Labelled as ‘Mobilegeddon’ by parts of the digital industry, Google’s next algorithm update, due to release on April 21st, is set to shake things up for sites that might not have considered a mobile layout important.

What is it?
For the past few years Google has always put the user journey at the top of the priority list when creating a website: ensuring your visitor can get to the information, service or product that they are after, not only quickly, but in a manner that will make them come back to you again and again. It’s fair to say that it hasn’t really been clear whether a site needs a layout specifically for mobile, and whether there are any criteria to hit in order to make it ‘successful’. Roll on April 21st.

Unfortunately there still aren’t any specific details on what will change and what Google will be looking for. However, given comments made by Google’s Zineb Ait Bahajji from the Webmaster Trends team at SMX Munich recently, it looks like any site that hasn’t considered mobile should be worried, click here to find out more.

It has been speculated that this update will impact around 40% of global searches which, in comparison to Panda’s 12%, is definitely set to shake up rankings on both desktop and mobile.

What can you do?
So what can you do to make sure that your website doesn’t fall foul of a Google penalty. We don’t need to know specifics to know that certain improvements will help your site maintain its positions after the update, and the subsequent refreshes that we can predict will happen over the coming months.

Here’s our top checklist:

1.     Firstly, make sure Google can find your website. Make sure it loads properly on a mobile. If it can’t be seen, it can’t be counted.

2.     Create a mobile layout. Many web themes come with a responsive layout as standard, whereas some bespoke layouts need it creating. Making sure you have one of the two will set you ahead of others instantly.

3.     Check your individual landing pages. Make sure that it isn’t just your Homepage that works well on a mobile. You want to keep your traffic, not just attract it, and internal landing pages often get overlooked in favour of a stylised Homepage.

4.     Test your user experience. You are building a website to attract visitors, never sacrifice the user experience to meet an SEO goal.

Why should you pay attention?
The way that we use and interact online is constantly changing and 2015 looks set to be the year that mobile search surpasses desktop. With multi-screen browsing, and inter-device connectivity allowing you to start browsing on one device and picking it up again later on another device, users are changing and challenging the way that website and applications need to function to meet demand.

As with the majority of Google’s big algorithm updates, we expect there to be numerous data refreshes scheduled in the following months also, so if you aren’t impacted in the first instance, then take heed as you might feel the impact later on in the year.

The big takeaway from this is the importance of a mobile user’s experience, and with 50% of all Google searches carried out on a mobile, can you really afford to ignore it?

To read more, or to see Google’s original post, see here:

For any questions on making your website mobile friendly, please contact one of our team.

Written by Jon Walker April of 2015