A month ago Google gave warning that they were going to downgrade non-mobile compliant websites and, as usual, the actual ramifications have been slow to emerge. However, today Google gave the most important piece of information so far – that you website will either be downgraded fully or it won’t be at all. In most algorythm features downgrades are on a sliding scale – unless you’ve been very bad then you may get a substantial 950 place deduction.
The great thing about this is that website owners and their tech teams know exactly what they need to aim for: the “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly” label when you use their mobile friendly testing tool:
But this will just work for ad-hoc pages. If you would like to get a holistic view of how mobile compliant your website is you would have to sign up to Webmaster Tools and view the “Mobile Usability” report which will generally show pages where you have links that are too close together, or that the pages doesn’t fit on a mobile device (more information) or that the text is too small.
It appears that within Google Webmaster Tools you may get a handful of false-positives. So if this is the case recheck them again and confirm – you wouldn’t want to rework your page or template for no reason.
To fix the font size issue may be the easiest as you would, theoretically, just change your font sizes. This may have issues for your navigation, but simply try your content area fonts first.
The links being too close together may also be an issue if they’re caused by your navigation lists. Again, if any pages get flagged up withing Google Webmaster Tools try those first and then re-run the tests.
The most difficult issue to resolve will be the ‘view port’ problem. Essentially this will entail making your website responsive. It is far beyond a month or two’s work for most companies to make their ecommerce stores mobile compliant. There are numerous tools that are available to “make your website mobile” which will entail you uploading your product database and then adding code to your current website to tell Google and mobile devices that the optimised content is elsewhere – this will solve the problem – at least temporarily.
This video is a good video explaining the situation:
Why does it matter?
Depending on the nature of your industry you could expect between 15% and 50% of your traffic to be from mobile devices and if this update is going to be as brutal as we think then you could be losing anything from 7.5% to a 25% of your traffic.
Will it affect all or part of my website?
Google have said that it will affect your site on a page-by-page basis. So if you have a few pages that generate most of your organic traffic which converts to sales then, if you can, concentrate on making those optimised first and then work through the rest of your website.
Pages that you don’t want, or arent’ able to be found by searches then you won’t need to worry about. These pages may be pages contained behind a login such as an account management section there there is no additional need to mobile-optimise those pages.