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Is Google’s Mobile Deadline of April 21st The New Y2K?

Google wants more mobile optimized websites. What will the penalty be if yours is not?

I distinctly remember when Y2K was just around the corner. While many of us were ready to party “like it was 1999,” many others predicted catastrophe at the end of the year.

The Y2K (Year 2000) problem existed because most dates in computers were programmed to automatically assume the date began with “19” as in “1977” and “1988.” Considering how much of our everyday lives were run by computers by the end of 1999, the new year was expected to bring serious computer repercussions.

If you are an SEO expert, or are working towards making your website SEO friendly, then your life and your clients business life are probably pretty much run by Google and the Google algorithm and you  probably have heard the news that Google is pushing harder for websites to make their pages mobile friendly.

From the rumors that abound, Google will reward those that have mobile friendly websites with more mobile traffic. While it is completely within Google’s prerogative to change their search engine algorithm whenever or however they wish it is the penalties that have business owners worried, and for good reason.

Google Will Penalize You if You Don’t Have a Mobile Optimized Website

After the last two Google search engine algorithm updates, many high quality websites were literally buried in Google’s search engine rankings, or lost their PR ranking overnight, which greatly affected marketing and advertising opportunities. Many online marketers find Google’s updates to their search engine algorithm unfair. However, the goal of Google’s updates, including this latest one slated for an April 21st rollout, is to penalize those websites who do not have highly dynamic content – which is a good thing overall.

However, it does cause an issue for websites that serve as a resource of information such as medical, dictionary or encyclopedia type sites, where the vast amount of information rarely changes. For these websites, updates of algorithm evaluations by Google proved to do more harm than good.

Generally updates, including the latest one, may wreak havoc on the world of online SEO, to put it mildly until everyone gets their websites on a mobile friendly version. Despite the headaches it may cause in the short run, it makes sense in the long run that Google desires mobile friendly content for those websites with content that should be highly dynamic.

How to Check if Your Website is Mobile Optimized

Google has given a number of tools to check your website to see whether or not it is mobile friendly or not. From the Google article, “Finding more mobile-friendly search results” if you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:

  • If you have a site, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report
  • Go to Advice Local and run a report to get a detailed overview of your site’s local presence including a complete analysis of your site’s local/mobile usability.

The question now is, will Google just keep mobile traffic from coming to those websites that have not actively made themselves mobile friendly, or will those non-mobile friendly websites be penalized in other ways, such as being buried in relevant Google search results?

Only time will tell what the latest update from Google will do to the world of online SEO, but it seems that it is in the best interest of your business to work toward a mobile friendly website or risk some sort of penalty.

What do you think about this new algorithm update from Google? How do you think it will affect your company’s website?


Image Credits

Featured Image: Created by author for Search Engine Journal
Screenshot taken March 24, 2015

Category Mobile SEO
Bernadette Coleman CEO at Advice Local

Bernadette Coleman is the CEO of Advice Local, an award winning technology and Inc 500 digital agency. Bernadette is passionate ...

Is Google’s Mobile Deadline of April 21st The New Y2K?

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