If your site is not mobile friendly by 4/21/15, your ranking on Google will go away. Period.
MARCH 23, 2015 Entrepreneur Magazine
For years now, mobile usability has been a factor in Google’s search algorithm. Sites that are optimized suitably for use on mobile devices rank higher than their non-optimized counterparts, even on desktop devices. But until now, that ranking factor has been both limited and ambiguous.
Aside from a “mobile-friendly” tag associated with various sites in mobile search results, it hasn’t been entirely clear which factors Google considers when calculating mobile rankings or how many sites (or which ones) are currently affected. Because of this, many business owners have postponed or avoided optimizing their sites for mobile devices, and have survived to tell about it.
Starting April 21, that’s all going to change.
According to a recent Google blog post, the search giant is currently working on a major algorithm change that will revolutionize the way mobile friendliness is determined. Starting on April 21, this new algorithm will be gradually rolled out worldwide, affecting mobile searches in all languages in all corners of the globe.
Scope of the update
If you’re aware that Google already considers mobile usability as part of its ranking calculations, you might wonder why this April 21 deadline, dubbed “mobilegeddon,” is important.
It’s true that many of Google’s “updates” are actually just data refreshes and tweaks that hold little bearing on existing search rankings. However, Zineb Ait Bahajji, a member of Google’s Webmaster Trends team, was quoted at SMX Munich as saying that the new mobile-friendly algorithm change will have more of an impact on search rankings than either Panda or Penguin, two of the largest and most impactful search algorithm updates Google has ever launched.
For now, we don’t know much about the update itself, so it’s not entirely clear what that impact will be. We do know that it will change the way Google evaluates the mobile-friendliness of websites, but we don’t know what new factors will be added or how dramatically these factors will be able to change a website’s search visibility. Given Bahajji’s comments, it’s reasonable to guess that the majority of non-optimized sites on the web could see significant decreases in search visibility.
The trend toward mobile search
By some estimates, more than 60 percent of all Google searches are now performed on mobile devices, so it makes sense that Google wants to capitalize on this traffic and ensure the best possible experience for its users.