Mobilegeddon is Here: 5 Tips for Surviving Google's Mobile-Focused Algorithm Change

Apr 20, 2015

Article ImageProviding a good mobile experience is no longer optional (and frankly, it's hasn't been for a long time). You may have heard dire predictions about the latest changes coming from Google. If your website isn't friendly to mobile browsers, you may have big problems as Google rolls out mobile-focused algorithm changes. According to a blog post for Google websmasters, "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."

Of course, we hope that you already got the message about the importance of mobile-friendly sites, but just in case you did not, here are some tips on how to weather this change.

  1. Don't Panic-The "mobilegeddon" name may seem scary, but it doesn't have to be. As Colt Foutz, director of digital content optimization at Transperfect, says, "Google is instituting another market adjustment to remind us to play nice with each other, just as it did with Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, what-have-you. The notion is valid that mobile users should get results that enable them to see a page without squinting (through their Google granny specs?) and actually play videos and click the links they want, instead of whatever their fat scrolling fingers brush by. So: do the right thing and everybody wins."
  2. Check Your Site-Google has a tool for everything, and that includes checking your mobile responsiveness. "You can test every page in your site if you wish, but probaby the home page will give you enough of an idea. From there, you can follow Google's step-by-step developers guide," say Foutz.
  3. Look for These Red Flags-Let's be honest, you already know whether your site is mobile-friendly or not. According to Kentico CEO Peter Palas these simple tips will help your site stay on Google's good side:
    • Make sure your site (all pages, not just one or two) look good on a mobile phone
    • Make sure your links are easily clickable on a mobile device (not too close together)
    • Make sure users don't have to scroll left / right to view content
    • Make sure images are sized correctly for a mobile device (keeping file sizes to a minimum)
    • Consider using different mobile viewports to accommodate the various devices (phones, tablets, etc.)

  4. Consider a Mobile Domain-"Your main consideration may be whether to implement a separate mobile responsive domain for your site - m.yoursite - or make your desktop site mobile-responsive," says Foutz. "There are advantages to each that you'll want to consider first. The effects will generally be the same: when a mobile user searches for your site, they will get a search result that enables them to scroll easily, read text that shows crisply and clearly on their device, and they'll be able to click links and play media. Some tips for media: you'll want to consider switching app formats to html5, which supports multiple operating systems and platforms and is SEO-friendly."
  5. Make Sure Google Knows You're Compliant-If you're scrambling to make these changes, you'll want to be sure Google knows you've made the changes as soon as your new mobile-optimized site is ready. "...don't forget a basic, but valuable step: submit your mobile sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools so your changes are noted and updated in the next crawl," says Foutz.

Armed with these tips, you should be able to survive the so-called "mobilegeddon" but more importantly, it's just good business to make sure the growing pool of mobile users can access your content. As Itai Sadan, co-Founder and CEO of DudaMobile, says, "Google is probably going to be continuing down this path for a while, so when working on a mobile version (be it responsive or mobile-only) it's important to try to create the best user experience possible. This means avoiding things like full-screen interstitial ads and videos that play automatically below the fold. The better the user experience, the more prepared you'll be for further Google SEO changes."

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)