I have heard that Google will boost mobile-friendly websites in search results. My website is not mobile-friendly.
Will my website penalised in the Google search results if I have not made the website mobile friendly before April 21st?
The important thing to know is that (as stated here) the change only applies to mobile searches:
This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.
If you do not have a mobile friendly site, your ranking on desktop Google searches should not be affected.
Google may not class it as a "penalty", but yes the effect is the same. In mobile searches, mobile-friendly sites will rise up the ranks, meaning that non-friendly sites will by definition be placed lower.
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.
[Update] Please note: John Mueller has just told us that this only effects searches made by mobile users. To quote:
Just to be clear about the effects: sites that are mobile-friendly will rank higher, sites that aren't mobile-friendly will rank lower, in smartphone search results, after this change. Also, if your site isn't mobile-friendly, keep in mind that smartphone web usage is not slightly growing - it's exploding.
Thanks John! This is very valuable information. I appreciate your input on this.
Mobile friendly sites have enjoyed a bit of a ranking boost for quite some time being that mobile friendliness has been one of the factors. However, this announcement just means that the metric for such will be a bit stronger. Nothing more.
This should effect SERP placement and not site rank- meaning that sites that are more mobile friendly will be selected for higher SERP placement than less mobile friendly sites. There is no penalty.
Google announced that they will start penalizing pages that are not mobile friendly in the mobile search results:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.
Google filled in some additional details about the way this will work at SMX West:
Google has been asking for years, that you allow Googlebot to crawl your CSS and JS:
Everyone is right that this will only effect traffic from mobile devices.
Google has a tool so you can check what it thinks of your site? https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
But how will it effect you?
No one really knows until April 21, but to give you an idea what the effect will be I would recommend that you take a look over you analytics and see what portion of your traffic is coming from mobile search. From looking over a range of sites we run this looks to be 12-18% for B2B and 20-30% for B2C for organic mobile search.
There is talk that the update will be a bigger shakeup than Panda. So worst case is that if you are not mobile compliant than all your traffic from mobile search will disappear as you will be so far down the rankings.
So what effect would a 20-30% traffic loss from organic make?
There is no hard and fast rule with this it really does depends on the site. Go do the research and see, my advice if you can make your site compliant before April 21.