Google Boosts Mobile-Friendly Ranking Signal for SEO in May 2016

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Google has announced it will be increasing the importance of mobile-friendliness in how websites rank on mobile devices within the search engine.

The mobile-friendly ranking signal was introduced back in April 2015 and dubbed as “mobilegeddon” – which was a significant shift for Google and webmasters alike. Many brands finally stepped up to upgrading to a mobile-friendly website for SEO purposes, but now it could be even more important.


This new update aims to enhance this ranking factor even further, meaning mobile-friendly websites will rank even higher on mobile devices from May 2016. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, then you could see a fall in rankings, and less traffic from users on mobile devices.

Google stated:

Getting good, relevant answers when you search shouldn’t depend on what device you’re using. You should get the best answer possible, whether you’re on a phone, desktop or tablet. Last year, we started using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal on mobile searches. Today we’re announcing that beginning in May, we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.

This new update is not expected to be quite as significant as last time – but it’s certainly a factor to consider if your business doesn’t currently have a mobile-friendly website, as you could fall even further behind the competition.

Google has said however, that content still plays the most important role. It’s possible for a mobile-friendly website to rank if the content remains relevant and of high-quality. Of course, if this content is mobile-friendly too, it’s sure to help your rankings for individual pieces of content, as well as for your brand overall.

Google remains devoted to providing the best possible results for its users – meaning the intent of the search query is key to the results displayed, and won’t hinge entirely on mobile-friendliness.

The new update is planned to begin in May, and be rolled out gradually over time. No doubt the more time that passes, the more important mobile-friendliness will be in the long-run for businesses who want to rank on smartphones. No information as of yet whether it will be similar to the slowly introduced Panda 4.2 rollout, but we do not yet know if the update will take weeks or even months. this does mean however, you won’t see a drop-off on non-mobile-friendly sites in May on a specific date – so it’s worth keeping an eye on your analytics.

Google mobile-friendly SEO udpate

The mobile-friendliness algorithm works on a page-by-page basis – so it does take Google some time to check each page, which would explain the longer rollout. The impact of this update, similarly may not show straight away as it crawls your site more carefully.

If your website is already mobile-friendly, there’s no need to do anything. You’re ready for the update. If you’re not sure if your web pages are up to scratch in terms of mobile-friendliness, you can try out the mobile-friendly testing tool from Google to ensure you can make the most of this update.

If your website isn’t optimised for mobile devices yet, then now is the perfect time. Get in touch to find out how we can help in getting your brand found online.