Google announces ‘mobile-friendliness’ to be a ranking signal

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
That’s right, Google have surprisingly revealed the actual date the algorithm will be implemented, to give everyone the opportunity to prepare by making their website responsive.
What does this change mean?
As more and more people are using mobile devices to access the Internet, Google’s algorithms must adapt to these usage patterns, in order for the user to get relevant, high quality and timely results.
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55% said they would give up caffeine to keep their mobile phones. This statistic emphasises how mobile usage and mobile search is constantly increasing, therefore it’s time for everyone to make the change to responsive. At this stage however, there is no suggestion that desktop search results will be affected for non-responsive websites.
Google revealed that this forthcoming mobile-ranking algorithm will label websites as mobile-friendly and adjust rankings appropriately. Websites with mobile compatibility and mobile app connectivity will benefit from higher rankings in mobile search results, however, if your site is not responsive, you could potentially experience a decrease in search rankings.
This algorithm change will also provide users with more relevant app content in the mobile search results. “We will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor for ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed”. This statement implies that content from indexed apps will be more prominent in mobile search.
Algorithms run in real time, so you can essentially make your site responsive at any time. After Google crawls the pages of your website, the site will instantly be labelled as mobile-friendly and will begin to significantly benefit from the algorithm changes.
How to check if your site is mobile-friendly
Do you have a mobile-friendly website? Find out by taking the Mobile-Friendly Test. Simply enter your web page URL into the search box and Google will provide you with the results.
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If you’re not prepared for this algorithm change, contact a member of our friendly team who will help you make the exciting transition to responsive.
Sources:
Search Engine Land
Google Webmaster Central 
Bruce Clay
Business 2 Community
Image courtesy of Pinterest 

Written by Alex Wright

SEO Manager