Google has announced that it will be making a change to its mobile-friendly algorithm in May, putting more emphasis than ever on mobile-friendly design.
Mobile-friendliness has been an important ranking factor for searches performed on mobile devices ever since April of 2015, when Google implemented its mobile-friendly algorithm. This new update will increase the effect of that algorithm, boosting the negative consequences of non-mobile-friendly design.
Is This the New “Mobilegeddon”?
As soon as the update was announced, search marketers started to wonder if this would result in a new “Mobilegeddon” (a.k.a. Google’s original mobile-friendly algorithm update).
The short answer is: probably not.
For one thing, it’s important to note that the original “Mobilegeddon” was not the apocalyptic event its nickname makes it out to be. When Google first made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor, people expected the results to be big. Like Google Panda big. But that was an overreaction. While many sites felt a definite impact, and non-mobile-friendly sites took a hit, “Mobilegeddon” was more “Y2K” than “end-of-days.”
This update is expected to have a smaller impact, so non-mobile-friendly sites shouldn’t prepare for catastrophe. What’s more, the effects of this update are expected to be felt much more gradually. Google is planning an extended rollout, and the new algorithm evaluates individual pages – not domains – which will further slow the process. That may buy smaller websites time if they choose to update their web design to dodge the effects of this change.
Will My Site Be Affected?
If you’re already mobile-friendly, you have nothing to worry about. According to Google, this change will only have an impact on sites that don’t meet Google’s current mobile-friendly design standards. In their words: “If you’ve already made your site mobile-friendly, you will not be impacted by this update.”
For sites that are not mobile-friendly, it remains to be seen how damaging the impact will be, but don’t be surprised if your pages start to slide a ranking slot (or two, or three) on mobile SERPs.
If you’re unsure if your site meets Google’s mobile-friendly standards, Google offers a Mobile-Friendly Test tool that allows you to check if your site’s design is up to snuff.
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