Google Provides Advice to Site Owners Ahead of April 21st Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Change

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Ahead of Google’s upcoming mobile-friendly algorithm change, the search giant is providing advice to site owners on common mistakes to avoid when converting your site to a mobile-friendly design.

In fact, Google sought advice from its own webmaster community on Twitter and compiled a list of the most commonly mentioned mobile mistakes.

Here is an overview of each:

  • Blocked JavaScript, CSS and image files: In order for Googlebot to see your site as a real user would, always allow access to these files in your site’s robots.txt.
  • Unplayable content: This consists of certain types of videos, or other content, that are not playable on mobile devices, such as license-constrained media or media that requires Flash.
  • Faulty redirects: If you have separate mobile URLs, you must redirect mobile users on each desktop URL to the appropriate mobile URL.
  • Mobile-only 404s: Some sites serve content to desktop users accessing a URL but show an error page to mobile users. Instead, redirect mobile users to an equivalent mobile page to avoid 404s.
  • App download interstitials: This is when websites block the view of pages with a prompt to download the site’s native app. Instead, use a small HTML banner at the top of the page.
  • Irrelevant cross-links: This is when users are linked to desktop-optimized pages from the mobile version of the site, and vice versa. Check your links to make sure that they point to the correct equivalent page.
  • Slow mobile pages: In order to avoid user frustration, ensure your mobile pages load quickly. You can check your page speed with Google PageSpeed Insights.

For more information about any of the above mistakes, and how to avoid them, view the full guide here.

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • Sohan

    Your blog on making sites for mobile friendly is nice thanks…………..

  • Darshan Thakker

    Oh yes, Thanks Google this time to warn world about their new algorithm before one month, in last algorithms, google never warn like this time.

    If we talking about new Algorithm, Looking for Latest Trends on Mobile Tablets you have to make your website Responsive which is accessible in any device and run in any platform.

  • Matija

    Now you are already scaring me :). My only concern is that Google test shows me a mobility readyness, but their own GWT shows me result 40 out of 100. Strange, since both of them are from Google. I guess we will see.

  • Dr. Robert

    Its the first time I have ever seen Google give out information so far ahead of the game. Glad to see it and thanks for the details Matt.

  • http://JTechCommunications Kate

    Since Google states that this algorithm will have a significant impact on sites’ search engine ranking, immediate action must be taken for improperly optimized sites. As stated in the Google Webmaster’s blog, companies can check their website responsiveness using the Mobile Usability Report tool ( simply by entering their URL.

    This is not only a national but an international change. Companies all over the world will have to optimize their site accordingly. Google has consistently “alluded to the fact…that the mobile-friendliness of your website could…impact your organic rankings.” Finally, Google has fulfilled that statement. This also means that less popular sites that are mobile-friendly will rank higher than very accredited sites that are not mobile-friendly in mobile searches. This could pose potential gains, incentive, and multiple possibilities for businesses and mobile sites.

    While this only applies to mobile searches, close to 78% of all daily search engine searches are conducted on mobile devices (Sterling, 2014), greatly improving one’s chances of gaining customers and user views. Desktop searches will not change in rankings, however, companies should not be reluctant to optimize their sites. I predict that that in a few years Google will require responsive website design for all websites in order to be ranked well in search engines. This is simply a transition period for the search engine. I am also curious how this will affect CPC for ad campaigns. One can infer that websites that are ranked higher will receive a lower CPC because I believe that their ads will be displayed more often for relevant search inquiries. In contrast, non-mobile-friendly websites will be penalized with a higher CPC as their ads will not be displayed as frequently due to a lack of optimization. This new algorithm will be complex and thorough, personally, I cannot wait to see how CPC and ad displays are effected.

    I am incredibly curious and anxious to learn more about the unoptimized domain versus unoptimized individual page differences in rankings. It will be interesting to see how large of an impact an unoptimized page would have on the entire site ranking or if the unoptimized pages themselves will solely be discredited. No matter the change, however, the value and content of the pages will contribute to the value of the domain. This means that no matter which ranking will receive the heaviest impact, neither will hold the same ranking if it is not mobile-friendly.

    Come April 21, the SEO world will observe and analyze the new Google algorithm and how to most effectively address their potential website changes.

    Thank you for your time and insight, I look forward to hearing back from you and reading more about this subject in the future.

  • waroong

    Looks like Google mobilegeddon will make significant changes to the face of internet search.
    I can’t wait to see it. 🙂

  • Azad

    I already solved all the error shown by mobile SEO. Google is heading in the right direction. Recently I checked that most of the traffic I am getting is from mobile devices. I also implemented the responsive ads from Google Adsense. It income got double.

    I thank Google to make this update. It forced me to make my site better.