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Getting Ready for Google’s ‘Mobile-Friendly Update’5 min read

5 min read

[vc_row][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_raw_html]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[/vc_raw_html][text_output]If you haven’t optimised your website’s mobile experience yet, it is time to do so now! Google has announced recently that they will roll out a new update to their search algorithm that will use ‘mobile-friendliness’ as a ranking signal.

According to Google, the update will affect all mobile searches and will ‘significantly’ impact search results from April 21, 2015.

What do they mean by ‘significantly’? Well, a Google representative has said that it will impact search results more than the Panda and Penguin updates did (source: Search Engine Land).

Although the specifics of this update are yet to be revealed, this article will help you to prepare your site for the ‘mobile-friendliness’ update.

Here at Croud, we also want to measure the impact of this update. This is why we will follow up with another article shortly after the update has been rolled out in April. This article will reveal in detail how this algorithm change has affected mobile rankings, so watch this space![/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]How can I tell if my site is ‘mobile-friendly’?[/custom_headline][text_output]Last November, Google introduced an update to mobile searches in which organic listings appear with a ‘mobile-friendly’ label if they are, well, mobile-friendly. This is supposed to make it easier for people to find sites which are user-friendly when browsing from their smartphones.

Example: If searching for ‘rubber ducks’ on a smartphone, we can see straight away that some organic listings appear with or without the label:



Whether your site is considered ‘mobile-friendly’ solely depends on how Google’s crawlers evaluate it.

In the rubber duck example, if we actually compare the sites with each other, it is obvious why Google deems the page at position 1 as not mobile-friendly:




For less obvious cases, Google provides this tool to enable you to check whether your site is considered mobile-friendly or not.

Looking at the above example,, the tool considers the site as a poor mobile experience due to the following reasons:

  • The text is too small to read
  • The content is wider than the screen
  • Mobile viewport is not set
  • The links are too close together

The tool also offers advice and suggestions on how your site’s mobile experience can be improved, so it’s a great starting point.

Apart from this, Google offers other tools that can help you:

  • Google’s PageSpeed Insights  – Type in a page URL and you will see recommendations on how you can improve its page-loading speed and usability for mobile or desktop devices. The tool also rates the page’s speed and user experience. So far, whether the ‘mobile-friendly’ label appears in search results seems to depend only on a good user experience rating. Whether the loading speed rating will be picked up as a ranking factor with the update on April 21, 2015, or at a later point, is still unknown.
  • Mobile Usability Report in Google Webmaster Tool – This report points out which mobile usability issues are occurring on which pages of your website as shown below.



We strongly advise you to use these tools to check whether your website is picked up as ‘mobile-friendly’ and to find out how you can improve your site’s mobile experience.[/text_output][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]Why should you care?[/custom_headline][text_output]For some businesses, mobile hasn’t been a major focus so far. One of the reasons is because of the lack of conversions that come from mobile visitors, despite traffic volumes from smartphones showing an upward trend. Even though it is true that accessing a website via a mobile device rarely contributes to sales directly, it surely has changed the way in which users go about purchasing online. I have outlined this in more detail in my February blog post, check it out if you haven’t yet.

If you are curious about how the update could impact traffic to your site, you can research it easily;

  1. Log into your Webmaster Tools account and download the data from the Search Queries report
  2. Go to the Keyword Planner Tool in Google Adwords and select ‘Get search volume for a list of keywords’
  3. Copy and paste the list of keywords from the excel sheet into the textbox
  4. Now, make sure to select the right country or countries
  5. Click on ‘Get search volume’
  6. By default the graph will show you a monthly breakdown of the volume trends, but the drop-down menu allows you to switch to a ‘Breakdown by Device’.

If we go back to our rubber ducks example, we can now see that 31% of all related searches in the UK are from mobile devices.



The JustDucks website can therefore expect a decline in traffic from this share of searches from April 21, 2015, depending on how far the mobile friendliness update will drag down their rankings.

Keep an eye out for the next blog post when the update is released. In the meantime if you have any questions on this please get in contact with the team at Croud.[/text_output][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][visibility type=”hidden-desktop”][gap size=”20px”][/visibility][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-2″][/vc_column][/vc_row]