A Complete Guide To Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update


Table of Contents

Google’s focus on users and the online user experience has been made clear by numerous updates to the search engine. It has changed the format of the SERP, added new features, and made countless elementary algorithmic improvements.

Google improvements have prioritized improving website authority, page loading speed, user navigational experience, and high-quality content with relevant keywords.

Mobile-friendliness has long been a well-liked SEO tactic. For most, if not all, websites, having a mobile-friendly website is essential given the millions of users who prefer their phones to desktop computers for browsing.

 It is still a crucial component of the update as a whole. Therefore, if your website is designed for desktop search at the expense of mobile search, you won’t be obtaining good rankings.

The primary point: Google prefers websites and apps optimised for mobile viewing, placing them higher in the rankings. Due to the potentially huge implications of this update, the name “Mobilegeddon” has emerged in the SEO community.

It was the first time. Google gave markets a prior heads-up regarding their major core algorithm being introduced. It mainly aimed to focus on user experience and enhance the usage of mobiles while performing search queries. 

The algorithm is reflected on several websites to make it more mobile and user-friendly and to enhance the search results effortlessly. Google communicated that this algorithm or update would rank and prioritize mobile-friendly websites on the search engine results page (SERPs).

What Will it Mean to My Website? 

If your website is mobile-friendly, with factors focussing on loading speed with high authority, you may see that your website will increase mobile traffic and rank well. Be prepared for your website to rank lower for mobile searches if it is not mobile-friendly. Depending on your niche, sector, and product, you might also see a sizable drop in traffic. Ensure your website delivers actionable results while undergoing Google’s mobile-friendly tests. 

You can use the Mobile-Friendly Test to evaluate individual pages or the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools to assess the overall mobile usability of your site. Google Search traffic from mobile devices may decline noticeably if your site’s pages aren’t mobile-friendly. But don’t worry; it will automatically re-process (that is, crawl and index) your pages once your site is mobile-friendly. While the mobile-friendly update is vital, several other signals are pivotal to ranking the search results. 

What can I do if my website isn’t mobile-friendly? 

Said, you should have a plan in place to ensure that most of your website passes the mobile-friendly test. You should be able to get services like responsive web design or mobile web design if you have a web developer (depending on the functionality of your website, then a responsive or mobile website may be suitable for you).

How does the mobile-friendly update work? 

The update affected only these below-listed areas: 

  • Only mobile searches were impacted. On desktop PCs, the standard Google search remains unaffected. In a nutshell, it only affects mobile device search ranks.
  • It impacts the SERPs across all nations where Google products are sold.
  • It does not necessarily concern entire websites but individual pages that are shown to match a search query.

Google offers these three suggestions for making sure your website is mobile-friendly

  • Make it simple for your clients to carry out tasks
  • Examine how simple it is for mobile users to carry out actions to evaluate your mobile usability.
  • Adopt a style that is uniform among all devices (i.e. responsive design)

Google advises running a mobile-friendly test to evaluate your website. The website is crawled and rendered for evaluation. The crawler shows the page as it might appear to mobile device users. A screenshot of this display will be added if the test is successful.

In Google Search Console, there are extra options to test a website. You can view the areas that need to be optimized under the heading Mobile Usability Report or Mobile Usability. It is possible to check for crawling issues, faulty redirects, or internal links so that the user experience can be rebuilt using the data. A page speed test is helpful for mobile optimization because it can reveal any pages with long load times.

Common mistakes to avoid in Mobile Search Engine Optimisation 

  • Blocked content
  • High load times- It is necessary to avoid this mistake, which can lead to high bounce rates. If visitors must wait too long, they leave the website. These issues can be found and fixed with Google’s Page Speed Test Insight tool.
  • Redirect error– Specific sites optimized for mobile should always link to the appropriate mobile page. If they don’t, there shouldn’t be any redirects. Google prefers responsive designs to avoid such errors. 
  • Unnecessary internal links – If you have desktop and mobile versions, you should carefully assess which internal links are appropriate given the various usage scenarios.
  • Specific 404 errors – It appears only on mobile devices if the desktop version of the material seems properly, but the mobile version does not. On mobile devices, 404 errors should never be used for redirection.
  • Not too small font sizes to be used for the content on mobile devices and other desktop versions. 
  • Avoid placing tap targets too closely together (these can include buttons, links and so on)
  • Ensure all content can be played (don’t have Flash or other non-mobile-compatible content and don’t prohibit certain content on mobile devices).

Impact and Relevance on Search Engine Optimization

The Google Mobile-Friendly update had a significant influence. Nearly 40% of the top 500 Fortune websites suffered significant visitor losses. 

Google gave web admins two months to prepare for the update once it was first revealed. However, a few sizable businesses missed the deadline for modification. Important changes are also connected to the shift toward mobile. The SEO industry is aware of these partially technical factors. However, websites that depend on outside service providers might not update right once.

However, the Google mobile-friendly upgrade should be seen as an opportunity since once a site has been optimized for mobile devices, Google will recognize it. After that, it will likely be indexed and prominently displayed in the mobile SERPs. In a nutshell, the mobile-friendly update reflected several websites emphasizing user engagement and user experience to improve the search results. 

  • It implies that usability will also play a bigger role in the algorithm. We already know that Google is aware when users visit your website before leaving and clicking on another SERP result.
  • Emphasize design elements like mobile page frameworks and responsive design.
  • Improve the site’s navigation, so mobile device users can easily locate what they need.
  • Prevent formatting difficulties that were different from the desktop experience on mobile.
  • Verify that websites are optimized for mobile use.

Key Takeaways

  • On April 21, 2015, Google introduced a mobile-friendly update to offer users more timely and useful results. 
  • The mobile-friendly update would impact the rankings on mobile devices, which applies to individual pages and not entire websites. 
  • A year later, on March 16, 2016, Google announced that they would strengthen the mobile-friendly update, to boost rankings, and enhance search results. 
  • In a nutshell, the update could incorporate changes by making the marketers change how they design their sites, by making them more user-friendly and responsive. 


We hope the above-listed pointers gave valuable insights into how the mobile-friendly update would play a pivotal role in ranking high and enhancing user experience. 

There’s apprehension in the SEO world whenever major Google updates are announced. However, the major goal is to enhance the user experience with quality content and a user-friendly website. 

Any search engine’s primary objective is to provide people with relevant and valuable content, so as long as you’re producing high-quality content, you don’t need to be concerned. Additionally, pay attention to Google’s algorithm improvements for an effective SEO plan in 2022


Sorav Jain

Sorav Jain is one of the leading and top-notch digital marketing influencers who kickstarted his career as an SEO specialist and became the driving force behind establishing echoVme Digital, one of the top digital marketing agencies in Chennai. At echoVme Digital, Sorav Jain works closely with his team of top-notch professionals with expertise in several domains of digital marketing, bringing the best ideas to the table with several years of experience. He founded Digital Scholar in 2019, an educational institute that offers top-notch digital marketing training for several enthusiasts

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