Discover if Your Website is Ready for Google’s Latest Mobile Algorithm Update

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Discover if Your Website is Ready for Google’s Latest Mobile Algorithm Update

The word on the web lately is Google’s impending update to its search algorithm set to roll out on 21 April. The update will include mobile-friendliness as one of Google’s ranking criteria, which means greater priority will be given to mobile responsive websites in search results. The update is good news for those of us who do the majority of our web browsing by mobile but not so good for businesses who aren’t mobile-friendly.

So exactly what effect will this update have on mobile-unfriendly websites? At this stage the impact is theoretical. Google spokesperson Zineb Ait Bahajji has said it will be bigger than Panda and Penguin and will only impact mobile search results but doesn’t give exact figures.

However, as many as 77% of people use mobile devices for searching the web, and 50% of those searches are through Google, if your website isn’t mobile friendly, then your search traffic could be seriously impacted.

So how do you know if your website is mobile friendly?

Luckily Google isn’t making that part too hard. They’ve provided a handy Mobile-Friendly Test into which you simply enter your URL and then wait for the results of the analysation to appear. If you’ve passed the test then you’ll get a notification saying Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly. If not then you’ll need to do some work on your website.

Here are some of the factors that will help your website get the green light from Google:

  • Increasing page speed for faster loading on mobile devices
  • Choosing a responsive theme for your website
  • Thinking ahead to cover the whole spectrum:  iPads, Laptops, Desktops
  • Creating mobile friendly icons on your site for each device

In fact Google has dedicated an entire website on how to make your website mobile-friendly, and this includes: the Mobile Friendly Test, a guide to updating sites that use CSS such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, and how you can implement best mobile SEO practices.

Another handy device we use is Google Webmaster Tools which let you see at a glance exactly what pages are causing problems with mobile usability.

How to add an existing website to Google Webmaster Tools

Simply login to Google Webmaster Tools with your Google Account and click on the red ‘Add a Site’ button in the top right hand corner.

screenshot1

You’ll be prompted to add the URL of your website.

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The site will appear in the dashboard and Google will ask you to verify it. Click on ‘Verify this Site’. To verify that you own a site, you have a number of options:

  • Add a meta tag to your homepage (proving that you have access to the source files). To use this method, you must be able to edit the HTML code of your site’s pages.
  • Upload an HTML file with the name you specify to your server. To use this method, you must be able to upload new files to your server.
  • Verify via your domain name provider. To use this method, you must be able to sign in to your domain name provider (for example, GoDaddy.com) or hosting provider and add a new DNS record.
  • Add the Google Analytics code you use to track your site. To use this option, you must be an administrator on the Google Analytics account, and the tracking code must use the new asynchronous snippet.

In the example below we used the  ‘Alternative Method’ and selected the ‘HTML tag’. You will need to copy the meta name code into the header of your website so it looks like the screen shot below.

screenshot3

Once you’ve done this then go back to Google Webmaster Tools and click the red ‘Verify’ button at the bottom of the page. Now your site is verified you have access to Mobile Usability data under the Search Traffic dropdown menu:

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and Crawl Error data under the Crawl dropdown menu:

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Even if your website is mobile-friendly, Google Webmaster Tools’ mobile data is useful in pinpointing pages with mobile-unfriendly links and content that will ultimately cause suboptimal rankings by Google’s algorithm, such as:

  • Mobile-only 404 pages
  • Irrelevant cross-links
  • Videos that won’t play on mobiles
  • Blocked Javascript, CSS and image files

If you know what pages and links are causing issues then you can quickly fix them before Google penalises your site.

Still not sure how to make your website mobile-friendly?

If you’re in doubt about how these change will impact the results from your digital marketing, then get in touch for a free no obligation Digital Strategy call. Don’t let Google’s latest algorithm on 21 April impact your business revenue, if you need help with making your current website mobile-friendly then contact us for a chat, we’re always happy to help.

Adam Wallace
Adam Wallace
Adam Wallace is the founder of Content First and has dedicated the last 5 years to helping business' design & implement effective marketing strategies. With a background in corporate business optimisation and a natural aptitude for imparting knowledge, Adam has presented to 100's of tourism operators across Australia on topics such as web strategy and content marketing
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