Beginning on April 21, Google is designating mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, affecting mobile searches worldwide and significantly impacting their organic search results. Even though the push toward mobile has been gaining steam for some time, and most webmasters have already adapted through either responsive design or separate mobile sites, Google’s newest update solidifies the undeniable importance of mobile channels to search marketing.
Over the last few years, Google has encouraged webmasters to focus on mobile-friendliness by increasing the rankings of sites that are optimized for mobile search. They have even made a significant effort to help webmasters maximize the impact of their mobile experience by releasing a set of best practices and creating a free tool that helps webmasters identify areas of their site that should be better optimized for viewing on a mobile device.
What Can You Do to Prepare?
If you haven’t already taken the leap into mobile, then Google’s update should provide sufficient motivation. And if you already have a mobile site, then now is a great time to dig deeper to make sure that Google can correctly identify your mobile content.
Testing your site with Google’s mobile-friendly test tool is a great first step to take, and it will help you get a clear picture of what modifications you should make in advance of the April 21 rollout.
Next, take a look at your analytics and compare the performance of your mobile and desktop sites. Are mobile and desktop users finding your site through the same searches? Are certain pages converting at a significantly higher rate on your desktop than they are on mobile? You want your users to navigate your site as easily on mobile as they can from their desktop, and if you can make this happen by April 21, you may notice a significant increase in your rankings.
After you’ve determined that your site is mobile-friendly, you can increase your rankings even further by using data-gathering tools that will help you identify which keywords you should be using and make it easy to monitor how you’re comparing with your competition. As with the anticipation of every Google update, it’s difficult to know exactly how, and if, it will change the search landscape. But by preparing your site for the changes that are coming, you stand the best chance of maintaining or improving your rankings.