A Targeted Approach
Google’s upcoming mobile algorithm update will, according to Google, have an impact on more sites than either the Panda or the Penguin updates did. The key point of this update is to solely affect and improve mobile search results. The as of yet unnamed update will roll out April 21st, giving sites a bit of a buffer period to shore up their mobile SEO package and make sure their sites won’t lose out on the huge mobile search market come spring. The new update will rank sites’ compatibility or “friendliness” with mobile devices, impacting sites in all languages worldwide.
There are many things one can do to ensure a smooth and enjoyable mobile experience for your end user. Google has a guide on its expectations of sites and has a whole guide on exactly what to watch out for and what to tweak in order to make sure your site is as accessible on mobile devices as on desktops and laptops. Most importantly, everything has to be laid out correctly on the site, and media content that reads perfectly on a desktop browser may require different layout or coding to have the same effect on mobile. Due to the constraints on size and formatting for sites on mobile devices, one should always check their site on as wide a variety of devices as possible, so that any and all broken links, missing content, poor formatting, or even 404s, redirects, or slow speeds can be fixed so that users get the best experience everywhere.
The Big Picture
The size of the update seems to be not so much exactly what Google is tweaking in the algorithm, but is due to the sheer size of the mobile market. It was already true that your site’s compatibility with mobile devices was extremely important, now that will reflect in ranking and visibility. All in all this means that better content will be more consistently delivered before worse content, but it also highlights the importance of making sure your site is up to snuff on mobiles. Even if you have great content, poor mobile formatting and SEO could mean an up to 50% loss in your site’s viewing market come April, so now is the time to gear up!