Google’s mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that is launching on April 21st will be on a page-by-page and real-time basis but how long will it take to roll out and how do you know if your page qualifies to benefit from it?
Since we know this algorithm will be significantly larger in impact compared to the Panda and Penguin algorithms, webmasters are kind of anxious about the release.
Yesterday, Google answered a series of questions in a Google+ hangout on the topic of this new mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. The three things we learned were:
(1) The algorithm will start rolling out on April 21st and will take a few days to a week to completely and globally.
(2) You are either mobile-friendly or not, there are no degrees of mobile-friendliness in this algorithm.
(3) The fastest way to see if your web pages are mobile-friendly is to see if you have the mobile-friendly label in the live mobile search results now. If not, check the mobile-friendly testing tool, which should match the live Google search results, whereas the mobile usability reports in Google Webmaster Tools can be delayed based on crawl time.
Roll Out Will Be A Few Days To A Week
I transcribed Google’s Mary response on this where she said:
We are expecting it (the mobile friendly algorithm) to roll out on April 21st, we don’t have a set time period because it is going to take a couple of days to roll out. Maybe even a week or so.
Your Page Is Mobile-Friendly Or Not
The mobile-friendly algorithm is an on or off algorithm, on a page-by-page basis, but it is not about how mobile-friendly your pages are, it is simply are you mobile-friendly or not. I transcribed this one also:
As we mentioned in this particular change, you either have a mobile friendly page or not. It is based on the criteria we mentioned earlier, which are small font sizes, your tap targets/links to your buttons are too close together, readable content and your viewpoint. So if you have all of those and your site is mobile friendly then you benefit from the ranking change.
But as we mentioned earlier, there are over 200 different factors that determine ranking so we can’t just give you a yes or no answer with this. It depends on all the other attributes of your site, weather it is providing a great user experience or not. That is the same with desktop search, not isolated with mobile search.
How Do You Know You Are Mobile-Friendly
How do you know if your web pages will be mobile-friendly or not? There are a few ways, but Google said the easiest way is to see if your current pages have the mobile-friendly label in the live mobile search results now. If so, the mobile-friendly testing tool should also confirm this. Keep in mind, the mobile usability reports in Webmaster Tools can be delayed by crawl time and general webmaster tools reporting delays.
I transcribed the three times Google answered this but I’ll share one here:
Take out your phone, look up your web site. See if there is a gray mobile friendly label in your description snippet. If it is in the search results, if you see it, that means that Google understands that your site is mobile friendly and if you don’t see it then we don’t see that your site is mobile friendly or your is not mobile friendly.