GOOGLE MOBILE-FRIENDLY RANKING PENALTY RECOVERY

If your website is not mobile-friendly, as of the 21st April 2015 Google began penalising sites and you may of suffered a significant traffic loss from the mobile search results.

Summary of what you need to know before ‘Mobilegeddon’

If we only have your attention for 5 minutes, digest the 6 key information points below. Speak to us if any of this is confusing, we’ll offer free no obligation advice.

Your deadline

Google announced that non mobile friendly sites will suffer a loss of rankings on 21st April 2015 – the update rolled out over a period of weeks.

Google warned you

John Mueller said they are pre-announcing this penalty to give website owners a chance to prepare – this is a first!

Rankings lost

This Google update will provide no dgrees of mobile friendliness, it will on/off in terms of negative ranking factors to your website.

It's BIG

Google’s Aleyda Solis confirmed the update will have a bigger effect than Google’s vicious Penguin and Panda updates – they penalised 13% of ALL websites online.

Very BIG

Mobile search traffic can typically be 50% of your total inbound traffic, some cases higher, some lower depending on your niche.

No label, no rank

If you search for your site on a mobile device and you don’t have the ‘Mobile-Friendly’ label next to each page in the search results, that page is at risk

MAKE YOUR SITE MOBILE FRIENDLY

Use a ‘mobile responsive’ web design service. This is the best option as your website will change size depending on the device the user is viewing it on – adhering to the new guidelines and better serving your visitors.

Responsive mobile-friendly coding or migration available:

magento
wordpress
html5
shopify
joomla
drupal

Benefits of fixing this before the penalty hits:

  • Avoid a potentially huge loss of mobile search rankings, traffic and income.
  • Leapfrog over your competitors’ in the rankings – if they haven’t been responsible enough to take action, they will drop and you will replace their positions.
  • Increase conversions by providing a better user experience to your visitors – which is Google’s ultimate goal for this mobile-friendly algorithm update.

How significant will the Google mobile friendly algorithm update be?

As we mentioned in the summary, Zineb Ait Bahajji (a Google webmaster trends analyst) announced at the SMX event in Munich that this algorithm will be much greater than Google Panda or Google Penguin.

google-mobile-factor-larger-1426596134

These are two previous updates that turned the internet upside down. What was the impact they had?

  • Google Panda: At its most volatile point, Google Panda impacted over 13% of all search queries online
  • Google Penguin: The highest recorded impact of Google Penguin was 4% of all search queries online.

Estimated Mobile Friendly Algorithm Update Impact:

Websites in various niches generally have different volumes of traffic from mobile, tablet and desktop. Typically you can expect your mobile traffic to range between 30-70% of your total organic search traffic.

Losing this volume can be really dangerous to the survival of an online business.

This also suggests why Google has added banners to their own webmaster blogs alerting users as well as sending out emails like this:

google-wmt-email

Again, this has never been done before so it shows they are attempting to prepare people for what is coming – they also are protecting their backs if the rankings shifts are as big as they say they are!

How can I check if I’ll be impacted by the mobile-friendly algorithm?

The two basic options you have are:

First option: Run your site through our free tool using below. When it’s finished examining pages your website we’ll email your websites score and any risk factors you need to get addressed.

MOBILE-FRIENDLY CHECK TOOL

Second option: Depending on how technically minded you are you can manually run through this short checklist of common mistakes Google has highlighted for going mobile-friendly.

  1. Check for slow loading mobile pages
  2. Look for CSS, image files and JavaScript that may be blocked
  3. Check for faulty redirects (301, 302 server redirects)
  4. Check for functional content like videos that don’t play
  5. Find mobile-only 404 page not found errors
  6. Irrelevant links on separate mobile sites – when your main site translates a cross link to an unrelated page
  7. Popup banner advertising to force app downloads and interrupt a user’s journey.

These do not cover all problems though; you can use this Chrome emulator to view your pages as a mobile site:

We also strongly recommend running your site through this official Google mobile-friendly testing tool.

How to check what percentage your mobile traffic is

If you want to check how badly the mobile friendly algorithm update is going to hit you or it’s already past that date and you’ve noticed a huge drop in traffic, this is how to use your Google analytics to check the damages.

Step 1:

Login to your property and navigate to Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium

mobile-friendly-analytics-1

Step 2:

Now that you see the various traffic sources, you need to click on Add Segment

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Step 3:

When the segments panel opens up, tick the Mobile Traffic button and select Apply

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Step 4:

You will now be able to see your total traffic breakdown by referring source. As you can clearly see below under Google / Organic your Organic Mobile Traffic will be listed here.

mobile-friendly-analytics-4

Step 5:

You can use the date filters to now view how much organic mobile traffic you get every month and compare it against a previous date if you think you’ve been penalised by the Google mobile friendly algorithm update.

mobile-friendly-analytics-5

What Next?

You need to make sure you check your website is not at risk to this update. Even though the update is not making everyone that happy, they have been kind enough this time to give people a heads up (which they didn’t do for Google Panda and Penguin updates).

Be smart and make sure your site passes all the tests

MOBILE-FRIENDLY CHECK TOOL

Responsive mobile-friendly coding or migration available:

magento
wordpress
html5
shopify
joomla
drupal