The facts you need to know about Google’s ranking of mobile-friendly websites

It’s caused all kinds of tizz, with web developers cashing in on Google’s announcement that they will be giving more credence in ranking to mobile-friendly sites. Everywhere I turn people are in a panic – largely because it is very rare that Google is so specific about an algorithm change.

But before you panic, these are the facts you need to know.

Google on iPhone

The ranking does not affect searches on tablets or desktops. Google has been very clear that this change is only affecting searches on mobile devices.

The algorithm applies to individual pages, not entire sites. The algorithm is looking at pages that are legible and usable when used by a mobile device. So if half of your pages are mobile-friendly but the remainder of your site isn’t, the mobile-friendly pages will see a positive response from the change.

Outward links to non-mobile friendly sites are not penalised. If your site is mobile-friendly but it links to a number of sites that are not, this will not affect your ranking.

Content is still a massive factor for ranking. Despite the change, Google has very clearly stated that there are a variety of signals that are used for ranking – pages that contain great content and are relevant to the specific Google query will still rank above sites that are mobile-friendly and don’t contain as high-quality content.

Indexing is constant, and so any changes you make from now will still have an impact. It is estimated that changes in search results will be evident in approximately one week from the roll-out, but any changes that you do make from this point onwards will be indexed as per normal so there is no need to panic if your pages aren’t currently mobile-friendly.

You can check your site using the Google mobile-friendly tool – if you’re stuck, a quick call to your friendly web developer will help.

Is your site responsive or mobile? If not, are you looking to make the change?

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Melinda Leyshon is a business copywriter with over 15 years experience in corporate publishing and strategy development. She has worked with some of Sydney's leading brands to deliver SEO and direct response copywriting, brand development and more. She has a huge success rate with business award applications and, throwing small business and corporate tenders into the mix, you have one of Australia's most experienced business copywriters! She also loves triathlon and has a serious penchant for licorice. And chocolate. Together.