Google’s Mobile Update Will be Bigger than Penguin & Panda

Google's mobile-friendliness update is set to launch April 21, and the anticipation is mounting as their team hints that it might be one of the biggest updates ever. What does that mean? And most importantly, is your website ready?
Alexis Wisniewski
Associate Editor
Lex is a writer who used to turn up her nose at SEO — with its forced keywords and its shady backlinks — until she met a team of people doing it right, and got roped in by her love of excellent content. Find her on Twitter @estherproject.
March 24, 2015

It’s coming … Google’s new mobile-usability ranking hits the web on April 21, and marketers and webmasters are hard at work updating and fine-tuning their websites. The new algorithm will give priority (in mobile search) to pages and sites that are mobile-responsive—for obvious reasons. We’ve already discussed why Google is prioritizing mobile-friendliness and what marketers should do about it, but there remains a general air of anticipation as we wait to see what, exactly, the update will do to mobile search results.

Bigger Than Penguin and Panda

Previous Google algorithm updates—dubbed “Penguin” and “Panda”—made huge waves at their releases, and continue to provide clear, foundational structure for good, effective SEO practices. Last week, Zineb Ait Bahajji, from Google’s Webmaster Trends team, was quoted at SMX Munich saying that this new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm will have more of an impact than Penguin and Panda.

The provocatively vague statement leaves us to little more than musings as we test websites and wait for the 21st. Some are skeptical. Others are comparing percentages. Still others have tried simply asking, but gotten no where in so doing:

It may simply be that the mobile-friendly algorithm will affect every website, whereas previous updates only cause headaches for those still trying to pull off black hat SEO tricks. We’ll find out soon enough.

Something Mobile This Way Cometh

Whatever it means in terms of internet-wide impact isn’t as important to a brand’s bottom line as what it means for your website. Whether or not you believe it’s, “bigger than,” the fact remains that it’s big. Just this week, Google launched a new sidebar banner on their own Webmaster blogs, reminding people about the coming update and encouraging us to be prepared. mobile friendly algorithm update Mobile-responsiveness has been a serious online marketing consideration for some time now. As of last year, one-third of organic search traffic has been happening on mobile devices, and in 2013 Google discovered that 90% of executives have used their mobile devices to research a business purchase. So Google isn’t breaking new ground with the mobile-usability update, but they are upping the stakes. The good news is there is still plenty of time to make sure that your website is poised to rise through the ranks on April 21.

Our team is offering a free, no-obligation mobile-friendliness consultation and action plan. We will conduct a hands-on analysis of your website’s mobile-compatibility, and outline specific steps you can take to resolve any issues. There’s no fee and no commitment required.

Err on the Side of Awesome

Maybe the skeptics are right, and Google is over-playing the hype just a bit. Only time will tell. Hype or not, the update is coming, and all that really matters on April 21 is where your site ends up. Make sure you’re ready.

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