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The inner and outer workings of a digital agency

Divyanshu leads the content and marketing team at envigo. Apart from being passionate about his clients, he tries to master the art of videography.

Brace Yourself for Google's 'Mobile-friendly' Algorithm Update

Google's "mobile friendly" algorithm update is going to be released on April 21. This news has created some sort of panic among the website owners worldwide. Google promises that this update is going to have a "significant impact" on mobile search results across the world. Websites which are mobile friendly will see a great boost in their search engine performance as compared to the sites which do not provide a complete mobile experience to the users. Given that mobile searches are on the rise globally, this update will have a higher impact than Panda or Penguin.

As a digital marketer, what should you be doing to tackle the Google mobile update?

This simple Mobile-Friendly Test by Google can give you a fair estimate whether your website is mobile friendly or not! Also you can check the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools to find out potential mobile issues with your site.

There are three ways in which visits from mobile sites are handled on HTML:

  • Responsive web design (RWD) Here, the display responds according to the screen size of the device (desktop, tablet or mobile phone) whereas the URL and the content remains the same. This ensures a uniform experience for the user - without depending upon the screen size of the user's device.
  • Dynamic serving In this case, the server responds with different HTML (and CSS) on the same URL and uses the Vary HTTP header to signal your changes depending upon the user agent.
  • Separate URLs The website has an equivalent URL for mobile (m.example.com or example.com/mobile) for each desktop URL ( www.example.com ) and serves content optimized for mobile screen.

The first option has various advantages. You need to create content and maintain only one set of pages, while the RWD code takes care of serving it for different sets of users.

What can you do now?

With less than a week's time available for this update, there are still some steps you can take to minimize the fallout while you get your website ready for the mobile user (and for the Google bot).

  • Important: Google will evaluate pages for mobile user experience. So, even if you cannot get your entire site updated for mobile users in time, you can still work on the top traffic generating pages and hope for the best
  • Unblock CSS, Javascript and image files from robots.txt. By doing this Google bot can access your site like a normal user
  • Implement metadata in templates on your existing website
  • Watch out for unplayable content or mobile only 404s
  • Slow mobile pages

Google has also published a helpful guide for mobile SEO and another post on the common mobile mistakes.

Envigo has been busy working with many websites so as to avoid any drop in traffic from this update - creating responsive web design templates, or converting existing designs in responsive designs. It all starts with an SEO and user experience audit to decide on next steps. Get in touch with us here for a free audit.

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