The latest Google algorithm update is a doozy for the mobile landscape: The algorithm will now identify websites as mobile-friendly and use that identification to determine the site's prominence in search results. The move aims to help mobile users find the most relevant search results possible for their specific devices. Search Engine Land reports that Google expects the new tweaks to its current formula to have a "significant impact" on mobile search results.
Moving Toward Mobile
The change doesn't go into effect until April 21, so companies have until then to make the necessary adjustments to their websites to avoid a downgrade in their search prominence.
The new update expands upon similar changes that Google implemented in 2013. This expansion isn't much of a surprise — as Search Engine Land notes, the company has long hinted that it wants to improve search results for mobile users and to incentivize businesses to improve their mobile offerings.
Now, the search engine giant is making its move. For companies that have already built mobile-optimized websites, the Google algorithm change doesn't pose much threat — but brands that have resisted the change will soon see steep consequences.
Building a Better Mobile Experience
Several resources are available to companies that need to upgrade their mobile wares — including easy-to-follow guidance from Google on how websites can comply with its algorithm.
Two of Google's best tools are its mobile usability reports and its mobile-friendly testing tool, both of which help marketers examine their websites' areas of need and strengthen the factors that Google's algorithm values. Google has also published a more general set of guidelines, but with the testing tool, you can see exactly where your website is falling short of expectations.
Depending on how much you've invested in mobile offerings so far, optimizing for a mobile experience can be minor and painless or costly and time-intensive. One way to ensure a positive mobile experience is to incorporate responsive Web design into your site, which eliminates the need the to create a second mobile-friendly version and guarantees that users have a seamless experience across all devices. Whichever approach you take, there's no way around the need to modernize: Mobile users demand a mobile-capable experience, and Google is working to make sure its search product meets those demands.