Google’s most recent algorithm change has many across the internet fearing a potential “Mobilegeddon.” And it’s understandable why—this change will impact websites in a very big way.
Google’s mobile search results will now favor “mobile friendly” websites, ranking them higher than sites optimized only for desktops and laptops—a change that’s expected to greatly influence where people buy their products and services.
Considering that nearly 50% of online search traffic comes from mobile users, it makes sense why Google is making the leap to promote a mobile-friendly web design that’s easier to read on smaller-format devices.
But, despite our increasingly mobile society, not everyone is quite ready for this change.
According to a recent study that tested 25,000 websites ranked as “top sites” by analytic websites like Alexa and Majestic Million, approximately 10,000 sites failed Google’s mobile-readiness test—including well-known sites like The Department of Homeland Security and Drugstore.com.
Such websites don’t meet the following criteria for being deemed “mobile friendly” by Google:
- Avoiding software that isn’t common on mobile devices, such as Flash
- Using text that is readable without zooming
- Sizing content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
- Spacing links far enough apart to be easily clickable
So, how will Google’s algorithm update impact a website that isn’t mobile friendly?
If your website fails the mobile-readiness test, your site will rank lower in mobile search results—regardless of SEO best practices—making it more difficult for users to find. As a result, traffic to your website will decline.
However, mobile friendliness is not the ultimate determinant of where your website ranks. Google still takes into consideration a variety of other factors, such as the intent of the search query. In other words, a web page that isn’t mobile friendly but contains high-quality content will still rank higher than a mobile-friendly web page with low-quality content.
Although Google’s algorithm change might be alarming, the good news is that as soon as your website becomes mobile friendly, it will bounce back to a higher ranking in mobile search results.