Google Rank Algorithm Update: What You Need to Know

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Recommending mobile-responsive designs for quite some time, Google finally put their foot down by going through a major algorithm update in 2015. This update has had a significant impact on mobile search results worldwide. If your site still isn’t optimized for mobile devices, users will have a difficult time finding it during their mobile searches, making the site irrelevant and low-quality in the eyes of Google.

But what exactly does this mean? And what steps do you have to take to make sure your rank isn’t affected?

Effects on Ranks

Even before this update came out, webmasters were aware that Google looks at mobile usability as part of its ranking calculations. Sites that are suitably optimized for mobile devices rank higher than those that aren’t. But until the update came into play, it hadn't been very clear which factors Google considers mobile rankings.

With the update, Google made it clear what it looks at for a website to qualify as mobile-friendly. Criteria includes:

  • Big enough text to read on mobile devices
  • Accurate mobile URLs
  • Links set far enough apart from each other
  • Googlebots crawling enabled
  • All pages of site must be mobile-friendly

Mobile-friendliness is Page-by-Page

In the eyes of Google, your site is either mobile-friendly or it isn’t. Google bases this on a page-by-page-case, meaning it looks at all of the pages on your site to determine if you qualify as mobile-friendly or not. If some pages on your site don’t qualify, your overall site could fail the test.

CSS & JavaScript Matter

If your pages are currently blocking CSS and Javascript, Google will regard this as not mobile-friendly, and won’t give your site a mobile-friendly label. To avoid this from happening, you must allow Googlebot to crawl both CSS and Javascript.

How Do You Know If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly?

If you’re unsure whether your web pages qualify as mobile-friendly, there are ways to find out. Google has launched an easy new tool to test whether your site passes or fails the mobile test. Try out the tool here.

If your site currently isn’t mobile-friendly, be sure to work with a developer to update. If you’re looking for a developer or support, just let us know – our team is here and ready to help you.

For more information, check out Google’s Principles of Site Design and Mobile SEO resources.

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