In a major change for search engine optimization, Google today is implementing a shift in its mobile search algorithm — boosting the rankings of mobile-optimized sites.
As more and more users search via mobile, Google wants to make sure that the highest results are also the ones that have a mobile-friendly presence. Google had announced this change earlier this year, but the update starts today.
The update only affects mobile searches, not desktop.
Google discussed the algorithm update in its Webmaster Central Blog:
As we noted earlier this year, today’s the day we begin globally rolling out our mobile-friendly update. We’re boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Now searchers can more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.
While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.
Google’s Takaki Makino and Doantam Phan note that the update applies to individual pages, not entire websites and that it affects results in all languages.
How much of an impact could this have? TechCrunch estimates that it could affect more than 40 percent of the websites of Fortune 500 companies.
Wondering if your company’s website passes Google’s test? The company also put out a tool to see if your website is mobile-friendly.
Readers: How does Google’s change affect your site?