Google announced on the Webmaster blog that they are going to be boosting the effects of the mobile friendly algorithm they launched back on April 21, 2015.
The algorithm is a page-by-page signal, so it can take some time for Google to assess each page, and that may be why it will be a gradual rollout. Also depending on how fast Google crawls and indexes all of the pages on your site, the impact can be slow to show.
Google has an obsession with speed, and over the course of the last few months, Google has also introduced AMP, which makes sites load even faster on mobile.
Google does not use AMP as a ranking signal at the present time, it does however prominently feature AMP pages. It is a good bet that Google will start to in the future and as time progresses it will increase the importance of using AMP.
There are a number of tools that Google use that enable you to figure out whether your site is mobile friendly and Google’s Webmaster Tools feature a detailed section that highlights mobile usability errors.
A web page is tagged eligible for ranking as mobile friendly if it meets the following criteria, as detected in real time by Googlebot.
- Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices
- Utilises text that can be read without zooming
- Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to zoom or scroll horizontally
- Spaces links far enough apart so that the chosen one can be tapped easily
Even if you are not interested in SEO the above steps are still something you should make an effort to do to your site. Perhaps your site doesn’t rely on mobile search traffic from Google, improving your mobile site’s performance definitely will not hurt in the long run, your users will certainly appreciate it.
If your site is already mobile friendly and you have made the significant improvements, Google assures that you will not be affected by the update.
If your site is not mobile friendly and is difficult to use on handheld devices then Google will penalise it and rank it lower on it’s mobile search results. To give publishers even more of an incentive to offer mobile friendly pages, Google announced that in May 2016 it will increase the importance of having mobile pages and that sites that are not mobile friendly will rank even lower than before.
Google stated that when it first introduced this as a ranking criteria last year, the premise was to give mobile users a better search experience. Most publishers and site owners have taken heed of this notification and developed their sites accordingly.
It is without doubt that mobile searches are now a high proportion of traffic on any site and will only increase in volume. It will only be a matter of time before mobile use overtakes any other type of search and it will be imperative for the success of any site that it is mobile friendly.
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