By Jamie Carey, on behalf of MarketingQuotes.co.uk

On April 21st, Google will be rolling out their biggest new algorithm update since Panda and Penguin, and it’ll affect every business who gains organic search traffic through mobile devices. For some businesses, that’s more than 50%.

Take note. Make changes quickly if you don’t want to lose a significant portion of your traffic and revenue. The new update specifically targets the “mobile-friendliness” of pages on your website: whether they render well to a mobile user, and with a good load speed. The decision is black and white, with pages either deemed “mobile-friendly”, or not
You may have noticed these “mobile-friendly” tags cropping up in mobile search recently. More commonly, pages with these tags have been ranking more highly. After the April 21st update, any page which isn’t mobile-friendly won’t be making it onto the first page of Google search results.

It’s important to note the distinction about pages of a site being affected. Pages of a site which are deemed mobile-friendly will not be punished by this update, and may well receive a ranking boost, whilst other pages of the same website, if not mobile-friendly, will be demoted. None of the site-wide penalties seen with updates such a Penguin, for instance. Another important point to note is that this algorithm update will not impact your desktop rankings, but will be rolled out to cover tablet devices over time.

So what can you do to prepare? First things first, check that your top mobile organic traffic driving pages are mobile-friendly, using Google’s handy Mobile-Friendly Test. If not, you’ll be told what the main contributing factors are. These may be fixable by your developers, or you may need to think about investing in a responsive site. As visitors use a variety of devices to view your website nowadays, it is important to serve a consistent website experience to them cross-device.

Factors which make a site not “mobile-friendly” include:
- Text too small to read
- Mobile viewport not set
- Links too close together
- Content wider than screen

To help you decide, use Google Analytics to determine what percentage of your revenue comes from mobile organic traffic.

What is the cost of losing that traffic, versus paying for a responsive design? How quickly would a responsive design pay for itself by maintaining mobile organic traffic levels? Bear in mind that you would also expect an increased conversion rate from all mobile traffic with a mobile-friendly site, hence increasing revenue.

If budget dictates that you cannot afford a web design studio to create a responsive site, companies such as Dudamobile offer products which allow you to create a mobile version of your site, or even create a brand new responsive site, for a fraction of the cost.

As is the Scout motto: Be prepared! It’s time to take action and invest in your mobile future. For those of you who are already there, good job.