When Google announced a major algorithm change related to mobile-friendliness that would take effect on April 21, it certainly piqued everyone’s interest. Google is not always publically forthcoming with algorithm changes or the specific nuances that will affect website ranking. Not only was this change publically known, Google also provided several tools to check a site’s mobile vitality. So what’s happened to site ranking since the change was implemented more than a month ago?
Not much. Surprisingly, search has not been turned upside down on its head. While some sites have seen a decrease in ranking, the majority of sites have been unaffected. Many companies did heed the warning and make adjustments to their mobile presence, which minimized the impact. It also shows that many companies were already mobile-compliant, minimizing concerns about the algorithm change.
Despite the good news for most, it’s not wise to simply check mobile off your marketing list. The impact of mobile will continue to affect ranking, and here are the three things Spindustry recommends that you monitor.
1. Stay up-to-date on mobile best practices.
Google’s not the only search engine taking mobile into account for web ranking. Bing is now also using mobile-friendliness as a ranking criteria. While the impact of this change has been minimally felt, future algorithm changes will include various mobile considerations.
2. Monitor organic numbers.
Watch for trends in the number of people who visit your site, the number of conversions and the number of first-time visitors – all from organic search. While you may know your website’s current keyword ranking, monitoring these stats are a good indication if a rank has recently changed, or it may expose rank changes on keywords you were not monitoring.
3. Remember your website visitors.
Having Google tell you to create a mobile-friendly website is a valid reason to make mobile a priority. However, it’s not all about the rank. It’s also about your customers – which is one of the primary reasons Google made the change in the first place. Having a good mobile presence is simply good usability for website visitors. We know some of your web traffic is visiting from a mobile device. Even if a sub-par mobile experience doesn’t “ding” your company’s website in search engines, why would you want to your users to have to deal with a frustrating mobile experience?
The Big Picture
At your next company website metrics meeting you’ll have good news to report – no drastic search ranking changes! And when the questions arise whether or not it was worth the time preparing for this change, let your colleagues know that the impact of mobile is only just beginning. Reiterate the items above that you’ll monitor. If changes start occurring, especially from organic traffic, pull together the marketing, SEO and development team to discuss – and make any necessary website changes. You’ll be far ahead of the competition who decided that Google’s algorithm change was a bust and moved onto other initiatives.
Need to check your website for mobile-friendliness? Use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool.