The Biggest Mobile Algorithm Update Ever Drops April 21

Google releases the biggest mobile algorithm update ever on April 21

Google Unleashes New Mobile Algorithm Update

By now you must have read about Google’s new mobile algorithm update which unleashes on mobile search results in a few weeks. Is your website mobile friendly? Is it mobile ready, mobile responsive, and mobile adaptive? If not, I have two important items I’d like to share with you, which are directly related to your website traffic, digital marketing ROI, and ultimately your bottom line.

Firstly, check out your website’s analytics and pay close attention to the mobile traffic your sites received over the last 3 months. For a bigger shock to your system, set the report to show the results from the past 6 months, then the past year.

Next check out the amount of web traffic your site received from tablet, and then desktop. For many businesses, I’m betting you’ll find a large amount of mobile traffic – smartphones and tablets.

So that’s great news right? Wrong. Now compare the bounce rate from all those devices. Here’s where you should probably be sitting down, if you weren’t already.

If your bounce rate for mobile visitors is over 50%, your online business is in big trouble, and has been for the last few months, if not quarters.

In this article I’m going to explain:

1. Why your website should have been mobile friendly at launch.

2. Why you must ensure your business has a mobile friendly website by April 21, 2015. Or else…


Why Your Website Must Be Mobile-Friendly

Google is a search engine that serves its users right? We already know that Google is committed to serving users high quality search results that are directly related to the user’s search query. That’s why I call Google a “referral” engine and not just a “search” engine.

While never officially stated, Google has used mobile usability as a factor in their search algorithm. Websites that are mobile adaptive actually get the phrase “mobile friendly” in a prominent position, next to the url, in mobile search results. Check this screenshot for a mobile search of “VPDM”:

example of mobile-friendly website in Google search
How Mobile Friendly Websites Appear on Mobile Search


Granted that feature was released just recently, there was no indication that a website’s mobile responsiveness was an official ranking factor. In fact some would say that Google has been both limited and ambiguous when confirming this fact.

I’m thinking that it’s this ambiguity by Google that has caused many business owners to delay building a new mobile responsive/adaptive website, despite numerous recommendations from their SEO company or consultant. I know that I have had many conversations advising various business owners about their website strategy moving forward.


So Exactly How Big Is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm?

The mobile friendly hammer is officially coming down on April 21, and from what I’m hearing, it’s going to hit hard. This is a full on mobile algorithm update. Let’s look at exactly how big this mobile-friendly algorithm actually is.

Google Panda and Google Penguin Algorithm Updates

Word on the street is, this update will be bigger than the last two major search algorithm updates, Google Panda and Google Penguin.

Google Webmaster Trends team member, Zineb Ait Bahajji, recently said that this new mobile algorithm will have more of an affect on a website’s mobile rankings than the Panda or Penguin algorithm updates.

Search Engine Land wrote: “The question is, what did Zineb mean by that? Is she saying that let’s say this is impacting 40% of mobile search queries, whereas Panda impacted about 12% of all English queries and Penguin was closer to 4% of global queries across both desktop and mobile. Or is she saying that across mobile and desktop, the impact will be larger than Panda or Penguin? We know the mobile-friendly algorithm only impacts mobile search results, so I’d assume she is talking about the mobile impact only.”

Zineb did not specifically release a percentage of queries impacted. How important is this you may ask? How about this fact from Comscore: Mobile platforms – smartphones and tablets – combined to account for 60% of total digital media time spent, up from 50% a year ago. And perhaps more impressively, mobile apps accounted for more than half of all digital media time spent in May, coming in at 51%.

You’ll find that some estimates say that more than 60% of all Google searches are made on mobile devices. This is why it makes sense for Google to capitalize on this traffic and ensure the best possible experience for its users.

This is also why all businesses should take a serious look at their mobile marketing strategy and ensure their website is optimized for the user and the search engine. This starts with a mobile responsive/mobile friendly website design and a comprehensive SEO strategy.


What You Need To Know For Success in Mobile Search

Companies of all sizes, local businesses or international, should all plan to create websites and content that are specifically designed for mobile users first. Those that do will be rewarded with first page search rankings from Google.

Google has offered up 2 tools for you to check if your site meets their mobile friendly test. This one comes directly from Google, so you could assume it covers all the factors form the forthcoming algorithm. They call it the Mobile-Friendly Test.

Google's Mobile Friendly Test
Google’s Mobile Friendly Test


The second tool is in Google Webmaster Tools and is called the Mobile Usability Report. It’s a very easy process to run either of these tests and if you find any errors, you now know where your web developer should focus.

Mobile Usability Report
GWT Mobile Usability Report


The Wrap

Any business owner should immediately check to see if their website is mobile friendly, according to Google. The deadline is April 21. If I were you, I’d get to it asap. One thing to keep in mind regarding Google and algorithms, things will change and be updated.

This is the largest mobile algorithm we’ve ever seen and based on Google’s history with the Panda and Penguin algorithms, we will likely see updates to this new mobile algorithm as we go along. Where and when however, we can’t say at this point.

It essentially all boils down to April 21. If your website isn’t mobile friendly on that date, it’ll likely be affected by this mobile algorithm and you’ll lose rankings, certainly on mobile search. How this mobile algorithm affects desktop searches is still unclear.
If you need some advise or assistance with your website and making it mobile friendly, I’d love to help you through this. Email me directly and let’s get things started today.


* Featured Image Source

 VPDM Digital Marketing, SEO Strategy,, Social Media, Content