If you don’t already have a mobile or responsive site, now is the time to get one. Google recently announced algorithm updates that will have a significant impact on mobile search results worldwide for mobile searchers. With more than half of web traffic coming from mobile and 87% of consumers using their mobile devices to conduct searches at least once a day, you can imagine how costly this could be in terms of lost mobile traffic and revenue for businesses without mobile friendly sites.

Google has already been annotating mobile-friendly pages for searchers in an effort to help influence mobile searchers toward a better mobile experience. On April 21, these annotations will become part of the ranking algorithm, affecting the order of search results directly. The update improves rankings for sites that provide a mobile-friendly experience to searchers on mobile devices, and, by association, demotes sites that do not. The goal is to improve searcher experience as it can be frustrating to search on a phone and land on a page that’s so tiny you can’t accurately click the links without pinching and zooming and scrolling to find the right text or links. Google is converting that frustration into an improvement in its search results, so that more mobile searchers will land on sites with positive mobile experiences.

The algorithm will be applied worldwide, page by page and on a real-time basis. The algorithm update affects mobile searchers and search results in all countries at the same time, rather than just rolling out in the US first. Each page’s mobile friendliness is judged separately. That’s good news if your ecommerce catalogue is mobile friendly but your forums or other content sections are not as unfriendly sections will not cause your entire site to be ranked as unfriendly. Mobile rankings will be ranked in real time so as soon as pages becomes mobile friendly; the mobile-friendly ranking algorithm would kick in for those pages.

Content from indexed Android apps can now be ranked in search results for searchers who are signed in to Google and have that Android app installed on their mobile device. iOS apps will not be included in this app ranking improvement as Google has no access to Apple’s iTunes database.

By Kristy Manson, Client Services Director