few weeks for the algorithm to completely roll out.

10. Will I be delisted from Google searches?

No. If your site is not mobile-friendly it does not mean you will be delisted from Google searches, it just means you have a bigger fight on your hands than before. Don’t forget – relevancy is still king. So Google will still take into account the relevancy of your offering.

Armageddon image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years