April 21. If you haven’t heard by now, it is the day that will forever go down in history as the day Google started including friendliness as an indicator in its rankings. Mobile-friendliness, that is.
In case you missed the official announcement, Google recently announced that “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 exactly does it mean for your website? It means that your site needs to be optimized not only for visitors using desktops and laptops, but also for those viewing it with tablets, phablets and smartphones. Every page on your website must be designed for accurate viewing and functionality. If it’s not, your search rankings will drop significantly.
Are you ready? Here are a couple questions to ask yourself about your site to determine whether or not you’re friendly enough to for Google’s love after April 21:
- Is your site mobile responsive? Not sure? Try resizing your browser window when viewing your website from a desktop. Do the elements of the page respond as you narrow the screen? If they don’t and eventually the words fall off the side of the screen, your site is not responsive.
- What issues are you posing for mobile usability? Log into Google Webmaster Tools to identify potential problems. Don’t worry, there’s a little video to help answer questions you might have as you get started.
- What can you accomplish before April 21? Whatever you can do, get it done. But don’t get discouraged by the fast-approaching deadline. All signs indicate that the new Google algorithm will run in real-time. Search Engine Land summarized it as follows:
“…the algorithm runs in real-time, so technically, you can do it any day, and as soon as Google picks up on the change, the site will start to benefit from the new mobile-friendly algorithm change.”
Starting to panic? Don’t. Just breathe and schedule a meeting with your web developer – ASAP. Making your site mobile-friendly may not be a simple, quick fix, but it’s important. Without taking a step back and getting your site in order, your traffic could plummet by the end of the month. What would that do to your lead generation pipeline? Don’t let all the hard work you’ve put into keyword strategy, SEO and content marketing get crushed because your site isn’t welcoming to mobile visitors.