Who is afraid of Google Updates? Let’s see the best way of approaching current update: MobileGeddon 2015

The simplest approach you could say: If you are the person who acts always with keeping the rules of Google, you don’t have to worry about any Google updates had happened, happens or will happen in their ranking algorithm.
Yes, it is true.
But, what if you were not aware of these rules at the moment of publishing Google Updates? Or, how to survive the possible “harmful side effects” of your fault in the case you simply missed something important within your post unintentionally last time?
As a conclusion, if it had happened – for any reason – so, how to avoid the possible penalties, waning traffic and decreasing rank of your site?

First, I’ll write down my own ideas and give you a simple explanation in some words – for the average Internet marketer – about how to ensure whether his/her site can be considered to to mobile friendly currently or it needs to be improved unconditionally and immediately.
Today, I’ll introduce 5 ways (Test 1 – Test 5) to check mobile friendliness very simply and easily.
After introducing these SEO methods –  if you want to obtain deeper insights -, I’ll give you a short list of some other resources – incl. SEO Services – with the purpose to give you the opportunity of learning more about it.

Table of Contents (in order of appearance):

  • How to avoid the possible harmful effects of Google Updates?
  • Why is the latest Google Update called as “MobileGeddon”?
  • Which sites can be affected by Google Updates?
    What if you operate WordPress sites?
    What to do in the case of operating non-WordPress sites?
  • Now, let’s see the simplest and most obvious SEO Tools to check the mobile friendliness of any site.
  • Test 1. Check Google Webmasters Search Console for errors
  • Test 2. Let’s make a real Google search on a mobile device – the simplest and quickest way to test
    The process of a real Google Search on mobile
    1. Searching for a particular page by keywords or keyword phrases
    2. Searching for the entire site
    The test results of a real Google Search on mobile
    What to do if you cannot see this text “Mobile Friendly” in front of the description of your tested page?
  • Test 3. Google Developers PageSpeed Insights
  • Test 4. Mobile Overview Tool of SEMrush
    How does SEMrush’s mobile friendliness checker tool work?
  • Test 5. Mobile Emulation sites with the purpose to test mobile friendliness
    How to use the Mobile Phone Emulator (by Coweno)?
    Mobile Phone Emulator as IP and URL canonicalization checker
    Let’s see the Mobile Phone Emulator test results
  • Now, I’ll give you some other  resources to check mobile friendliness and whether your site/page meets the requirements of MobileGeddon

How to avoid the possible harmful effects of Google Updates?

However, Google never announces the forthcoming updates, if you can read between the lines you’ll be able to discover the target of the next update. If you know the aim, you’ll have certainly got the the idea what to act and how to avoid the harmful effects (if any) concerning your site.
Honestly, Google’s intention with the updates is really clear: it is some kind of fight against spam and the not white hat SEO (including linkfarms, front-door and back door) tactics with more and more sophisticated technological tools (various enhanced algoritms9, in order to protect the straightness and virtue of the ever-changing Internet World.

Why is the latest Google Update called as “MobileGeddon”?

Previously, Google titled the updates with names of popular animals. It was a nice cover, because nobody was able to see behind the scene at the first sight – I mean what the particular update may contain – simply by the name itself, such as: “Panda”, Penguin” Hummingbird updates. If you want to know about the content of these previous Google updates, you should read about it more.

Finally, MobileGeddon has been released on 21st April 2015. Our job today is to speak about this latest update, which is targeting mobile friendliness of any site on the web. This is the reason why it is called as “MobileGeddon” (it is the most well-known name among the other mentions such as mobilepocalyse, mobocalypse, mopocalypse).
In the old times, it was enough to create a simple website and push all of the available niche specific keywords into it. Then, due to Google updates the relevance of the keywords (more exactly: today, the content of the keyword Meta tag is not as significant as it was before since Google doesn’t index it at all) faded and the relevance of your content came out as the most important ranking factor. It was an advantageous change, because along this way Google could detect and remove many suspicious, spammy sites which have been built on using hundreds – if not thousands –  of keywords, and represented no value at all. These changes served the interest of the Internet Community, so they were welcome because these invaluable, only-for-ad, or only-for-money built sites without no relevant and useful content lost their ranks and slowly disappeared from the center point.

Which sites can be affected by Google Updates?

Any sites are currently on the web have been affected by MobileGeddon. If the structure of your site doesn’t meet the requirements of mobile friendliness, you ranking factor may drop significantly, or, with other words, the sites which comply with the rules will come up first, overtaking the others which do not. Mobile friendliness includes many factors such as viewports, user experience, responsive design, etc. If you are not familiar with these expressions, please visit: Google Developers – Responsive Web Design – Web Fundamentals: https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/layouts/rwd-fundamentals/#use-css-media-queries-for-responsiveness.

What if you operate WordPress sites?

99% of the currently available WordPress Themes are Responsive, so you don’t have to worry about Google Updates only check it. Concerning images, the criteria of Responsiveness means multi-sized images, so some Themes will require you to upload several sizes of your particular images to become responsive. Other WordPress Themes will do this job automatically instead of you with resizing the big images into more different sizes, with keeping the aspect ratio (except thumbnails) and the original as well. For example: if your original was 1920×1080 px, you’ll get another resized  1024×576 px, 300×169 px, 150×150 px (this last is as a thumbnail) images automatically (source: PageLines WordPress Theme). Plus, you can define a custom size, too. When another device with different viewport is viewable such as desktop, laptop, mobile with big or small screen, tablet WordPress will change the image sizes and will display the images accordingly. It is really a great feature of WordPress.
But, if you use WordPress – and you had read Google’s Responsive Web Design Guidance – , you should take care with using <div></div> tags, because it may mess up your site with regards to the facts that WordPress uses this technique itself, “automatically”. However, you have to pay attention how you define tables (instead of fix pixel width use percentage) and other spreadsheets. As conclusion, please test your site or particular page before publishing. How? I’ll show you some very simple ways below.

What to do in the case of operating non-WordPress sites?

In this case you might want to ensure whether the platform uses any kinds of plugins for the responsiveness (e.g. earlier versions of Joomla), or you must re-write your scripts following Google’s Responsive Web Design Guidance (e.g. your own designed pure PHP site). In this last case, I would not consider it to an easy work: you should check every single parameter, define <div></div> tags, different viewports and images sizes, CSS Media Queries, and so on. But, if you don’t want your site to be rejected but comply with the requirements of Google Updates, you must do it.

Now, let’s see the simplest and most obvious SEO Tools to check the mobile friendliness of any site.

Like always, I’ll use my own seoserviceguide.com site for this purpose (because it belongs to me and it will not hurt anybody’s rights if I make some experiments or do some tests on it). As I’ve mentioned, my site has been created with WordPress, so this test may prove the mobile friendliness of a WordPress site, too.

Test 1. Check Google Webmasters Search Console for errors

Google Webmasters Tools - Search Console - Search Traffic - Mobile Usability - Best Way Of Approaching Google Updates - MobileGeddon 2015It is the first and most obvious check: on your account, go to:
Google Webmasters Tools > Search Console > Search Traffic > Mobile Usability section. Here you may get a simple table – in the case of any errors – with the data as follows:

           Usability error    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –  Pages with errors (if any)
– Content not sized to viewport
– Small font size
– Touch elements too close
– Flash usage
– Viewport not configured

Your job will be to investigate the reason(s) of these errors (if any) and then fix them.

Test 2. Let’s make a real Google search on a mobile device – the simplest and quickest way to test

Mobile Friendliness Test - Best Way Of Approaching Google Updates - MobileGeddon 2015

I’ll use an ANDROID device first. Why a Google device? If anyone can tell the truth about the mobile friendliness, then Google has to be considered to authentic. You can use your device as well, its brand and operation system do not matter at all in this case, if it is equipped with a Google toolbar.

The process of a real Google Search on mobile:
1. Searching for a particular page by keywords or keyword phrases:

I’ll use this option now. On your Google Toolbar, type in your keywords featuring your site or a page. If you call your site with its entire address (direct link), you’ll land on your site at once and this is definitely not good for us in this case. What we need to get during the test is the search results screen with the list of the available sites, not the site itself.
In my case, the keyword phrase will be as follows: “seo service guide”. Fortunately, my site comes up first (just after the yellow paid ad) for this keyword phrase.

2. Searching for the entire site:

As another alternative (if you cannot find your site by your keywords), instead of the keywords simply type in the Google toolbar (without quote marks, there is no space after the colon): “site:yoursiteaddress.com”. This latest alternative is also good if you want to test your entire site (incl. all of your pages), because the SERP will show all of them.

The test results of a real Google Search on mobile:

If you examine the screenshot, you can read: “Mobile Friendly”. It means, that particular page is mobile friendly, optimized for mobile devices.
Nonetheless, this test result doesn’t unconditionally mean this examined page must be SEO Friendly at the same time, but it is quite sure that Mobile Friendly.

You can repeat this test as many times as you want if you choose another keywords or keyword phrases.

What to do if you cannot see this text “Mobile Friendly” in front of the description of your tested page?

First of all, don’t panic. If you cannot see this text, it may mean your examined page is certainly not mobile friendly for a reason.
Before finding out this reason, go to Test 2 or Test 3 below and continue this simple testing:

Test 3. Google Developers PageSpeed Insights

Since mobile loading speed and User Experience on Mobile are also important factors, you should check how much time your visitors must wait for your site to come up and how they can “enjoy” visiting your site. A slowly loading site may cause frustration and this fact can be harmful to your business (and your bounce rate of course). If the User Experience your site is offering is low, peolpe will leave your site without doing anything there.PageSpeed Insights - Mobile Friendliness Of SEOServiceGuide.com - Best Way Of Approaching Google Updates - MobileGeddon 2015
For this test to make the easiest way is visiting Google Developers PageSpeed Insights: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ page and check the results of your site/page with regards to a mobile device.
On this page, you’ll be given some advice to follow how to improve the Loading Speed and User Experience of your site, what to correct and optimize on your page or which parts to eliminate from the script (if necessary). The better the percentage of Loading Speed and User Experience the better the mobile friendliness factor. These rules are as follows:
– Optimize images
– Eliminate render-blocking JavaScript and CSS in above-the-fold content
– Leverage browser caching
– Prioritize visible content
– Minify JavaScript
– Minify HTML
– Minify CSS
– Enable compression
– Avoid landing page redirects
– Reduce server response time
– User Experience
(incl. Size tap targets appropriately)
– Avoid plugins
– Configure the viewport
– Size content to viewport
– Use legible font sizes

On PageSpeed Insights site you’ll get detailed  explanation about these rules, what they are and how you can improve the results. After making the changes on your site, it is advisable to come back and run a test again.

Test 4. Mobile Overview Tool of SEMrush

Yes, we are here again, SEMrush. As I’ve mentioned it before, they were very well equipped with all necessary tools you can use for free, that is even if you are not a member. Now, we’ll use their useful SEO Tool which has made it possible to check the mobile friendliness of any site on the web within seconds!

How does SEMrush’s mobile friendliness checker tool work?

It is very simple. Go to the main site, then you’ll land on the Overview page. After this, simply click on Mobile and you’ll see the results:

SEMrush - Mobile Friendliness Test Of SEOServiceGuide.com - Best Way Of Approaching Google Updates - MobileGeddon 2015

Test 5. A Mobile Emulation site with the purpose to test mobile friendliness

Mobile Friendliness Test by Cowemo Mobile Phone Emulator - Best Way Of Approaching Google Updates - MobileGeddon 2015I’d like to highlight the Mobile Phone Emulator by Cowemo first. Their Emulator can simulate well the following mobile devices (currently) with different, adjustable screen and display sizes:
– Apple iPhone 3, 4, 5, 6 and iPad Mini, Air
– Samsung GT i5700, i9700
– RIM Blackberry 8900
– HTC HD2, Touch Diamond
– LG U970

How to use the Mobile Phone Emulator (by Cowemo)?

It is very simple: go to http://www.mobilephoneemulator.com/ website. Here you’ll find a question about your screen size first (not the phone, but the display you are using to run the test on your PC or Mac). You’ll even  be offered the chance to select the same browser you use with your mobile device (to obtain a better display). These browsers as follows (in order of appearance): Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari.
You can choose from Screen Orientation: Vertical or Horizontal, and the size: Real (as the real size), or the size which fits to your monitor size: Screen.
Now, I’ll use the most common browser on Apple Devices: Safari, and will run the test on an Apple IPhone 6 Plus, resolution: 1080×1920 in 401 ppi.
To begin the test, simply type in your URL address to “Website to emulate” box.

Mobile Phone Emulator as IP and URL canonicalization checker:

Another great advantage of this Mobile Phone Emulator (by Cowemo) , that it will display your canonical URL address, so it is functioning like such kind of an IP and URL Canonicalization Checker.  I’ll explain it in short: if your site is with www and you add that without www, the Emulator will display the Real Location, that is with www. And vica-versa. I use my site without www, so the displayed result (Real Location) is correct. Additionally, since my site runs on WordPress, thus this tool is also available for making an IP Canonicalization test on Wordpress. Try out this tool as well, it will help a lot.

Let’s see the Mobile Phone Emulator test results:

If you can see your entire site on the screen (the viewport is not out of the screen, so you don’t need to swipe).

Conclusion and summary of the Mobile Friendliness tests:

I think, with applying these very simple – and taking consideration a not negligible circumstance: FREE – tests, you’ll be able to check the mobile friendliness of your site/page. However, if you want to dig deeper, you might want to use another SEO Tools as well.

Now, I’ll give you some other  resources to check mobile friendliness and whether your site/page meets the requirements of MobileGeddon

As I’ve promised above, I’ll show another approaches to test your site and obtain more information about Google Updates. In advance, among the other ways you’ll find the method to test with Google Answer Boxes, SEO Analyzer Software and articles and explanations about the new changes.

1. SEMrush’s blog: Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update: Not the End of the World, by Elena Terenteva, April 20, 2015

“The search giant Google previously gave advice on site configuration and making pages viewable and even started indexing apps. But until now those changes have not, as far as we know, had any material impact on ranking and search engine optimization (SEO). That’s all about to change.
Google says: “Users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” This applies worldwide across all language groups. In other words, mobile friendliness has become a ranking signal. In addition, users signed into mobile apps may also see indexed app content showing up in search results.” – Read more on their page: http://www.semrush.com/blog/googles-mobile-friendly-update-not-the-end-of-the-world/

2. SearchEngineLand: Infographic: Mobile SEO Tips To Help You Survive The Coming Google Mobilegeddon, by Search Engine Land Infographics on April 6, 2015 at 9:15 am

“Call it mobilegeddon,mobilepocalyse, mobocalypse or mopocalypse, Google’s big update on April 21 that will reward mobile-friendly pages is coming. If you’re not mobile-friendly, you could find some ranking drops. How to prepare? The folks at Nine Hertz have created an infographic with lots of helpful mobile SEO advice.” – Read more on their page: http://searchengineland.com/infographic-mobile-seo-tips-217912

3. SEOBook: Responsive Design for Mobile SEO, by Aaron Wall, 26th February 2015

“Why Is Mobile So Important?
If you look just at your revenue numbers as a publisher, it is easy to believe mobile is of limited importance. In our last post I mentioned an AdAge article highlighting how the New York Times was generating over half their traffic from mobile with it accounting for about 10% of their online ad revenues.” – Read more on their page: http://www.seobook.com/responsive-design-seo

I hope I could help you understand better these important changes concerning Google Updates.

Thank you for visiting and reading!

Gyula Olah electrical engineer, author, publisher, the owner of SEO Service Guide site.

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