In recent weeks we have received messages from clients and friends, scared because some “SEO expert” told them that their website will lose their rankings (or will disappear from Google in the worst case) if they do not turn their website into a mobile-friendly responsive design before April 21, 2015. This is not totally correct and probably a somehow distorted conclusion made ​​based on a recent announcement from Google regarding some changes to its search algorithm:

The announcement of Google explained that due to the notorious increase of mobile devices, they consider it an obligation that search engines show more often in their results web pages, that adapt automatically to the device used by the user, enabling a better experience when viewing content. To do this, a new factor in their ranking algorithm for mobile devices would be an indicator of whether the web page displayed is responsive (adaptable to mobile devices) or not. If the answer is yes, this factor will give a plus one “extra help” to the qualification that Google provides to such a website, and is more likely to appear in Google search results made ​​for mobile devices.

FIRST CONCLUSION: The change in the algorithm ONLY affects Google searches from mobile devices.

Note, incidentally, that the announcement of Google is not the word “penalty” or a synonym of it mentioned even once. This is because it is not a bad practice that your website is is not responsive or, putting it more clearly, Google does not consider a penalty (a drop in the overall rankings of a web due to actions that Google considered a bad practice) the fact that your website is not adapted to mobile devices. The update algorithm will reward those pages that are taking this issue into consideration, giving them the chance to appear in better positions, more often, whenever someone you search Google from a mobile phone or tablet. However, if your website is responsive but still fails to comply with any of the other hundreds of factors that Google’s algorithm takes into account for the positioning of a website, the changes will not be noticeable.

SECOND CONCLUSION: The change in Google’s algorithm on April 21 is not a penalty, is a reward for good practice.

You must convert your website to a responsive web design – period. The sooner the better if you want to have an extra edge over your competitors in Google (and to provide the mobile user a good experience when visiting your site), especially in highly competitive sectors, but you will not be penalized by Google with a drop in rankings or exclusion from searches, if you do not.

I hope this article will be helpful and help you avoid being deceived and / or frightened. Making decisions in a rush often leads to bad decisions. If you do not know if your website is now responsive and mobile friendly, or you just want to asses the possibility of been rewarded by Google for using good practices, just let me know and I will be happy to help.