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FAQs about the April 21st mobile-friendly update

FAQs about the April 21st mobile-friendly update

We’d like to share answers to your frequently asked questions. For background, in February, we announced that the mobile-friendly update will boost the rankings of mobile-friendly pages — pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices — in mobile search results worldwide. (Conversely, pages designed for only large screens may see a significant decrease in rankings in mobile search results.) To get us all on the same page, here are the most frequently asked questions:

General FAQs

1. Will desktop and/or tablet ranking also be affected by this change?

No, this update has no effect on searches from tablets or desktops. It affects searches from mobile devices across all languages and locations.

2. Is it a page-level or site-level mobile ranking boost? 

It’s a page-level change. For instance, if ten of your site’s pages are mobile-friendly, but the rest of your pages aren’t, only the ten mobile-friendly pages can be positively impacted.

3. How do I know if Google thinks a page on my site is mobile-friendly?

Individual pages can be tested for “mobile-friendliness” using the Mobile-Friendly Test.

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Test individual URLs in real-time with the Mobile-Friendly Test.
To review site-level information on mobile-friendliness, check out the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools. This feature’s data is based on the last time we crawled and indexed your site’s pages.
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Mobile Usability in Webmaster Tools provides a snapshot of your entire site’s mobile-friendliness.
4. Unfortunately, my mobile-friendly pages won’t be ready until after April 21st. How long before they can be considered mobile-friendly in ranking?
We determine whether a page is mobile-friendly every time it’s crawled and indexed — you don’t have to wait for another update. Once a page is mobile-friendly, you can wait for Googlebot for smartphones to naturally (re-)crawl and index the page or you can expedite processing by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index in Webmaster Tools. For a large volume of URLs, consider submitting a sitemap. In the sitemap, if your mobile content uses pre-existing URLs (such as with Responsive Web Design or dynamic serving), also include the lastmod tag.
5. Since the mobile ranking change rolls out on April 21st, if I see no drop in traffic on April 22nd, does that mean that my site’s rankings aren’t impacted?
You won’t be able to definitively determine whether your site’s rankings are impacted by the mobile-friendly update by April 22nd. While we begin rolling out the mobile-friendly update on April 21st, it’ll be a week or so before it makes its way to all pages in the index.
6. I have a great mobile site, but the Mobile-Friendly Test tells me that my pages aren’t mobile-friendly. Why?
If a page is designed to work well on mobile devices, but it’s not passing the Mobile-Friendly Test, the most common reason is that Googlebot for smartphones is blocked from crawling resources, like CSS and JavaScript, that are critical for determining whether the page is legible and usable on a mobile device (i.e., whether it’s mobile-friendly). To remedy:
  1. Check if the Mobile-Friendly Test shows blocked resources (often accompanied with a partially rendered image).
  2. Allow Googlebot to crawl the necessary files.
  3. Double-check that your page passes the Mobile-Friendly Test.
  4. Use Fetch as Google with Submit to Index and submit your updated robots.txt to Google to expedite the re-processing of the updated page (or just wait for Google to naturally re-crawl and index).
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The most common reason why a mobile page fails the Mobile-Friendly Test is that Googlebot for smartphones is blocked from crawling resources, like CSS and JavaScript, that are crucial for understanding the page’s mobile-friendliness. 
To reiterate, we recommend that site owners allow Googlebot to crawl all resources for a page (including CSS, JavaScript, and images), so that we can properly render, index, and in this case, assess whether the page is mobile-friendly.
7. What if I link to a site that’s not mobile-friendly?
Your page can still be “mobile-friendly” even if it links to a page that’s not mobile-friendly, such as a page designed for larger screens, like desktops. It’s not the best experience for mobile visitors to go from a mobile-friendly page to a desktop-only page, but hopefully as more sites become mobile-friendly, this will become less of a problem.
8. Does Google give a stronger mobile-friendly ranking to pages using Responsive Web Design (which uses the same URL and the same HTML for the desktop and mobile versions) vs. hosting a separate mobile site (like www for desktop and m.example.com for mobile)?
No, mobile-friendliness is assessed the same, whether you use responsive web design (RWD), separate mobile URLs, or dynamic serving for your configuration. If your site uses separate mobile URLs or dynamic serving, we recommend reviewing the Mobile SEO guide to make sure Google is properly crawling and indexing your mobile pages.

9. Will my site / page disappear on mobile search results if it’s not mobile-friendly?
While the mobile-friendly change is important, we still use a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.

Specialized FAQs

10. What if my audience is desktop only? Then there’s no reason to have a mobile site, right?
Not exactly. Statistics show that more people are going “mobile only” — either because they never had a desktop or because they won’t replace their existing desktop. Additionally, a non-mobile-friendly site may not see many mobile visitors precisely for that reason.
The mobile-friendly update will apply to mobile searches conducted across all sites, regardless of the site’s target audiences’ language, region, or proportion of mobile to desktop traffic.
11. I have pages showing mobile usability errors because they embed a YouTube video. What can I do?
We suggest paying close attention to how the YouTube video is embedded. If you are using the “old-style” <object> embeds in the mobile page, convert to <iframe> embeds for broader compatibility. YouTube now uses the HTML5 player on the web by default, so it’s mobile-friendly to embed videos using the <iframe> tags from the “share” feature on the watch page or from the YouTube iFrame API. If you have a more complex integration, that should also be mobile-friendly, since it’ll instruct the device to use the device’s native support.
For Flash content from sites other than YouTube, check if there is an equivalent HTML5 embed tag or code snippet to avoid using proprietary plugins.
12. Is there a clear standard for sizing tap targets?
Yes, we suggest a minimum of 7mm width/height for primary tap targets and a minimum margin of 5mm between secondary tap targets. The average width of an adult’s finger pad is 10mm, and these dimensions can provide a usable interface while making good use of screen real estate.
13. To become mobile-friendly quickly, we’re thinking of creating a very stripped down version of our site (separate mobile pages) until our new responsive site is complete. Do you foresee any problems with this?
First, keep in mind that we support three mobile configurations and that your website doesn’t have to be responsive to be mobile-friendly. In response to your question, please be cautious about creating a “stripped down” version of your site. While the page may be formatted for mobile, if it doesn’t allow your visitors to easily complete their common tasks or have an overall smooth workflow, it may become frustrating to your visitors and perhaps not worth the effort. Should a temporary mobile site be created, once the RWD is live, be sure to move the site properly. For example, update all links so they no longer reference the separate mobile URLs and 301 redirect mobile URLs to their corresponding RWD version.

Recommendations

If you’re totally new to building a mobile-friendly site, it’s not too late! Check out our Getting Started guide in theMobile-Friendly Websites documentation.
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Get started on your mobile site at https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/.

 

If you already have a mobile site, investigate the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools to make sure that Google detects your site’s pages as mobile-friendly.

Source: Google Blog

Posted in: Blog, Google Updates, Latest News, Mobile, Website Design & Optimisation

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Forget Keyword Search, Think Knowledge

Google has realised that people are searching for real objects and not a random selection of “keywords”. It is important when creating content for your website that you think about answering a question that your customer is seek an answer for. Google has developed the Knowledge engine to link the two together, see the video below:

Posted in: Google Updates, Latest News, Website Design & Optimisation

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Smartphone and Tablet usage is booming in New Zealand

 

New Zealand is on a major growth for the usage of mobile smartphones according to a new recent survey by Frost & Sullivan New Zealand Mobile Device Usage Report 2013 

According to Frost & Sullivan, 64% of New Zealanders between 15 – 65  own a smartphone and 26% own a tablet. With tablets being a less personal device, it’s relevant to note that 42% of all NZ households have at least one tablet, which is used by multiple people.  The New Zealand Mobile Device Usage report looks at smartphone and tablet ownership and usage trends.  Also covered are forecasts for device ownership to 2018, with NZ predicted to reach 90% smartphone ownership and 78% tablet ownership in 4 years time. Read the full article

Source: Haptic Generation

Posted in: Latest News, Mobile, Retail Strategies, Website Design & Optimisation

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How Google Search Works: 60 Trillion Pages and Counting

According to Google there are more than 60 Trillion pages they now store in their database. Watch and scroll through the story to see how it all works. How Google Search Works

An old 2010 video by Matt Cutts helps explain how Google searches the web

Google Uses more than 200 ranking factors. See the graphic below:

200 Google Ranking Factors

Posted in: Blog, Google Updates, Latest News, Matt Cutts, Search Engine Optimisation, Website Design & Optimisation

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Should You Update Your Website?

How Old is Your Website Design and Should you Update it for Ranking Purposes?

Matt Cutts from Google explained in a recent video Q&A session that a website could possibly lose its position if the site is not being maintained or updated. He stated that a website that was “older” and had not had a “facelift” could start to lose rankings due to the user experience not being as good as a more up to date modern website.

Google has, for many years, stated their position on ranking being wholly focused on the end user experience. Their entire business model relies on giving their clients, the people searching, a positive user experience. Ie if the person is searching for information, then they will rank the results in the order that will give the searcher the best user experience possible. Eg is the website relevant to the searched phrase, is the site authoritative in the subject matter, once the person has visited the site, did they stay on the site and if so for how long did they stay. On the other hand if the person quickly returned back to the search results page, then this tells Google the website was either not relevant or the user experience of that particular site was bad. This will influence Google’s results the next time the same search is requested.

 

Posted in: Latest News, Matt Cutts, Search Engine Optimisation, Website Design & Optimisation

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Google on Mobile Search Results

Matt Cutts at the PubCon Las Vegas, he discussed the role of smartphones and their impact on search results. This is definitely an area SEOs need to continue to focus on, as it is clear that sites that are not mobile-friendly will see a negative impact on their rankings in the mobile search results.
Smartphone ranking will take several things into account, he explained:

  • If your phone doesn’t display Flash, Google will not show flash sites in your results.
  • If your website is Flash heavy, you need to consider its use, or ensure the mobile version of your site does not use it.
  • If your website routes all mobile traffic to the homepage rather than the internal page the user was attempting to visit, it will be ranked lower.
  • If your site is slow on mobile phones, Google is less likely to rank it.

Cutts was pretty clear that with the significant increase in mobile traffic, not having a mobile-friendly site will seriously impact the amount of mobile traffic Google will send you. Webmasters should begin prioritizing their mobile strategy immediately.

Source: SearchEngineWatch.com

Posted in: Latest News, Matt Cutts, Mobile, Website Design & Optimisation

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Penguin 2.0 has just been rolled out.

According to Matt Cutts, users will notice a significant change in search results.

I am not sure if you have prepared, but it’s been reported that websites with strong social signals and social activity have not been badly affected.

In fact, Social Signals and authority have become the latest focus. They are gaining importance in affecting search ranking.

Posted in: Blog, Brand Development, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media Marketing, Website Design & Optimisation

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Google Targets Spammers in 2013

Spammers beware! This summer, Google is going after black-hat and link spammers. In a video on YouTube, Google’s Matt Cutts announced 9 things that Google will do within the next months. How do these changes affect the position of your web pages in Google’s search results and what can you do to protect your rankings?

Posted in: Blog, Search Engine Optimisation, Website Design & Optimisation

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2012 Google Push Into Social Media

Social Media and Google+

You probably know already that we focus on search engine optimization, adwords, online and offline marketing, and software to do the same.

 

Backlinks used to be the most important aspect, and they’re still very important. However, nowadays, especially after the latest Google updates, there’s a new factor that is rapidly rising in it’s relative importance for successful search engine optimization.

 

I’m talking about Social Signals of course you will for sure hear more about this in 2012. That’s because this is the year that Google is making an all-out push into social media and its integration into their search ranking algorithms.

 

So what are social signals? Very simple, this is just a fancy name for something you’re probably already doing — mentioning your blog posts or new sites on G+, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and other such sites. If you do this, you’re already sending a signal to Google that the blog post or new site is important, and Google will then take notice of the fact that your content had a mention on the social sites. That’s the long and the short of it.

 

Social signals are a very good indicator for Google whether a specific piece of content has value — because these signals are supposed to come from humans. Of course the temptation is there to “trick” this new system, just like people game their backlinks today using the outlawed ‘link farms’.

 

But I advise against it, because determining if a social signal is noise or valuable should be quite easy for Google, with its massive computational resources. That’s because it is very hard for the ‘tricksters’ to avoid leaving any footprints of their activities. Even such innocuous factors such as the timing of the social signals can be analyzed and a fake signal will stand out like a big red pimple in the middle of legitimate data. That is exactly why Google is raising the importance of legitimate social signals in their determination of what is important and valuable content to show to searchers.

 

So what can you do? The solution is simple: write valuable content that will generate social signals naturally. It’s the old Google mantra all over again: write for the human reader, not the search engine. If people like your content then they will talk about it on Facebook and Twitter and Google Plus

Posted in: Blog, Search Engine Optimisation, Social Media Marketing, Website Design & Optimisation

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SEO Friendly Web Design & Development

At Attractum we design and develop websites that are stylish, fast loading, straightforward to navigate and search engine friendly. We promote accessibility in our design and ensure our web site work is validated to meet current web standards.

Our web development work ranges from brochure web sites, database web sites (ASP & PHP/SQL), ecommerce web sites, through to content management systems (CMS).

Whether you require a basic or brochure website or a more complex ecommerce design, Attractum takes a flexible approach which you can trust and rely on.

Posted in: Blog, Website Design & Optimisation

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