Google prepares algorithm change; website owners must migrate to mobile
Tyler Suchman, Contributor
As much as Apple has guided the entire tech industry by its advocacy or abandonment of various software and hardware technologies over the years, Google envisions a mobile future where every website on the planet works equally well on a cellphone, tablet or desktop.
Late last week, via the Webmaster Central blog(1), Google drew an inevitable line in the sand for mobile-friendly adoption, and it is likely to have as much of an impact on organic search results as any of the major algorithm updates over the past five years, including the Penguin and Panda updates.
Here’s the money quote:
“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.”
In a 2014 survey on Internet Trends(2), Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers revealed that mobile now accounts for 25 percent of all Web usage, up from 14 percent a year ago. Many website owners have seen cellphone-plus-tablet usage surge to as much as 50 percent of all traffic in 2015.
Why is this April 21 algorithm change seismic? What Google is telling us is that mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive websites will be rewarded with better positioning in Google’s mobile search engine results, and thus more traffic from a rapidly expanding user base. Conversely, websites that are not mobile friendly will see less mobile organic traffic, receive a smaller piece of the expanding mobile pie, and will be forced to rely on a shrinking desktop-based audience.