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Google’s Mobile Algorithm May Be an SEO Doomsday

Zachary Pope 4/3/15 3:27 PM

Did you notice how in the image above, the website looks different on each device? Here why you should care. The web world is in frenzy to update old outdated websites before April 21, 2015. Google has announced that on April 21, 2015 their search algorithm will begin to factor in whether your site is mobile friendly or not. We’ll call it Google’s Mobile Friendly Algorithm, until Google officially names it. Initially, it isn’t expected to affect many mobile Google searches, but it will quickly ramp up and some sources are saying it could affect 20% or more of mobile searches, with some people saying up to 40%. I believe 40% is a little high, at least for right now, but it is possible that could be the case by next year.

So what does all of this mean for you?

Your position on Google Mobile Search could be significantly affected! The key word here is mobile. Google said that the mobile friendly ranking algorithm will have a “significant impact” on mobile searches; so I wouldn’t expect this to hurt your desktop rankings much if any at all. You may be thinking, well so what… Well think about this, Google accounts for nearly 86% of mobile web organic search traffic worldwide according to emarketer, a leading marketing research firm. That means if a customer is searching for your business on a mobile device they are mostly likely doing so using Also, it was recently reported that regardless of your industry, mobile search currently makes up about 30% of total traffic. I’m sure you are beginning to see the impact this could have on your business.

Imagine this hypothetical situation, last month you had 400 views total and 50% of those converted in to buyers. (How awesome!) So that’s 200 buyers, but 30% came from mobile, so that’s 60 buyers from mobile. If the algorithm actually affects 40% of mobile searches, then that’s like saying you just lost 24 of the 200 buyers of your product. That accounts for 12% of your total online business.

How do I know my site is mobile friendly?

The fastest and easiest way is to go to Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Page. Alternatively, if you use Google’s Webmaster tools, you should receive a warning if your site is not compliant. The images below can help you navigate the menus of Webmaster Tools and know what to look for.

If you see this warning, then Google is telling you your site is not mobile friendly, and it will begin to affect your mobile search rankings on April 21st.


If you see this message on all of your site variants, then you are good to go and you can rest easy on April 21st!


The image below shows you how to access Google Webmaster Tools’ new Mobile Usability section.


How can I fix my site?

There are a few ways to fix the problem of a non-mobile friendly site. The first option, and our highest recommended option for people who did not build their own website, is to have your coding adjusted to be mobile friendly by a web development company like Image In A Box. If you current website uses CSS then it is not as difficult to change, but if you are using a legacy website based on Adobe’s Flash or older versions of HTML, then you will be better off to have your site completely redesigned.

Secondly, you can learn how make the changes yourself and then bring your site up to compliance. This will probably take you the most amount of time, but could cost the least depending on how you value your time.

Lastly, if you are using WordPress, there are a few plugins out there that can add a mobile version to your website. This option is not highly recommended as the mobile version of your website, that these plugins ad, will have a completely different look and feel from the desktop your website.

The impending change to the Google algorithm may seem harsh, and it is, but it is to be expected with the number of searches taking place on mobile devices. Don’t fret though, your web developer should be able to help you, and if not, or you are in the search for one, look no further!