Last week, Google made a major announcement stating that on April 21st they will be extending the use of mobile-friendly websites as a ranking signal and this update will have a “significant impact” on their mobile search results.
Google updates their algorithm 600+ times every year, and very rarely do they announce significant updates. And when they do announce their updates (i.e. Penguin and Panda) they announce the algorithm update within a couple days of implementation.
So announcing an upcoming update…two months in advance….this NEVER happens NEVER.
Google has been advising users on their Webmasters blog for a couple years now and been releasing a lot of tools to help webmasters with their responsive design. So, I figured something like this was coming, but not in this fashion.
In a recent interview at SMX West, Gary Illyes, a Webmasters Trends Analyst for Google, was interviewed for one of the sessions.
In this interview, Illyes was asked whether there would be any wiggle room in this update or is April 21st a hard deadline. He said that he couldn’t comment on the specifics but he said, “I will say April 21st is a very important day.”
So what does this mean for you? Well, if you haven’t updated your website to a responsive design, or implemented a separate mobile version of your website, Google is giving you eight weeks to get it done. If you don’t get it done, then expect some significant drops in rankings of your website in mobile search results. If you have a mobile website, then no need to worry! You are all set!