The Content Coms Guide: Google’s mobile algorithm update


A few details are circulating about Google’s next algorithm update (scheduled for April 21st) which has been tipped to affect website traffic originating from smartphones.

Here’s our guide to what to expect and how you can minimise the impact on your own website.

What is the latest update all about?

Google monitors lots of data regarding the use of websites for social proof signals. A social proof signal is anything which demonstrates that a user has benefitted from the use of a website (for example, a share on social media). For the upcoming algorithm update, the social proof signal which is being monitored particularly closely is the amount of traffic a website receives from smartphones.

If your website is difficult to use on a smartphone or tablet, people will likely visit it quickly and then leave right away. Google can pick up on this and lower your site’s search engine ranking accordingly.

It is thought that the upcoming update will mean that websites which are not responsive (i.e. they provide an optimal viewing experience across all devices, from desktop to iPhone) are likely to be penalised in search rankings as a result.

My website is already mobile-friendly, so I’ve got nothing to worry about – right?

Even if you have developed a mobile-friendly website, it’s worth double-checking that each page works across smartphones and tablets.

The update will be rolled out page-by-page, rather than site-by-site, so if one page is broken, it won’t appear high up in search engine rankings. Ensuring that your homepage is properly optimised for mobile is a good start, particularly if this is your most-visited page.

My website isn’t mobile-friendly – am I going to lose traffic?

Don’t panic! It’s unlikely you will see a massive drop in traffic if your site has never been mobile-friendly.

That said, with a high proportion of search traffic now coming from mobile devices, it simply no longer makes sense not to have a mobile-friendly website. Google has likely penalised your site already by picking up on your existing user behaviour. Smartphone users will already be prevented from finding your site because other smartphone users haven’t responded well to it in the past.

As the mobile search experience becomes more sophisticated, the amount of traffic to websites from smartphones and tablets is sure to increase. If you want to cash in on this increased traffic, having a mobile-friendly and truly responsive site is the only way.

In short:

If you currently only have a limited amount of mobile traffic to your website, then you won’t see much of a change in how much you receive after the update. However, this doesn’t mean that the potential traffic isn’t there. By having a website which is not mobile-friendly, you’ve already been penalised as users are more likely to visit websites which are responsive.

Because of this, Google will already be preventing smartphone and tablet users from finding your site because other smartphone users have signalled that it isn’t worth visiting. The latest algorithm update will simply make this penalty more consistent.


Content Coms’ supersonic SEO is helping London sign maker and custom custom neon signs firm A1 Designs and solid timber furniture and rustic dining tables specialist Forest to Home score highly on Google. Contact us for a chat.