Google’s mobile algorithm will be in place as of July 2022: Are you prepared?

Head of projects
Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Is your website mobile optimised or just mobile-friendly?

The big switch to mobile-first indexing for all websites will be completed by July 2022. Is your business ready for Google’s mobile algorithm?

As of March 2020, 70% of sites had already made the switch to mobile-first indexing, however there is yet to be an update from Google on this.

In just a few years, mobile-first design has evolved from a forward way of thinking to a necessity for businesses. If your website is not optimised to be mobile-first, you could see a dip in site performance and traffic.

To ensure your website is recognised as mobile-first, it’s important to understand Google’s mobile algorithm, analyse your website and make any changes or optimisations in time for the switch.

What is the new update all about?

Inline with its name, the upcoming Google mobile algorithm is changing the way Google indexes websites, giving more priority to mobile-first websites over desktop.

The Google mobile algorithm update was due to be rolled out in March 2021 but Google proceeded to push this back yet again with the new deadline set to be met by July 2022, stating: “I don’t know what the timeline is but my guess is towards the first half of next year, we will be migrating all of the remaining sites over.”

Previously Google viewed desktop traffic as a priority, however mobile usage is outgrowing desktop usage following reports that in 2021, mobile phones generated 54.25% of traffic while desktops sat at 42.9%.

As a result of the Google mobile algorithm, this has been widely adopted as the new norm for web design. Optimising the user experience for how we shop and interact online will help businesses meet the demand down the line.

Why mobile first websites are a must for 2022

As we continue to adapt to meet the expectations of demanding mobile customers, the Google mobile algorithm will prepare businesses to stay ahead in the digital world.

If you want to provide your customers with an efficient user experience and be recognised as relevant, applying mobile-first web design is a must. With the majority of customers now being mobile-first to interact with brands – generating 56.75% of website traffic in 2021 – it’s crucial that businesses tailor their content.

Failure to do so will result in your business falling behind and essentially losing out on traffic. As the Google mobile algorithm favours mobile-first design, this will better your chances of retaining higher search engine results against those who are yet to implement it.

Compared to other search engines, Google also has the highest share of organic mobile search traffic (61%) – something that is predicted to continue rising over the next couple of years.How can I prepare for mobile indexing?

How can I prepare for mobile indexing?

Even if your website is friendly to mobile users, that might not automatically mean Google will recognise you on their optimised index.

There are many areas to consider to ensure your website is optimised for mobile users, however the below three steps are a good place to start.

1. Make sure your website design is mobile-optimised

Google’s mobile-first algorithm

There is a definite difference between being ‘mobile-friendly’ and ‘mobile optimisation’, and it’s important you’re aiming for the latter.

Mobile optimisation is true responsive-mobile design. Things are not just shrunken or rearranged when viewing on a smaller screen size.

Instead, content will resize for multiple screens, resolutions and orientations to provide visitors with just as good a browsing experience as using a desktop.

Consider your website design, is it providing the best possible experience for your users?

2. Get content ready for mobile viewing

It’s not just your design that should be mobile-optimised, but also your content.

If your pages are content heavy, it places a burden on your audience to wade through it on a small screen. By considering their experience more when developing mobile content, it will satisfy both your users and Google’s mobile algorithm.

Make sure you’re optimising paragraphs and sentence lengths for mobile users, along with any images or videos used.

Also, if the mobile version of your website has less content than your desktop version, you should ensure your primary content (the reason for users to visit your website) is included.

That said, you should ensure you are keeping important content – while your mobile site’s content doesn’t have to be identical to your desktop site’s content, important content should still be present. 

Removing smaller features like email opt-ins won’t have a major impact from an SEO point of view, but excluding things purely because it feels too long for a mobile layout can have a negative impact. 

3. Optimise your speed and reduce errors

Google’s mobile-first algorithm

With Google’s mobile algorithm coming into play as of July 2022, site speed will be more important than ever before.

According to Google, 53% of mobile users will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. 

Ideally, your website’s load time for both desktop and mobile will be under 1 second, but under 3 seconds is still acceptable. 

If your website is slow to load, you risk time-poor users clicking off and your bounce rate increasing. Something that will be a red flag for Google.

It’s important to pay attention to how quickly your page content loads, your browser’s response to user input, and the stability of your content as it loads.

Get prepared for Google’s mobile algorithm update by July 2022

Make sure your website doesn’t suffer from a decline in traffic or penalisation from Google. Discover how to optimise your design and content for mobile with a detailed website audit and get ready for the roll out in July 2022.