Google “Mice” Update Rolls Out, Causing a 4.7% Uptick in the Number of Mobile-Friendly Sites
The Google update that many have been dreading has finally arrived. On April 21, 2015, Google officially released its latest algorithm update (dubbed “Google Mice” and “Mobilegeddon” by pundits). This update is designed to kick the butts of sites that aren’t optimized for mobile. Indeed, Google “Mice” is set to prioritize pages that are mobile-friendly for queries made on mobile devices.
The roll out was originally announced in February, giving businesses and marketers alike two months to prepare for the upcoming change. If their sites were still not mobile-friendly by April 21, Google hinted that these sites’ mobile search rankings would plummet, as their pages would be buried under tons of search results. On the other hand, pages that were optimized for mobile devices would see an improvement in their mobile search rankings.
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results,” Google announced in February. “Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
To help businesses determine if their sites cater well to mobile users, Google has provided them with the Mobile-Friendly Test and Mobile Usability Report. Google promised to re-process reconfigured pages, and webmasters are allowed to expedite the process by using the Fetch as Google with Submit to Index tool.
More Mobile-Friendly Sites Today Than Two Months Ago
Google’s Mobilegeddon has since caused an uproar among a number of businesses whose sites have not yet optimized for mobile. In fact, even big institutions—such as Wikipedia (@Wikipedia), the BBC (@BBC), and the European Union—have been threatened by the change for not passing Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Other famous brands that have failed the test include Versace (@Versace), Kellogg’s UK (@KelloggsUK), David Beckham, the Daily Mail (@MailOnline), and Windows Phone.
According to Google, a site passes their mobile-friendly standard when it meets certain criteria, such as displaying readable text without tapping or zooming, having tap targets that are spaced appropriately, as well as avoiding unplayable content and horizontal scrolling. [See Figure 1]
Now that the update has officially been released, the company has seen a significant increase in the number of sites optimizing for mobile. “In just the two months since we announced this change, we’ve seen a 4.7 percentage point uptick in the proportion of sites that are mobile friendly, and we hope to see even more in the coming months,” Google said in the blog post published on April 21, 2015.
The company elaborated, however, that although this change affects only search results made on mobile devices, it will impact search results in all languages globally. Google also clarified that the change applies to individual pages and not entire websites.
This change is just one of the many signals Google uses to rank search results. “The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.”
Visit Google’s FAQ page or ask on the “Mobile Websites” section of the Webmasters Forum to learn more about the search engine’s latest mobile-friendly update.
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