That mobile optimized search is emerging as the single greatest trend is nothing new. That Google favors websites optimized for the mobile search isn’t new as well. But what’s new is Google’s revelation that by April 21 it will increase its “use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” In other words, it is set to launch a major update which is supposed to alter the way it assesses the mobile user-friendliness of websites.

The nature of the updates has not been revealed and is therefore hazy at the moment. But Google has revealed that this update, actually an algorithm change, would have a much greater impact on search rankings than the Penguin and Panda updates. So, logically and based on previous instances, you can expect ranking drops for websites not optimized well for mobile devices.

Mobile Users Coming in but Site Not Optimized?

You have cause for worry if your website does receive a significant percentage of its traffic from mobile users but isn’t optimized well for mobile devices. Chances are you’re already facing the consequences of this since Google has been showing some preference for mobile-friendly sites for quite some time. It has now already begun rolling out changes in rankings on the basis of information received from indexed apps of users who have signed in. This could already have a significant impact on the display of search results and the kind of results displayed.

Google Webmaster Assistance

Using Google Analytics you can determine the percentage of your website traffic that is mobile. Google also provides the Mobile-Friendly Test and Mobile Usability Report. The former can help you analyze whether your website meets the initial requirements for a mobile-optimized experience. The Mobile Usability Report can help you see your website the manner in which it is seen by Google’s algorithms. You probably have already got these checked, but if not it’s high time you did it before you wake up to nasty surprises following the April 21 algorithm change.

These tools can help you get a mobile strategy in place by ensuring that the mobile version of your website is functional – whether it may be a responsive website design or a separate mobile version. The Mobile Usability Report will help you analyze whether the mobile bots of Google can manage to crawl your site. If your site isn’t conspicuous to them, you know you’ve got work to do. Mobile-friendliness does not apply to your home page alone, so make sure all the pages of your site navigate well on a mobile device.

There may be only a few days to April 21, but you can be prepared for the ultimate mobile update through a few smart moves.