google mobile friendly algorithm updates & tips

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Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Updates & Tips

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Google Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Updates & Tips

Google to pre-announce a big algorithmic change

The Google Mobile Friendly Update launches apr 21st, a day that many including ourselves here at Search Engine Land are calling “Mobilegeddon.” We first learned of Google’s plan to release a new algorithm designed to reward mobile-friendly web pages back in February.

The mobile friendly update will potentially give a ranking boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results. Below you will find a list of common questions and concerns that have been answered over the past two-months around this algorithm.

Are you ready for Mobilegeddon?

Google is releasing the mobile friendly update on April 21st. Here is what you need to know.

Most commonly mentioned mobile mistakes.

Google’s upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm change, the search giant is providing advice to site owners on common mistakes to avoid when converting your site to a mobile-friendly design.

Google sought advice from its own webmaster community on Twitter and compiled a list of the most commonly mentioned mobile mistakes.

Google Provides Advice to Site Owners

Unplayable Content

In order for Googlebot to see your site as a real user would, always allow access to these files in your site’s robots.txt.

This consists of certain types of videos, or other content, that are not playable on mobile devices, such as license-constrained media or media that requires Flash.

Blocked JavaScript, CSS and Image Files

Mobile- Only 404s

If you have separate mobile URLs, you must redirect mobile users on each desktop URL to the appropriate mobile URL.

Some sites serve content to desktop users accessing a URL but show an error page to mobile users. Instead, redirect mobile users to an equivalent mobile page to avoid 404s.

Faulty Redirects

Irrelevant Cross - Links

This is when websites block the view of pages with a prompt to download the site’s native app. Instead, use a small HTML banner at the top of the page.

This is when users are linked to desktop-optimized pages from the mobile version of the site, and vice versa. Check your links to make sure that they point to the correct equivalent page.

App Download Interstitials

The algorithm is launching on, April 21st. I checked in with Google this morning and they confirmed they are still on schedule with tomorrow.

Will it impact desktop searchers? Will my desktop rankings drop?

How To Prepare Google Mobile Friendly Algorithm Update



When is Google releasing the mobile-friendly algorithm?Q

No, it will only impact mobile searchers and will have no impact on your desktop rankings.A

No, this only impacts searches done on mobile smartphone devices, not tablets.

Didn’t Google release a mobile ranking algorithm in 2013?



Will it impact tablet searchers?Q

Yes they did,, but that was specific around core issues accessing a mobile site, this is expanding on that around mobile usability issues.


No, only the core web search results will be impacted, not the local pack, not Google News or other vertical searches, until those departments decide to make a change.

Is the mobile friendly algorithm site-wide or on a web page by web page basis?



Will Google News, Local Results, In The News, Videos, be impacted by this algorithm?Q

The mobile friendly algorithm is on a page by page basis. So even if only some of your web pages are not mobile friendly, some come benefit from this algorithm.


What is this algorithmic update, who will it impact?


This update will impact only mobile searchers and it will give a ranking boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results only.


How do I know if my site is mobile friendly?Q

There are a few ways but the only way to know if your site is already indexed by Google as mobile friendly is to see if your site has the mobile friendly label in the mobile search results. Using the mobile friendly testing tool will show if you pass the test, but Google may still need some time to update their index to pick up on the fact that your web pages are mobile friendly. You can also the mobile usability reports within Google Webmaster Tools, but those can be fairly delayed.


Unlike Panda or Penguin, the mobile friendly algorithm is run in real time. Sometimes the mobile friendly label can be delayed in showing up in the search results, but Google will pick up on those changes in real time.

When did we first hear about these new mobile ranking changes?



Is this a real-time or delayed algorithm?Q

In December 2014, Google told us they are experimenting with a new mobile friendly ranking algorithm.


Can you be partially mobile friendly according to Google?Q

No, a web page is only mobile friendly or not mobile friendly, you cannot be more or less mobile friendly than another web page. It is a yes or no on being mobile friendly or not.


No, this is only for organic listings, AdWords may have their own mobile factors but this is unrelated.

Will my non mobile friendly web site drop in the rankings on April 21st?



Will this impact AdWords ads?Q

Not necessarily. Google said it can take a few weeks for the algorithm to roll out. So you might not notice the change for a few days to a few weeks.


After it does roll out, how badly will my non mobile site be impacted?Q

Truth is, it is unknown right now. We were told it will be more significant than both the Panda and Penguin algorithms, which may mean that more than 11% of the search results will change from this.


Currently no, you won’t. Several desktop signals still actually power mobile ranking. So slow mobile sites with fast desktop counterparts are one of those examples.

Will large brand or navigational related mobile queries be impacted?



What about site speed? If my mobile site is slow but my desktop site is fast, will I be negatively impacted?


Not really. If a large brand has not gone mobile friendly and a searcher is looking for them in Google’s mobile results, Google will still likely rank that brand in the first position even if the page is not mobile friendly. Ultimately, relevancy is more important and it outweighs this mobile algorithm. So if Home Depot was not mobile friendly and you searched for [home depot] on your iPhone tomorrow, it would still rank number one.


Didn’t Android Apps already go live with this mobile friendly algorithm?Q

Yes, in February when Google announced the mobile friendly upgrade, Android apps installed on devices would benefit if the Android searcher is signed in. This past week, even non installed apps also began benefiting from this mobile friendly algorithm?


What are the most common mobile SEO mistakes?Q

Google published a document with the top seven mistakes webmasters make when going mobile friendly.


The mobile friendly “signal” is, in the end, only one of many different signals that Google uses to rank pages. It may be that if you have the right page for a search, then you’ll still show regardless if you’re not mobile friendly. In fact, Google even gave Re/code a reassuring statement to this effect — that high-quality content could rank well, even if it’s not mobile friendly. Or course, it also could not rank well.


What if I’m the right answer but not a big site nor mobile-friendly?Q

Absolutely not. Although there are shady SEOs saying so.

Do you need a special mobile sitemap file?



Will Google delist my site from search if I do not go mobile friendly?


No, in fact, most mobile sites do not need a separate mobile sitemap at all.A

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