Four Ways to Prepare for Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Changes

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Tomorrow, Google will unveil a new algorithm update that includes using mobile friendliness as a major ranking factor in mobile search results.

As a starting point, it’s important to note that the changes in Google’s ranking criteria only impact searches conducted on smartphones. The ratings system will not affect desktop or tablet searches.

However, Google’s algorithm update carries significant consequences for how corporate websites will be ranked along with the volume of traffic and potential leads being driven to them.

The good news is that there are steps that marketing departments can take to strengthen the mobile friendliness of their organizations’ websites before these changes go into effect.

customer searching on mobile device1. Create a mobile site—whether it be responsive, dynamic, or separate URLs. Creating a mobile-optimized site will improve your organization’s website rankings and drive higher traffic to the site, regardless of whether it’s a responsive or dynamic mobile website or if separate URLs are created for mobile visitors. Creating a mobile website that’s easy to view on a smartphone by sizing content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom will make it simpler for visitors to access content and will strengthen your site ranking through improved mobile usability.

2. Construct mobile-friendly labels for your specific mobile site. Since 2012, Google has been testing mobile-friendly labels in its search results. Entering these labels, which Google recently began extending to website administrators, can improve the mobile website experience for visitors while also improving your organization’s mobile-friendly site ranking. Google has established certain eligibility requirements for introducing these labels. First, check to see if your organization meets these conditions.

3. Use Google Webmaster Tools to test your site and determine whether it is “mobile friendly.” This web service allows webmasters to check the indexing status and optimize visibility of their websites. It includes a set of tools intended to conduct a range of capabilities, including checking for broken links, analyzing the best keywords for SEO, and checking URLs to report whether a website has a mobile-friendly design. These tests will reveal whether there are errors or changes that need to be made to the site.

4. Benchmark mobile rankings and traffic prior to the update. Compare the rank of your mobile website with others in your industry both before the Google algorithmic update and prior to making any adjustments to the look-and-feel and functionality of your company’s mobile website. Benchmarking will enable webmasters to compare rank improvements following usability updates made to the site and allow them to more easily decide how these changes will be affected after Google implements its algorithm updates. 

Taking these steps will help improve the look and feel and usability of your mobile website which will help improve the user experience and drive greater traffic to your organization’s site—both before and after the Google algorithm changes have been executed.

As an aside, it’s worth noting that Revana Digital, a part of our Growth Services division, has created a hypothesis and test to understand the overall impact to the mobile SEO world. We plan to share the results once they’re available.

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