Google to Penalize Non-mobile Friendly Sites Effective April 21

google_punishes_non_mobile_sitesGoogle claims they don’t punish sites. Rather they reward sites that Goggle feels is in the best interest of users. It’s like a parent rewarding a child for good behavior.

Most of the time Google hints at what they want. This week they declared:

Starting April 21 not being mobile friendly will have significant impact on search rankings.

What this means for your site

If you are mobile friendly, this change should help get more free organic traffic from people searching Google.

If you are NOT mobile friendly, your traffic from Google will drastically drop effective April 21st. You could go from ranking on the first page of Google to not making the first 10 pages. All the years of building links, authority and traffic to your site could be erased instantly.

How to determine if you are mobile friendly

Before you sound the alarm, there are 2 easy ways to check to ensure that Google views your site as mobile friendly.

  1. Search for your site from a mobile device (phone, iPad, etc.) on the Google Search Engine. When the results come back, the first 2 words in the description should say “Mobile – Friendly”. 
  2. From a desktop you can go to the Google Mobiel Friendly Test site and enter your website address. It will tell you if your site is viewed as mobile friendly.

What to do if your website is NOT mobile friendly

Responsive sites have been around for years. The website recognizes the type of device you are using to view the site and formats it correctly. Gone are the days you have to pinch the screen to read the text. This responsive style site is what Google is rewarding.

If you are using WordPress, it’s most likely just a matter of updating your theme. Look for the word “Responsive”. There are free versions, or premium themes. Most will cost less than $100

If you are using a shopping cart, contact the company. Most companies now offer responsive sites standard to new customers. If your site started more than 3 years ago, they may still have you on an older theme. This is not something for which you should have to pay extra. 

Sent to bed without dinner?

While the exact repercussions may not be spelled out, the warning signs are there and should be taken seriously. As Jay Taylor of Search Engine Watch points out, Google finds mobile so important that it has opted to provide a timeline for this update to encourage companies to make a transition—and relatively swiftly. You can argue if this is a punishment or a reward for good behavior. Either way you don’t want to be sent to bed without dinner … or have your site go dark.  Those of us who have already joined the inbound movement know we should do this not because of a reward or punishment, but because it is best for our visitors and builds trust, authority and thought leadership.  People have an will always buy from those they know, love and trust.