Google announce update to Mobile Search

Google has this week announced that it will be making an update to the way mobile search rankings are suggested, and unlike many of the other updates, the announcement has come up well ahead of time and the web giants have even given an expected date to roll out the update – thanks Google!

Initial reports suggest that this update will come into play on the 21st April, however
Google Webmaster Trends analyst, John Mueller, has stressed that the date isn’t 100% certain but did say it wouldn’t happen before that date, which gives webmasters a little time to get things into place.

So, you’re probably wondering what it’s all about. You can find the full article on Google’s blog here, but we’ve also put together some of the most frequently asked questions, which you can find below…

What is the new mobile search update?

Google regularly make updates to their algorithm but these are mostly quite small and affect a small amount of searches. This update is likely to have a much bigger impact and will significantly affect searches made on mobile devices.

How will I know if I have been affected?

This time around Google is on a mission to let webmasters know about issues ahead of time, if they think your site can be better optimised they will let you know via a webmaster tools message. You can check for issues in webmaster tools by going to Search Traffic > Mobile Usability.

Alternatively, you get can test individual pages using Google’s mobile friendly page speed tool:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

How will it affect my site rankings?

This update is set to have a large impact in which sites are served to mobile users. In order to improve user experience, Google is making efforts to send traffic from mobile search to sites which are mobile friendly.

This means you can expect to see companies with mobile friendly sites appearing much higher in search pages than those without. So it’s going to be much harder to compete if your site isn’t ready for mobile.

Although this update will only affect mobile searches it is likely to make a large impact on eCommerce sites due to a significant increase in the amount of mobile web traffic.

How do I become mobile friendly?

Google have focused on five main areas of mobile usability that they expect sites to comply with in order to rank well for mobile searches. These are the most common mobile errors that users have spotted in webmaster tools.

Content not sized to viewport.

When viewing your site on mobile you should not have to scroll right until you’ve zoomed.

Small font size

Google recommends a fond size of 16px. Anything below this they will consider too small.

Touch elements too close

This report shows the URLs for sites where touch elements, such as buttons and navigational links, are so close to each other that a mobile user cannot easily tap a desired element with their finger without also tapping a neighbouring element.

Viewport not configured

Because visitors to your site use a variety of devices with varying screen sizes—from large desktop monitors, to tablets and small smart phones—your pages should specify a viewport using the meta viewport tag.

Flash usage

Most mobile browsers do not render Flash-based content. Therefore, mobile visitors will not be able to use a page that relies on Flash in order to display content, animations, or navigation.

To find out how we can help improve your site’s mobile usability call our Business Development Team on 01642 633604 today!

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