Webmasters and the world of search engine optimization for ranking mobile websites have been thrown into a frenzy with this update from Google –
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
What does this all mean? It is at a developmental stage now and only after the magic date will concrete solutions evolve. But a study can be made based on existing parameters and what can be done before the great day.
The priority task would be to sort out any mobile issues and be ready. It is the ideal time to evaluate the competitiveness of your mobile web search, review traffic behavior and mobile web search visibility and perk up Mobile Web Optimization Status. Google has been advising for years now to be ready for mobile updates and most webmasters will sit up now and take notice. There are more questions than answers floating around this mobile website optimization scenario but a few can be taken up now.
- Will this influence related desktop rankings – NO, because there will be a divergence of mobile and desktop rankings which at present are similar. A site currently at the top of the rankings is there for both the versions even though the mobile SERP looks completely different from the desktop SERP. This will change from April 21.
- Is it a page based or domain update – Gary Ilyes of Google has said that the update would be relevant for any mobile page and that whole sites will not be taken down just because some pages are not mobile friendly. In a first as distinct from desktop testing, mobile friendly testing tools have been provided by Google that allow a page to be labeled as “mobile-friendly” on mobile searches.
- Refreshing mobile data – Gary has also hinted that mobile data refresh will be done on real time and a mobile friendly page should quickly benefit from it.
Webmasters may choose to continue and focus on responsive web design or they might opt to switch to mobile web sites to cash in on the latest update and algorithm from Google. But the bottom line is that if a website is user-friendly and appropriate, regardless of whether it is responsive or for mobiles, it will rank in Google’s organic search.