On April 21st, 2015, Google will roll out an update that will make mobile friendliness a bigger part of its algorithm. If you don’t think this is a big deal, think again.
Why? Because Google is saying the mobile update will have a bigger impact than its Panda update.
Should you be worried? Yes!
Here’s why, and here are some ways to take full advantage of this update.
It’s generally not the best idea to create a separate website just for mobile visitors. The main reason you will want to avoid this approach is because updates to your main site won’t appear on your mobile site.
With responsive design, this is no longer a concern. A responsive design will automatically adapt your site to the size of a person’s screen, including all mobile devices.
When you are creating a responsive design, make sure you read this blog post as it will teach you how to create one that converts well.
Although there are 4G cellular networks, the Internet connection on your mobile device will never be as fast as a cable connection – at least not for the next year or two.
Also, since 4G signals aren’t everywhere, some people may be loading your website over a 3G connection.
For this reason, you need your site to load quickly. Keep in mind your entire site needs to adjust its size and layout, based on the device used to access the site.
So, how do you speed up your site? I could point you to a ton of resources like this one, but I recommend that you first start with Google PageSpeed. It’s Google’s own service that helps make sites faster.
If you don’t believe that site speed is important, check out this infographic that breaks down how slow site speed affects Google’s rankings. If you’re still not convinced, you can read a case study I wrote years ago on how I doubled my traffic by cleaning up my code and speeding up my site.
Here are some tips for improving site speed:
Although Google’s update is rolling out on April 21st, you can’t expect to make these changes on April 20th and be fine.
Why? Because Google has to crawl and index your changes, which takes time. To be safe, you should make these changes at least a few weeks before the April 21st deadline. This will ensure that your site gets crawled with these changes already in place so that you aren’t penalized. Most importantly, your search traffic should go up as a result.
Once you make the changes, log into Google Webmaster Tools and select your website profile (or add a profile for your site if you haven’t already).
Once you do that, click “Crawl” in the sidebar, then click on “Fetch as Google.”
Your URL should already be there, but you can also enter subdirectories. But before you click “fetch and render,” select the drop-down menu that says “Desktop,” and select the relevant mobile option (if you are unsure, you can select all of them – one by one).
Once you do that, you want to click on the “submit to index” button. This will ensure that your website gets crawled with your changes before the update.
Your time is limited. The sooner you make your website compatible with mobile devices and the sooner you reduce your load time, the higher your probability of gaining traffic during Google’s next update will be.
If you are struggling to make these changes, you can always find a developer with high ratings on oDesk or Elance to help you out.
About the Author
Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, Forbes says he is one of the top 10 online marketers, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. He was recognized as a top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and one of the top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 35 by the United Nations. Neil has also been awarded Congressional Recognition from the United States House of Representatives.
Entrepreneur, Influencer, Investor & Advisor
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