What Is This New Algorithm Update?
Google has announced that on April 21st they will be putting into place a new algorithm that focuses on a website’s “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking factor. While mobile optimization and performance are nothing new in the eyes of Google and SEOs alike, this is the first time that Google has really put its foot down in terms of mobile optimization.
Google recently released statistics that report that as many as 94% of internet users use a mobile phone to look up local information, with 77% of those searches happening at home or at work. So it goes without saying that mobile-friendliness should become a standard and not just a strong recommendation.
How Does This Impact My Website?
Besides the obvious experience for your users and the overall performance of your website, Google has stated that this algorithm update will have much greater impact than the Panda and Penguin updates. Panda affected roughly 12% of all English language searches, while Penguin affected roughly 4% of the global searches across desktop and mobile devices. So yes, this update will be substantial.
Marketers and developers alike will need to be more cognizant of their mobile user experience moving forwards. This aspect of development needs to shift from an afterthought to a forethought.
How Do I Know If I Have A Problem?
Since late January / early February, Google has been sending out a steady stream of usability warnings from Webmaster Tools letting webmasters know the mobile issues on their websites and the steps required to remedy them. The emails look like this: