Generally, writers (like any site owner) want their websites to rank well in search engine results. Whether an author wants to be found when someone searches ‘romance novels’ or ‘novelist conference speaker,’ or a freelancer wants to be found by editors for assignments – soon it might not matter how well your website is optimized.
Google recently announced a forthcoming search algorithm change that will greatly impact the visibility of websites in search engine results. Google’s announcement and news sources are reporting this will be one of the most significant changes so far. Google is usually cryptic about algorithm changes until after the fact; this is one of the only times they have announced the terms before release.
In the past, Google hinted about a pending change, provided a general time frame, but stayed pretty tightlipped about what exactly the change will be until after the update rolled out. The recent announcement is different: Google gave an exact date and the big factor that will affect a website’s visibility in organic search. The change takes effect April 21st and will impact websites that are not mobile-friendly. Mainly, if a website is not optimized for mobile use it will drop in rankings.
Mobile search surpassed PC search last year and the numbers continue to trend toward more mobile use. Search engines want websites to adapt to user trends. This big algorithm change is lighting a fire under site owners and encouraging everyone to make their respective sites mobile-friendly.
What do you need to know for your writer website? As writers we are used to working with deadlines, assignments, and revisions, so here you go:
- Your deadline: April 21, 2015
- Your assignment: Test your website with Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Test.” Just type your domain in their test box and they will tell you if your site passes or fails. If it fails, you will see a list of reasons why.
- Your revisions: Might not be necessary if your site passes the test above. If it fails, you need to contact your website provider and inquire about options for creating a mobile-friendly version of your website.
How does your site do on the test? Do you have some work to do before the big deadline? Fortunately, all of my websites passed. Many of my clients’ sites passed as well, but there are a few making updates before the algorithm change hits.