The Effects of Google's Mobile First Algorithm Update
Following up on my post about Google's updated algorithm to index mobile-friendly search results, it's time to review the effects. This algorighm marked the most significant update prioritizing mobile websites ever put forth by Google. A month has passed and allowed us enough data to analyze and determine how this algorithm change has impacted page rankings.
1. Only individual pages are affected, not entire websites. If you have a website on which one or more pages are not mobile friendly, only those pages will be demoted. Of course, having an entire site that is designed responsively covers all your bases.
2. Responsive pages and separate mobile sites are created equal. Based on testing over the past 30 days, one type of mobile site did not outperform the other. If you currently have a mobile site, there is no need to create a responsive one to improve your rankings or vise versa. However, from a user experience standpoint, designing a site responsively ensures that users can have similar experiences and familiarity with your site across different devices.
3. Content is still king. With every algorithm update, Google has been prioritizing content more and more. At this point, the days of “gaming the system” are over. If you want to rank, you need to offer information that your potential customers are looking for. Making a content-poor page mobile friendly will not solve your problems. This update prioritizes mobile friendly pages with quality content. In fact, a page that is not mobile friendly wont drop off the face of the earth if Google thinks the content on that page is what the user is looking for.
4. Tap target size is highly correlated to mobile friendliness. When Google tests a site to determine whether or not it is mobile friendly, tap target size is an extremely important factor in getting its seal of approval. Ensure that all links on your site are created to be tapped with a finger, not clicked with a mouse.