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FAQs about the April 21st mobile-friendly update
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
We'd like to share answers to your frequently asked questions. For background, in February,
we announced that the mobile-friendly update
will boost the rankings of mobile-friendly pages -- pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices -- in mobile search results worldwide. (Conversely, pages designed for only large screens may see a significant decrease in rankings in mobile search results.) To get us all on the same page, here are the most frequently asked questions:
1. Will desktop and/or tablet ranking also be affected by this change?
No, this update has no effect on searches from tablets or desktops. It affects searches from mobile devices across all languages and locations.
2. Is it a page-level or site-level mobile ranking boost?
It's a page-level change. For instance, if ten of your site's pages are mobile-friendly, but the rest of your pages aren't, only the ten mobile-friendly pages can be positively impacted.
3. How do I know if Google thinks a page on my site is mobile-friendly?
5. Since the mobile ranking change rolls out on April 21st, if I see no drop in traffic on April 22nd, does that mean that my site's rankings aren't impacted?
You won't be able to definitively determine whether your site's rankings are impacted by the mobile-friendly update by April 22nd. While we begin rolling out the mobile-friendly update on April 21st, it'll be a week or so before it makes its way to all pages in the index.
6. I have a great mobile site, but the Mobile-Friendly Test tells me that my pages aren't mobile-friendly. Why?
Check if the
shows blocked resources (often accompanied with a partially rendered image).
7. What if I link to a site that's not mobile-friendly?
Your page can still be "mobile-friendly" even if it links to a page that's not mobile-friendly, such as a page designed for larger screens, like desktops. It's not the best experience for mobile visitors to go from a mobile-friendly page to a desktop-only page, but hopefully as more sites become mobile-friendly, this will become less of a problem.
8. Does Google give a stronger mobile-friendly ranking to pages using Responsive Web Design (which uses the same URL and the same HTML for the desktop and mobile versions) vs. hosting a separate mobile site (like www for desktop and m.example.com for mobile)?
9. Will my site / page disappear on mobile search results if it's not mobile-friendly?
While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals 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.
10. What if my audience is desktop only? Then there's no reason to have a mobile site, right?
Not exactly. Statistics show that more people are going "mobile only" -- either because they never had a desktop or because they won't replace their existing desktop. Additionally, a non-mobile-friendly site may not see many mobile visitors precisely for that reason.
The mobile-friendly update will apply to mobile searches conducted across all sites, regardless of the site's target audiences' language, region, or proportion of mobile to desktop traffic.
11. I have pages showing mobile usability errors because they embed a YouTube video. What can I do?
We suggest paying close attention to how the YouTube video is embedded. If you are using the "old-style"
For Flash content from sites other than YouTube, check if there is an equivalent HTML5 embed tag or code snippet to avoid using proprietary plugins.
Yes, we suggest a minimum of 7mm width/height for primary tap targets and a minimum margin of 5mm between secondary tap targets. The average width of an adult's finger pad is 10mm, and these dimensions can provide a usable interface while making good use of screen real estate.
13. To become mobile-friendly quickly, we're thinking of creating a very stripped down version of our site (separate mobile pages) until our new responsive site is complete. Do you foresee any problems with this?
First, keep in mind that we support
three mobile configurations
and that your website doesn't have to be responsive to be mobile-friendly. In response to your question, please be cautious about creating a "stripped down" version of your site. While the page may be formatted for mobile, if it doesn't allow your visitors to easily complete their common tasks or have an overall smooth workflow, it may become frustrating to your visitors and perhaps not worth the effort. Should a temporary mobile site be created, once the RWD is live, be sure to
move the site properly. For example, update all links so they no longer reference the separate mobile URLs and 301 redirect mobile URLs to their corresponding RWD version.