Google will begin to roll-out the Mobile-Friendly search ranking signal starting today, Tuesday, April 21. How big will the impact of Google Mobilegeddon be on sites without mobile optimization? Finding out the hard way is not recommended, but also not a disaster.
Mobilegeddon launches today! Really? Will the new Google search ranking update be a Webmaster nightmare? The good news is that apparently Google updates the mobile-friendly status of a web page fairly frequently.
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Today Tuesday, April 21, Google is rolling out a new ranking signal for search results. The search giant has announced this back in February. "Mobile-friendliness" is going to impact on mobile searches in all languages worldwide. A Googler said that this new ranking signal will have impact on more sites than the Google Panda and the Google Penguin update did.
If your site fails the Google Mobile-Friendly Test, than you might face Mobilegeddon starting today. To take the mobile implementation of a site into account for search result ranking is a very tangible value. A good mobile implementation is good for users. If a site owner does not care for mobile users than the site is likely not a serious offering. These days there are tons of options to make a site mobile-friendly.
If Google Mobilegeddon is going to have a noticeable impact on sites without mobile optimizations remains to be seen. The usual issue with Goggle's negative ranking signals is that once a site gets hit, it takes time to recover from the association with the bad signal. It appears though that this is not the case with the mobile-friendly search signal. Barry Schwarz at Search Engine Roundtable did some tests and has seen updates taking less than 12 hours. Worst case has been a wait of 72 hours.
Google is marking mobile friendly pages in the search results on mobile devices wth the tag "Mobile-Friendly" (see image above). Starting today the pages marked with the "Mobile Friendly" tag should outrank results that do not carry that tag. Keep in mind that Google only displays one tag. As shown in the example above, a freshness tag has a higher priority.
It is worth noting that the Mobile-Friendly ranking signal should only impact mobile searches and not desktop searches.
Starting today we should see the first reports from Webmasters on the impact of Mobilegeddon. We doubt though that the outcry will be as big as with Panda and Penguin. One of the reasons for that is that this Google requirement is easy to comply with.
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Google offers a Getting Started Guide to Mobile-Friendly websites here.