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Since the “mobile-first” mantra was coined by Eric Schmidt in 2010, Google have stated that this is the way to go. Many businesses disregarded this advice, and now Google is following through with their statement with their latest algorithm update.

WHAT IS ACTULLY HAPPENING ON 21ST APRIL 2015?

Google want to present more mobile-friendly sites and content in their search results and they will be attempting to do this with two massive changes which come in on 21st April:

1) More emphasis on mobile-friendliness

You may have noticed Google has started adding “Mobile-friendly” tags to search results on mobile devices. Well, this is an expansion of this, with their algorithms placing more weight on these tags in order to provide the best and most optimised content to the user. This means that sites where people can easily see the data on a website, even on a mobile device, will now be preferred in the search results returned on mobiles.

For websites that are not responsive, the influx of responsive website will serve to negatively affect their Google ranking and will basically be seen as a penalty.

2) Surfacing app content in the SERPs

Google understands that often the most relevant information is contained in an app – instead of on a typical webpage. This will now be more effectively indexed by Google with the results intermingling with website pages.

For more information, here is the official Google blog post: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html

IF you already have a mobile-friendly website….

If you are one of the businesses that did heed Google’s advice, and your website is already mobile-friendly – give yourselves a pat on the back.

However, this doesn’t mean that you are immune from any effects of this update.

We envisage an influx of new website, made beautifully mobile-friendly and often this would prompt a content revamp – which Google loves. This in turn could mean ‘new’ (revamped) sites being filtered into Google and (at least initially) affecting the Search Results and overall search ranking of sites that are currently performing well.

Also, as with most Google updates, many sites experience unexpected issues and should monitor their sites carefully and take swift action to resolve issues should they occur.

Here is are a couple of resources to check should you want any further information:

Mobile-Friendly Testing tool

Best Practice Mobile Guidelines.

 

HOW DO I MONITOR MY SITE?

If you have access to your Webmaster Tools Account, you need to be checking your Search Traffic > Mobile Usability section.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO DO?

Overall, Google’s philosophy of providing accessible, relevant content hasn’t changed. If your website has been designed with this in mind, and you have developed useful, sharable content – then you should be OK. If not, then making sure you align your website with these principles would be a great benefit to you.