For the past week site owners have been reporting to see shifts in mobile search rankings, which is believed to be the result of a new Google algorithm update.
David Naylor, of UK Agency Bronco, published a story over the weekend detailing the evidence thus far that points towards a mobile-specific Google algorithm update. Not the least of this evidence is the fact that most webmasters who have seen their rankings drop have major mobile usability issues on their websites.
Further evidence came last week when Google’s John Mueller was asked about an algorithm update during one of his scheduled Google+ Hangouts. Mueller stated the update was not related to either Panda or Penguin, which leaves the possibility of a new type of algorithm update targeting mobile usability.
Finally, there’s the fact that just two weeks ago Google was sending out warnings to webmasters of non-mobile friendly sites that their search rankings may be impacted.
Was that Google’s way of giving everyone fair warning before launching the update we may be seeing right now? Jennifer Slegg of The SEM Post reports that the websites on the receiving end of those warnings are no longer ranking in mobile search.
If you’re the owner of a site that’s not mobile-friendly, it’s best to check your traffic patterns over the past month to see if you have been affected by this update.
If you see a notable decline in mobile traffic starting around January 24th, then that’s a good sign you have been affected. If that’s the case, then the best course of action would be to upgrade your site to a mobile-friendly design.
As far as what can be determined so far, the reported ranking shifts are only occurring in mobile search results. Desktop rankings are not being affected.