In March 2016, Google announced on its Webmaster blog that it will boost the effects of Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm. This update, Google said, will occur beginning in May and will increase “…the effect of the [mobile-friendly] ranking signal.”

As you may recall, on April 21, 2015, Google implemented a significant change to its Web search algorithm that has subsequently favored and rewarded companies whose websites are mobile-friendly. This change, popularly termed “Mobilegeddon,” means that if your website was not optimized for mobile devices after April 21, 2015, your site’s Google ranking would likely have been negatively impacted.

Here’s the official 2015 announcement from Google:

“Starting April 21 (2015), 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. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

What does the 2016 update mean for you?

If your site is already mobile-friendly, there’s no need to worry, because “you will not be impacted by this update,” according to Google.

What exactly is a mobile-friendly website?

A mobile-friendly website is a website that automatically reformats when someone views the site on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet (i.e., iPad).

A website or Web page is considered “mobile-friendly” if it meets the following criteria as detected by Google:

  1. Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  2. Uses text that is readable without zooming
  3. Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  4. Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

There are essentially two types of mobile-friendly websites:

  1. Responsive Design Websites
    Responsive designed websites automatically take the content and various features of a standard website and reformats it to fit all screen sizes, allowing website visitors to easily interact with the site, no matter what device they’re using.
  2. Mobile Specific Websites
    Mobile specific websites are abbreviated versions of a standard website. They include only the functionality and content deemed most necessary for a mobile user but are designed to properly fit the screen size of a mobile device.

What is the broader impact of this latest update—and the rollout in general?

When the update happens, it will occur gradually, so you won’t likely see a major drop-off on non-mobile-friendly websites. It’s unclear if this will happen over weeks or months; Google simply stated that it would “start rolling out” the update at the beginning of May.

This mobile-friendly algorithm is a page-by-page signal; therefore, it can take time for Google to assess each page. Depending on how quickly Google crawls and indexes each page on your site, the impact to your site could be slow to become evident.

In 2015, we posted a full Q&A blog post on the impact of Mobilegeddon on your website. You can read the post here.

If your website isn’t currently mobile-friendly – or if you want to ensure that it is – you can check the Google mobile-friendly tool, or review Google’s mobile guidelines. If you want to learn more about deploying online marketing programs that are focused on building awareness and generating more leads from your website, call Bob Goricki at Skoda Minotti Strategic Marketing at (440) 605-7234.

2016 Digital Marketing Trends