By now you’ve probably heard a thing or two about the impending update to Google’s algorithm, scheduled for release sometime between mid- and late April. While it’s debatable whether or not Google is actually telling us everything when it comes tomaking changes to their algorithm, this one is scheduled to have a big enough impact to necessitate transparency. To quote from the release on the official Webmasters blog, “we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
Last week, Google held an hour-long Q&A session to discuss the changes that were going to be made and how those changes would effect the SERPs. Of that Q&A, there are two main things to take away and understand in order to avoid getting hit by the update.
- Changes to start going live April 21st (give or take). According to the Google techs in the video, these updates won’t all go live at once — it’ll take a few days to a week for it to roll out completely. While they did specifically mention April 21st, they did also say that they would not be working on any set timeline. To be on the safe side, make any needed changes to your site no later than April 15th.
- Either your site is mobile friendly, or it isn’t. There aren’t any “degrees” of mobile-friendliness in the new update — either you’re in or you’re out. And if you want to find out which one you are, check out Google’s newly released mobile friendly test. All you have to do is enter in your URL and wait for it to scan the page. If it tells you your page is mobile friendly, you can relax. Otherwise, Google will give you a list of suggestions to improve your site. Follow through with those as soon as you can, and you’ll be set.
Despite the “significant impact” this update is about to have on search results, this update seems remarkably cut and dry, as opposed to many of the other updates that Google either frequently — or infrequently — makes. As long as you remain focused on having aclear and driven UX on all devices, Google’s updates should never hinder your performance online — actually, they should boost your performance without fail.