09 Nov 15 4:38 am
On April 21st, Google is planning to rock its mobile search results with an algorithmic update that will change everything. This update is expected to affect more sites than Penguin and Panda combined because searches from mobile devices are estimated to make up more than 50% of all Google searches. To be clear - there is no site that is safe so do NOT pass over this update thinking it isn't relevant to you.
Here's what we know.
The algorithm will roll out worldwide and in all languages - This means that everyone on the Internet will be affected by this update one way or another.
The algorithm runs in real-time - Meaning that when Google visits your previously non mobile friendly page and discovers that you've updated to be mobile friendly, it will immediately reflect that change in the mobile search results. So you will not have to wait through a painful re-indexing period.
If you have the mobile-friendly tag in the search results, you are 'GOOD-TO-GO' per Google - This is the single easiest way to confirm you are fine for the update. If you update to mobile-friendly, and you generate the tag, it will take several days for the Mobile Usability Report in Google Webmaster Tools to reflect the update.
Google will not be penalizing non mobile friendly sites - Instead they are boosting mobile friendly sites, even those that are not providing a responsive design.
The algorithm is applied on a page-by-page basis, not side-wide - You can get a jumpstart on a mobile site redesign by updating your most important pages first, and Google will then boost those specific pages for mobile search queries. This isn't how we would recommend doing your site update, but it's important that you understand options.
The algorithm currently uses the Page Speed signals from the desktop version of the site - Which could be problematic if your mobile site or desktop site is faster or slower than the other. This will likely not be the case for long.
Simply put, if you're already mobile friendly then you can expect to see a significant boost in the search results and your competitors that aren't will be falling like rocks.
However, do NOT assume your site is ready! Instead you need to be sure you run the following two tests on all of your sites.
1. Check your site's Mobile Usability Report in Google Webmaster Tools. This will point you in the direction of which pages need the most work.
2. Run your site through Google's Mobile-Friendly Test.
And if you aren't mobile friendly yet, then now is the time to move before it's too late. The last thing you want to do is lose ALL of your mobile traffic. That being said, if you're having difficulty convincing a boss, client, partner, etc. that you need to make this change then go into your Google Analytics account - grab the report on all the traffic coming from mobile devices and explain that without updating your site all of that traffic will be deleted. It really is a no brainer. Your site needs to be mobile friendly (specifically leveraging responsive design per Google's recommendation) or it does not have a future.
I encourage you to not wait on this.
For another perspective on this check out this post from Infusionsoft's blog "A Mobile Friendly Website - Essential Survival Guide for Google’s Mobilegeddon"