Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update went live on April 21, 2015. Despite the various monikers that have been pinned to this update, “Mobilegeddon” being one of the most popular, it could not have been that big of a surprise. With Branding Brand reporting that 43 percent of smartphone traffic is search, we all saw it coming. The question now is, what do you need to know to keep up with these latest changes? We’ve broken it down for you into bite-sized pieces to keep you on top of the game.

This update only affects mobile search rankings, not desktop rankings (at this time).

This update seems to bring about a significant change in the infrastructure that Google is using to evaluate, index and parse mobile search results. However, it does not affect desktop results. Who’s to say, though, that at some point that won’t change? It is smart to go ahead and get your site working, at least to some degree, on mobile devices. It can only help you.

Google has very clear standards regarding what it considers to be mobile-friendly.

Websites must meet certain criteria in order to be considered mobile-friendly. According to Google’s webmaster website, a page may be eligible for the label “mobile friendly” if Googlebot is able to detect certain features, including:

  • The user does not have to zoom text in order to be able to read it.
  • Links are adequately spaced so that users can easily tap the one they want.
  • The content is automatically sized to the screen, eliminating the need for users to zoom or scroll horizontally.
  • The site does not include software, such as Flash, that is not typically found on mobile devices.

It appears that Google considers mobile subdomains to be mobile-friendly.

Google isn’t really saying one way or another, but it is hard to ignore the flood of mDot websites showing up in mobile searches. While responsive design is said to be the easiest type of site to index and crawl – and tends to have fewer errors – Google does seem to be acknowledging that there are other mobile site architectures that are effective.

You could get more exposure if you have a mobile app.

Google now includes an “App Pack” of applications that are in the Google Play Store when certain terms are searched on mobile apps. This group of apps related to the search term are grouped together in a separate box from the other search results.

Google has provided some great tools to help you get your website up to speed and mobile-friendly.

The Google developers’ site has created a comprehensive Mobile Guide to help you bring your website in line with Google guidelines. It even includes a Mobile Friendly Test that allows you to plug in your website’s URL, allowing your site to be analyzed to see how well it works on mobile devices – or not. You can see just how your site will look on a smartphone or other device and then make the necessary modifications.

Any change can be unsettling, but this update could prove to actually be good for many sites. When you open your business to mobile customers, you are tapping into an audience that is still largely neglected. If you are the big fish in a little pond, well, there are certainly some great opportunities there.