Google is constantly updating its search engine algorithms, which is one of the reasons why SEO tactics are always changing. However, every once in a while, Google will carry out a larger than normal update that can have a significant effect on the rankings of websites all over the world.
Google recently announced details of its next large algorithm update, which aims to display more mobile friendly websites in the search results. Compared to previous updates, this announcement was made in advance, giving web masters time to carry out improvements to their sites.
The updates have since come into effect, so if you have not yet prepared your website, here is a guide to what you need to know to ensure you are not negatively affected by the changes.
Mobile Friendly Update Details
The latest Google update is focused on ensuring that more mobile friendly sites show up in the search results when people are searching using a mobile device. It will also aim to display more relevant app content, showing content from indexed apps for users who are signed into the app.
The update started to roll out on April 21, 2015 – the date widely referred to in recent weeks as Mobilegeddon – but it was announced earlier. Many website owners took the opportunity to prepare for the changes in advance, but you can still make changes to your own website to make it more friendly and avoid risking a drop in your search rankings.
How to Check if Your Website Is Mobile Friendly
Checking whether your website is mobile friendly in the eyes of Google is relatively simple to do. Start by going to the Mobile Friendly Test and typing in the URL of one of your webpages. You will then be informed whether the website has a mobile-friendly design or not.
If your website is considered mobile friendly, that’s good news. It means you should not be affected by the algorithm changes, so there is little you need to do.
As well as checking pages on your website, you can also check the mobile friendliness of your whole site. You can do this by going to your Webmaster Tools account and using the Mobile Usability Report. This will highlight any potentially problematic issues that your site has, and you can then make the necessary improvements.
What You Need to Do
After checking whether your website is mobile friendly according to Google, you may find that it is not properly optimised for mobile visitors. If this is the case, there may be a number of steps that you need to take to improve your site. Ideally, you will want to get these fixed as soon as possible.
If you have not come across any particular issues, but you now see that your site’s ranking has been affected in the search results, this could also indicate that something is not right.
You may be able to make the necessary changes yourself, but this may only be possible if you know exactly what you have to do. If you don’t, it may be worth hiring a professional SEO service like Perth’s White Chalk Road SEO to go over your site and help you to make the updates so that your SEO won’t be affected.
Do You Really Need to Update Your Website?
It’s important to remember that the latest algorithm change will only affect searches made from mobile devices, and that your search rankings should not be affected for searches made from desktops. If you do not receive a great deal of mobile traffic and your business does not depend on it, you may be wondering whether you should bother to update your site to make it more mobile friendly.
While it is true that your normal rankings for people searching on a desktop should not be affected, now is still a good time to make sure your mobile website is optimised. Even if mobile makes up a small amount of your traffic for now – and you can check if this is the case using your Google Analytics account – it could well become more important for you in the future.
In addition, there is no saying that Google won’t in the future decide that mobile friendliness will become a ranking factor in desktop searches as well as mobile searches, so it is in your interests to make sure your site is optimised for both desktops and mobiles. Check out the detailed Moz guide on the update for more information advice on what you can do about it to ensure you are not affected by Mobilegeddon.
Be Prepared for the Update
By announcing the update in advance, Google provided website owners with time to get their sites into shape to avoid experiencing problems. Now that the update has come into effect, take the opportunity to go over your website and make any necessary improvements to avoid dropping in the mobile search results.
Sorcha Mullis is a SEO specialist. She enjoys sharing her marketing insights online. Look for her articles on many business and marketing websites.
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