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On April 21, Google is launching a new mobile-friendly update that will improve ranking positions for sites that meet the search engine mobile-friendly requirements. According to Google, the new algorithm will accomplish its mission in about one week after the launch.


After that, we’ll start noticing how this update has affected ranking positions of sites in mobile search results. Google promises to rank sites that are “unfriendly” for mobile devices severely, sending them to lower search list results.


What Google means by its mobile-friendly updates

The beginning of the story dates back to November 2014, when Google for the first time started labeling sites as mobile-friendly if the web pages were adjusted to viewing on mobile devices. In April 2015, another significant step was announced in turning responsive design from an optional decision to a must-be condition in web development.


Mobile friendliness has become a crucial mark for good rankings because of the constantly growing number of users that are switching to mobile Internet browsing.


The newest algorithm from Google aims to provide users with even more relevant mobile-friendly web pages in search results. The first wave of possible ranking penalties in 2015 referred to individual pages of a website, but the upcoming wave will take effect over an entire website. The beginning of May 2016 has already been denoted as a new Mobilegeddon.


How Google measures mobile-friendliness

Google determines that a web page is responsive according to the following requirements:


  • Software that is not typical for mobile devices was not detected (e.g., Flash)
  • Information is clearly readable; a user doesn’t need to the zoom option to read the text
  • Imagery is sized according to a screen resolution, so a user doesn’t zoom in or scroll images horizontally to fully see them
  • Buttons and links are big enough and appropriately spaced to ensure convenient clicking


To make sure your website is considered responsive by Google, you can take an online Mobile-Friendly Test from Google. The test results will also provide information about what specific changes are needed to make the process of adjusting the website for mobile search easier and improve performance. There is also a section in Google’s Webmaster Tools that offers details to help eliminate user experience errors.


Those website owners that have already initiated responsive design for their sites will not be affected by the new ranking algorithm. If your website is still not mobile-friendly, Google says that the only thing that can save it from severe penalties is offering truly quality content on pages; those sites will still be displayed in search results. However, making sure your website performs properly as mobile friendly is safer than relying solely on content.