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What is Google’s Mobile-friendly Ranking Algorithm and SEO

What is Google’s Mobile-friendly Ranking Algorithm and SEO

by: Andreas Mouskos

​April 21st will see Google launch its mobile-friendly ranking algorithm which comes as no surprise considering the exponential increase in people accessing the internet through their mobile devices today.

Being that web based user experience is tantamount makes the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal an inevitable outcome.

So what exactly do you need to know about this mobile-friendly ranking algorithm?

It will run on a page-by-page basis and in real-time meaning you can get your website mobile-friendly at any time.  As soon as Google detects the adjustment, your site will be tagged as mobile-friendly and benefit from the algorithm.

The algorithm will take up to a week to complete on a global scale.

It's not based on how friendly your website is.  Your site is either mobile friendly - or it's not. Simple.  

The change will affect all mobile searches in all languages worldwide and it will have significant impact on search results.  It will not affect desktop search results.

You can check whether your website is mobile-friendly through Google's test tool that can be found here.

What are some of the mobile SEO guidelines you should adhere to then to make your website mobile friendly?

Make sure that Google understands your mobile site setup.

Select your most suitable mobile configuration – there are three – responsive web design, dynamic serving and separate URLs.  If you use more than one configuration on your site, ensure that that each provides the right signals to search engines on a page-level basis.

Irrespective of the mobile configuration you choose, make certain that Google is notified when a page is being formatted for mobile. This will help Google better serve your content to mobile searchers in search results.

Ensure that Googlebot always has access to the Javascript, CSS and image files that your website uses so that Googlebot can view your site like any other user.  You can do this by using the ‘Fetch as Google’ feature in Google Webmaster Tools.  By disallowing Googlebot to crawl these assets negatively impacts Googles rendering of its algorithm and indexing of your content.  As a result, your rankings will be hurt.    

Ensure that all content and video are playable on your site, for example, use HTML5 standards for animation, utilise video embedding that can be played on all devices, and where you can – include a transcript of the video for browsers that don’t support video format or that utilise assistive browsing technologies.

Try and avoid faulty URL redirections – this results in a very annoying user experience.  In other words, you must make certain that you redirect mobile users on each desktop URL to the corresponding mobile URL.  A redirect to any other page would be considered incorrect.  A user wants to be directed to the specific information they are searching for and become discouraged if they aren’t.

Ensure that your cross-links steer towards the correct equivalent page.

A mobile site that loads slowly will irritate the mobile searcher to no end.  Nobody wants to have to wait for ages to see your content.  Google’s PageSpeed Insights will allow you to test for and identify any problems your page may have that slow it down.

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