Google’s Real-Time Mobile-Friendly Ranking Factor

Not too long ago, Google announced their plans to introduce a new factor into their search algorithm that will rank websites based on how mobile friendly they are. This change is currently slated to go into effect April 21st, 2015, but many people had additional questions about the upcoming. Luckily, they unveiled a bit of this plan at the 2015 SMX West event to address some of the major concerns.

When Will The Change Take Effect?

Google sent Gary Illyes down to the SMX West event to answer the questions, and one of the primary concerns that people had was about the change’s implementation. Webmasters wanted to know how quickly they needed to get their webpage mobile friendly in order to not be negatively impacted by the change, once it does go into effect.

It was explained that the updates to the algorithm are already in place and are currently working in real time. The actual ‘changes’ will be put into effect on 21st April 2015, but websites will be able to update their sites immediately to take advantage of them. This is important information for websites that aren’t updated frequently, as they’re slow to be indexed. Such webmasters ought to make the change sooner rather than later to avoid problems on the 21st.

One thing that was not explained in detail was whether or not it was real time. Will Google crawl and index the mobile friendly page or will it check it after a search query has been made? Most people assume that Google will crawl and index the page, which means changes will need to be timed in order to coincide with the release date.

Web Pages or Web Sites?

Ever since the plan was originally announced, webmasters were very concerned about whether the change would give a weight to the websites or the individual pages, as many sites are set up to have a mobile friendly area and non-mobile friendly pages elsewhere on the same domain. There were many webmasters who were concerned that this could give them more work than they’d be able to do before the updated algorithm went into effect.

Luckily, these concerns were addressed at the event. The algorithm they’ve developed will indeed be run page by page rather than through the website itself. What this means is that if there are six pages on a site and only three of them are “mobile friendly,” then only those specific pages will benefit from the change itself. This is an important distinction, as there are a ton of websites that utilise specialised web pages or sub-sections that would’ve been difficult to 100% convert by the time the changes actually went into effect.

While mobile growth is still on its meteoric rise, webmasters can breathe a sigh of relief as they’re able to prioritise specifically which of their website’s individual pages ought to be updated first and which can be held off.


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