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In part of it’s quest to make the internet more accessible to all devices, Google is going to be doing a major update to the way in which it ranks websites in mobile searches.  For you nerds out there, full detail on the mobile ranking change is available here, but we’ll try to summarize it for the average business owner so that you know what to ask of your web team to be sure you are ready.

Have a mobile website.  Any mobile website. 
While “responsive design” helps in managing a website because you only have a single site to manage, any type of mobile website will perform the same in a mobile search.  If you’re using WordPress you can simply install the Mobile Theme that is included with the Jetpack.me plugin for a quick & dirty solution.

Every Page Counts
Google won’t be rating entire websites as “mobile friendly”, but they will actually go page by page.  You want to be sure that any page you want to show up in a mobile search is a mobile friendly page.

Don’t block CSS or Javascript
Some webmasters block the Googlebot (Google’s computers that crawl the web) from reading CSS and Javascript.  Don’t do this.  Here is a great article that walks you through determining if your website is currently blocking CSS or Javascript and how to fix it.

Effective around April 21st
This is the tentative launch date of these changes.  Pay attention to your website metrics around this date to see if your website is impacted.  If you use Google Analytics:

  1. Go to “Audience > Mobile > Overview” to see your mobile traffic.
  2. Click the date range in the upper-right corner
  3. Check the “Compare to” box
  4. Choose “Previous Period”

This will give you a report that breaks down your Desktop, Mobile & Tablet traffic.  Watch for any major drops in your mobile traffic.