Google is changing their algorithm beginning April 21, 2015. If you do not have a mobile-friendly site your search rankings may be affected. To check your site, follow the steps below. Even if your site passes, you might need to take additional steps.
For further reading, review the articles from the list of links at the end of this post. If you have questions or need an upgrade to a responsive site, send me a note via my Contact page.
Update April 23, 2015: Added information from Google about the rollout.
1) Check your site
Google created a site check tool. Type in your URL and see if your site passes.
Site Pass Notice
You may also see a list of resources that are said to cause errors. To see the list, click Show resources.
From what I can find so far, I think those are mainly related to plugins and widgets. I’m looking into it and will update when I have more information. You can also check the Google mobile forum to see if a question you have regarding resources is addressed there.
Site Error Notice
The first two items mean that a person would have to tap and stretch the screen on the mobile device to be able to see the content clearly. The third item is something set in the page code. An update to a responsive design can fix all these errors. There are additional links for troubleshooting. I’ll add those at the end of this post.
If you do not have a responsive design and would like assistance with that, send me a note via my Contact page and I can help you set one up.
Update: April 18, 2015 You can also check your site status by searching on your phone. After running the site check, I suggest searching for your site in Google – on your phone. My site passed the mobile-friendly test and is listed as Mobile-friendly in the search results. The mobile-friendly designation does not display on a desktop or laptop computer. Here’s a screenshot of a search I ran on my phone.
Update: June 1, 2015 I renamed my company to 2moroDocs, but will keep this previous image intact.
2) Check the usability rating
This step requires a Google Search Console account. (This was formerly known as Webmaster Tools.) If you don’t have one, I suggest setting one up as it provides many helpful resources for website management.
1. Open your Search Console account.
Quick way: click the link in the right column on the mobile site check page.
Note: As of 5/27/15, the Mobile-Friendly Test page has not been updated to reflect the change from Webmaster Tools to Search Console. The page still looks as it does in the following graphic.
2. Select: Search Traffic > Mobile Usability.
Site Pass Notice
Site Error Notice
This example is from one of my sites, which passed the first mobile check. There are two affected pages. Those pages are separate HTML pages I had set up for Privacy and Terms of Service notices. The first error (viewport) I could perhaps fix by adding that line of code to the header section. However, I’m just going to set these two pages up right in my site so I don’t have to worry about them again.
When I ran a usability check the first time I ran the mobile check tool, I did have a list of errors for a site. They were related to images. When I checked the following day, all those errors were gone and I have pass notices everywhere. There may be a few days elapsed time to check all of this, so set time aside and definitely return to check your usability status.
3) Fix errors
If you have errors, proceed as follows.
Failed mobile-friendly test (Step 1 above)
I suggest an overhaul of your site to a responsive design. That should clear your errors and position your site to better handle all the mobile changes that may come.
Failed usability test (Step 2 above)
Dig into the error list and make changes as necessary. In my example, I’ll be moving some content to new pages. For more troubleshooting, check the Google mobile forum.
Here are some key links that provide background, troubleshooting, and other information related to the mobile algorithm change and site design setup.
Mobile Algorithm Change (Google)
These are all from Google.
Site check: Google Mobile-Friendly Test
Announcement (April 21, 2015): Rolling Out the Mobile-Friendly Update
Mobile troubleshooting forum: Webmaster Central Help Forums > Mobile Websites
. . . . . . . . . .
Announcement (February 2015): Finding More Mobile-Friendly Search Results
Information and resources: Mobile-Friendly Websites
Usability check: Tracking Mobile Usability in Webmaster Tools
Information: Helping Users Find Mobile-Friendly Pages
Mobile Algorithm Change (Third-Party)
These provide information about the algorithm change.
These provide information about responsive design features and testing.
See how your site renders on varied devices: Responsive Web Design Testing Tool
Nice overview: 9 basic principles of responsive web design
One of my favorite reference sites: Responsive Web Design
Thanks, Mari Smith!
Mari Smith added this post as a video on her Facebook page on April 18, 2015. Note: the video was originally under Tailored Thoughts, but I rebranded to 2moroDocs afterwards. It’s the same content!
I can create a new responsive website for you! Just send me a note via my Contact page. If you have any questions, let me know.
Update 5/27/15: Changed information from Webmaster Tools to Search Console based on Google change.