In the early days of Google, all searches were conducted on desktops. But as time went and with the advent of smartphones, Google had to make changes in their algorithm to cater to the mobile user. The intentions of the searcher often vary greatly if the search is made on a desktop versus a mobile device. The mobile update meant that Google was taking a huge step in continuing to give web searchers the most relevant, up to date results. But in order for this to happen, sites without mobile-friendly design had to make some pretty significant changes to their layout and design in order for users to find them. Here, we explain the Mobile update and what you need to do to ensure the update works for you.
Launch Date: April 21, 2015
By the spring of 2015, mobile search had been happening for a while. But many sites had neglected to optimize their sites for mobile use—without consequence. Google decided that it was time to put sites with no or poor mobile usability at lower ranks than sites with excellent mobile design. Before this change, they were frustrating their users and providing a terrible search experience, especially since much of Google’s search happened—and continues to happen—on mobile devices. The Mobile update put a stop to that.
What Google’s Mobile Update Impacted
The Mobile update is all about creating the best experience for user’s on mobile devices. For this reason, the huge triggers for this algorithm update are poor mobile usability. If a site doesn’t have a mobile version, or if a site does have a mobile version, but it’s hardly useable, your rankings will feel it.
- No mobile site – Back in 2015, but even more so now in 2020, searches done on mobile devices were increasing. Today, more mobile search is done than desktop computer searches, and the gap is only widening. If your site doesn’t have a mobile version, stop reading and get that fixed today! You’re losing almost all of your potential business because people searching for your services or products on mobile devices aren’t able to find you.
- Poor mobile usability – The only thing that comes close to not having a mobile site is having a site that isn’t optimized or isn’t really usable. Slow loading speeds, a layout that is cumbersome and confusing, and even buttons that are too big or too small can result in a frustrating experience for users.
How The Mobile Update Works
The hazards for the Mobile update are few, but they’re serious. If you don’t cater website design to mobile users, you can kiss your rankings goodbye. If your site triggers the Mobile update with the hazards we outlined above—if you don’t have a mobile site or if your site isn’t especially mobile-friendly—then Google’s web crawlers will find out and can punish you. You can be severely downranked.
How to Update Your Website Design To Take Advantage of The Mobile Update
At this point, you know the goal of the Mobile update: cater to mobile users. Mobile is the way of the future, and really, of the present. There are a few things you can do to ensure your site does serve mobile users and ranks high on Google’s SERPs.
- Find out if you’re mobile friendly – If you aren’t sure of the state of your site, you can always conduct Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. This test, like others, can give you some insight as to how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device.
- Choose a responsive theme – The responsiveness of your site is determined by how well it renders regardless of what device, browser, or screen size it’s viewed on. These days, most new themes are mobile friendly. However, you always need to check on this factor before you commit to one.
- Pick a reliable web host – Choosing the right web host can make or break your site’s performance. Your web host determines the speed and resources you have access to. And when it comes to mobile, speed is king.
- Improve loading time – Having a site with fast loading times not only makes you shine in Google’s eyes, but it provides a better experience for your user, which usually correlates with your bottom line. There are a ton of things you can do to increase the speed at which your site runs. You can start with compressing your images, optimizing (minifying) your code, and implementing caching.
The good news is this: the Mobile update works in real time. So as soon as your site does become mobile-friendly, Google’s web crawlers will reprocess your pages, meaning your rankings can potentially improve from one hour to the next. To expedite, you can ask Google to recrawl your URLs.
The most effective way to optimize your site for mobile is to have SEO experts conduct an audit, especially if mobile optimization intimidates you. After your site is combed over and surveyed, you’ll have a better idea of what improvements you can make to provide the best mobile experience. By having a site that works on mobile, Google will love you, and you’ll be able to reach exponentially more users.