What You Should Know about Google’s Long Awaited Mobile Friendly Update

Laura Ginn

For the past several months Google has been warning of an update to their algorithms that will affect the results in mobile searches. The cut-off date was targeted for 21 April and website owners were told to update their sites to a more mobile-friendly environment or face the possibility of losing rank in mobile searches.


Some were savvy enough to heed these warnings whilst others decided to wait to see how it all played out. In either case, it will be weeks before Google has any definitive results to report and there is still time to make the recommended updates if you are concerned about losing mobile traffic. Before panicking, here are a few things Google wants you to know about their latest update.

Google Empathises with Mobile Searchers

The reason behind this latest update, according to Google, is that they ‘feel the pain’ of those searching from a mobile phone. They believe too many sites are not mobile-friendly and the person searching is not able to interact with pages that come up in the search. Of prime importance, Google wants you to know that they are simply going to remove pages which are not mobile friendly from mobile search results. They will instead favour those pages that are mobile-friendly, thus providing a better user experience.

Five Key Points Google Wants You to Know

If you feel that your site has been penalised by this latest update, here are five things Google wants you to know.

  1. Since they are the ‘judge’ as to what constitutes a mobile-friendly site, they have made it perfectly clear what the conditions are for being mobile-friendly. If you are unsure whether or not your site meets their criteria, here is a handy tool that you can use that will tell you if you have any issues.
  2. This update will only affect results displayed on mobile phones. Other mobile devices such as laptops and tablets will still be handled as they were before. In other words, this update will not affect any search results except those on mobile phones.
  3. Branded searches will still be handled the same. If someone searches for your particular brand, it should come up in the same position it did before the update. Their logic is that the user is expecting to find a specific site and to not find it is even worse than coming upon a site that is not mobile user friendly.
  4. Entire sites will not be impacted as the update is currently only being run on pages, not the entire site. Therefore, if there is no way to update your entire site, at least the pages which can be made mobile friendly will show in mobile search results.
  5. Finally, Google says that you shouldn’t panic if you didn’t make that 21 April target date. The algorithm dynamic is in real-time, so at that point when you are able to institute changes, it is probable that your ‘lost traffic’ will be recovered.

It is still too early to know how these changes will impact the mobile phone user experience so we will all need to wait until Google releases their first set of stats. In the meantime, since they make the rules, it might be wise to play the game their way and make the necessary changes if you are looking for traffic from mobile phone searches.