Don’t Get Caught with Your Pants Down: 3 Steps to Increase Your Search Traffic with Google’s Next Update

pants off

On April 21st, 2015, Google will roll out an update that will make mobile friendliness a bigger part of its algorithm. If you don’t think this is a big deal, think again.

Why? Because Google is saying the mobile update will have a bigger impact than its Panda update.

Should you be worried? Yes!

Here’s why, and here are some ways to take full advantage of this update.

Step #1: Make your website responsive

It’s generally not the best idea to create a separate website just for mobile visitors. The main reason you will want to avoid this approach is because updates to your main site won’t appear on your mobile site.

With responsive design, this is no longer a concern. A responsive design will automatically adapt your site to the size of a person’s screen, including all mobile devices.

When you are creating a responsive design, make sure you read this blog post as it will teach you how to create one that converts well.

Step #2: Speed up your site

Although there are 4G cellular networks, the Internet connection on your mobile device will never be as fast as a cable connection—at least not for the next year or two.

Also, since 4G signals aren’t everywhere, some people may be loading your website over a 3G connection.

For this reason, you need your site to load quickly. Keep in mind your entire site needs to adjust its size and layout, based on the device used to access the site.

So, how do you speed up your site? I could point you to a ton of resources like this one, but I recommend that you first start with Google PageSpeed. It’s Google’s own service that helps make sites faster.

If you don’t believe that site speed is important, check out this infographic that breaks down how slow site speed affects Google’s rankings. If you’re still not convinced, you can read a case study I wrote years ago on how I doubled my traffic by cleaning up my code and speeding up my site.

Here are some tips for improving site speed:

  • Content delivery network – your hosting company should have this feature. Call them to get it enabled. It puts your site on servers all over the world so that your site loads faster.
  • Fast server – pick a good hosting provider like RackSpace or WPengine. This makes the world of difference when it comes to site speed.
  • Clean up your code – hiring a good developer is well worth it as it will make your code cleaner. Messy code usually means a slower site.

Step #3: Make these changes in the next 7 days

Although Google’s update is rolling out on April 21st, you can’t expect to make these changes on April 20th and be fine.

Why? Because Google has to crawl and index your changes, which takes time. To be safe, you should make these changes at least a few weeks before the April 21st deadline. This will ensure that your site gets crawled with these changes already in place so that you aren’t penalized. Most importantly, your search traffic should go up as a result.

Once you make the changes, log into Google Webmaster Tools and select your website profile (or add a profile for your site if you haven’t already).

Once you do that, click “Crawl” in the sidebar, then click on “Fetch as Google.”

Your URL should already be there, but you can also enter subdirectories. But before you click “fetch and render,” select the drop-down menu that says “Desktop,” and select the relevant mobile option (if you are unsure, you can select all of them—one by one).


Once you do that, you want to click on the “submit to index” button. This will ensure that your website gets crawled with your changes before the update.

mobile submit


Your time is limited. The sooner you make your website compatible with mobile devices and the sooner you reduce your load time, the higher your probability of gaining traffic during Google’s next update will be.

If you are struggling to make these changes, you can always find a developer with high ratings on oDesk or Elance to help you out.

What do you think is going to happen to most sites during the next Google update?


  1. Lukas Hadameck :

    Today being mobile optimized is necessary . Great to see that google had mentioned it and will submit it to their algorythms.

    Great that you share it with your followers Neil

    • Some famous websites aren´t prepared yet.

      This is something I can´t understand, because there are millions of mobile users out there for several years now.
      That´s not something completely new!

    • Gadget Ninja :

      Thanks neil, my site is already responsive

      • Lukas/Gadget, Thanks for the support and looking forward to hearing more from you.

        Depending on the relevancy of the website there will be varying issues that people encounter — of course well known brands often suffer very little at the hands of algorithmic updates.

        • Anil Agarwal :

          Fantastic stuff Anil,

          I recently wrote a detailed guide on the upcoming Google’s mobile friendly update which can be found here.

          And I’m glad you posted it with the incredible points.

  2. Glad I am prepared! Thanks for the tip about submitting in Google webmaster tools, will definitely be doing that one!


  3. Steve Estimable :

    Neil, great reminder post

    Step #1: Is definitely something to consider!

    Q:What do you think is going to happen to most sites during the next Google update?

    A: I assume there will be stricter rules.

    Have a great day!

    • Christopher Pontine :

      Hey Steve,

      I know Neil will chip in on this too. First of all, who knows how much this will change everything, and what companies will be hit.

      Just to ask you, have you been working on improving your page speed?


      Christopher Pontine

      • Steve Estimable :

        Christopher, great observation!

        To answer to your question, i did not work on improving my page speed and should consider update it in the coming days even if it is inactive.

        Have a great day!

        • Steve/Christopher:

          Sounds like you guys are already on the right track towards resolving and auditing for these issues. I think what will happen to most sites will mirror what has happened in the past — those who adapt will not suffer penalties those that do will be fine.

  4. Adarsh Sojitra :

    Thanks for your tips neil sir, My site is responsive as well as fast and i am ready for update.
    Thanks again to inform us…

  5. Great, was out for some business work so forgot to read your earlier articles but now that’s why you are “neil patel”


  6. Hi Neil,

    Thank you for the heads up. I will monitor my site to make sure it is up par. I have followed your advice and so far everything is happening as you said it would.


    John Pate

  7. I’m not as worried about the mobile update as some people are. I’ve read studies that show that even though a lot of traffic is coming in via mobile, the money is still being made via desktop.

    I don’t remember where I saw the statistic, but I think it said that 50% of search traffic is coming from mobile, but only 10% of advertising clicks are coming through mobile. Since I mostly do affiliate and Adsense type sites, it’s just not as big a deal to me if I lose a little mobile traffic.

    On the other hand, mobile is the future, and we might as well get ready for it now. Just because people aren’t click on ads there as much now doesn’t mean that this won’t change in the future, too. I’m just not in hurry up/panic mode yet.

    • Randy, great insights. This isn’t a call for panic — just more of a reminder to make sure people get their sites updated to avoid any major issues in the future.

  8. Hey Neil,

    Good post, luckily our site is responsive and optimized for mobile and has been for over a month now.

    I notice most of our competitors have neglected to make the changes yet so roll on April 21st!


  9. William Zimmerman :


    Awesome Materail!! This is huge because I am working on a website for my new company right now! The website launches in the next 2-3 weeks.

    Thanks very much AGAIN!
    Bill Z

  10. Piyush Ranjan :

    Hello Neil, thanks for this informative guide. As we all the bloggers knows that google already warn the non mobile sites to make their sites mobile responsive, probably this is one of a great step from the company.

    I think some new ideas will work in the upcoming days. For example, mobile ads, seperate mobile and desktop version of apps etc.

    This would increase the productivity of the CMS system.

    Thanks for sharing this knowledge.

    -Piyush Ranjan

    • Piyush, glad I could help and thanks for providing the additional insights. I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  11. Regardless of how big this change will be to Google’s algorithm, I always recommend a mobile-friendly website to clients. Why wouldn’t I? It’s all about being user-friendly, and it’s no secret that mobile browsing is HUGE.

  12. I have a WordPress blog and use W3Cache and Jet Pack. Looking for tools to test site speed, mobile responsiveness, etc.

    • If you’re using WordPress, I would recommend deleting any plugins or widgets you don’t use.

      Also, compress your images and get rid of any that you don’t need either.

  13. Praise Khumalo :

    Thank Neil for another advice. I am glad i adapted web response sometime ago and now it would not b such a mission to boost my sites. 🙂

  14. Randy Kauffman :

    More work for the programmers! Great!

  15. Dude why are you a pro?

  16. Thanks for an advanced info Neil. I’m currently working on a more responsive website just like what you’ve said.

    Load speed is also essential. I’ve learned so much from your post.



  17. I think the new signal is already in effect for one of my blogs.
    The blog got 30% increase in the traffic ever since that ‘mobile friendly’ tag started appearing for the posts in the search engine

    And if this is going to have more effect, then I am assuming my blog traffic is going to get a traffic hike soon.

    Thanks for the post.

  18. Neil, I absolutely Love the Graphic on this Post!… LOL

    I am not as bold as you are, I would never use an image quite as eye catching.

    Thanks for sharing!

  19. Neil,

    You had me at ‘Don’t get caught with your pants down!’

    Brilliant headline. I couldn’t resist opening this email 🙂


  20. You have given us enough time to get our pants up.

    I would want to take this as an opportunity and pitch responsive website as a must! Thanks again.

  21. thanks again neil for keeping us up to date.
    i will make sure to increase my blog speed by atleast deleting un-wanted plugins and images.

  22. Getting the the responsive bandwagon for the last two of my sites…

    Well actually I am totally redesigning a site from ground up…so that should be a clean slate.

    Also cleaning up the code for faster uploads.

    Thx for the heads up Neil.


  23. I tried to “Fetch as Google” and instead of saying “Complete” as your example did, it says “Partial” and then: Googlebot couldn’t get all resources for this page.
    AJAX Blocked robots.txt Tester

    Do you have any resources for this? Is this a known occurrence (using SquareSpace)? Thanks!

  24. Thanks for heads up Neil.

    To your readers:
    1. if you are building websites you should always use responsive themes or develop from scratch responsive websites
    2. Always check website speed with quicksprout,,,
    This tools will check your website and give opinions how to improve your website speed.

    If you don’t want to spend to much time then just use Total Cache and Lazy Load plugins.


  25. Hi Neil,
    Thanks for these quick tips will work on these tips 🙂

  26. Thanks for the heads up. We currently have a static site that someone built but I’ve been wanting to switch to a website that I can update myself. Can you recommend a great site to build my own responsive website? (we need to be able to sell product online).

    If I keep the same website url, will this affect my SEO or current links? Thanks for your advice!

  27. Would doing a Google ping on an XML sitemap be sufficient for crawling or must we do it inside Webmaster tools?

  28. Neil,Just to be clear , what type of links should we have indexed in google,

    Category ? Tags ? Translated etc ????

    Or should we index only the posts links and remove others.

  29. Hey Neil ~

    Thanks for this post.

    I’m using Thesis Classic Responsive theme – but haven’t yet submitted to index (for mobile) through Webmaster Tools …

    Should I submit just the home page or all pages?


  30. Great post bro..

    I am glad that all my sites are already mobile optimized but I will now also look after the page speed.

  31. Farcas Gelu Danut :

    I use only responsive WordPress themes. I use to verify if my website is responsive.

  32. Shubham Kumar :

    Hey Neil,

    I had just modified my template and my website loading time is 900ms. I hope that my website will not be penalized.

    Check it out:!/b5Q6xw/

    and Here is my Website:

  33. Hi Neil,
    I am just building up my website right now (using a responsive theme). The URL shows Coming Soon at this stage. It is not realistic for me to think that I would be ready to launch before the end of April.
    How would Google interpret my Coming Soon page? Would it be neutral, or would it get a bad rating in your opinion?

  34. Hi Neil, thank you for the forewarning, my site is already mobile responsive, but speed is something I should improve as it loads very slowly, I have lots of images which are slowing the speed, is there any good plugin to speed up the site

  35. Thanks for the tips and heads up about mobile. Checking the page speed link and GWT for clients right away. Been hearing the new algorithm is taking effect any minute now if it’s not already in progress. Once again, another very helpful post, to be honest, I actually get excited to hear what’s your next topic going to be about 🙂

  36. Thanks Neil , How to make difference with mobile and tablet devices. Is google going to differentiate that. ?

  37. InternetLocalListings :

    We’ve been talking about the need to cater to mobile marketing for quite some time now. And yet, there are still a lot of people who don’t seem to grasp the importance of this! So hopefully with this deadline looming, it’ll get people going–we’ll see, I guess 🙂

  38. Neon Emmanuel :

    Ey bro, I am using The WordPress Mobile edition, I really love how it is, when I started using the mobile edition by wordpress, I doubled my engagement by 40% and users comments by 60% , I also doubled my clicks and Conversion by 30%

    But d issue is that Google webmaster keeps warning me to fix some error on my mobile template, had tried bt aint working, since d users enjoy it, what is the next step? Need an advise, granted my theme is responsive, but not nt like wordpress Mobile edition, which are dedicated mobile version of a site, like Mobile Press and Carigton theme.

    • Neon, I am not sure what is going on. From a user perspective it looks like everything is fine. Have you conducted a full audit and brought a designer/developer into the mix?

  39. Thanks for the heads up. My blog is mobile responsive, but I may need to check out the speed.

  40. Hi Neil ,

    Just wanted to know if it makes sense to do a profiling of the plugins , web-pages to check which ones use the highest resources and causes latency in page loading ? [ I guess , there is a plugin in wordpress based blogs ].

    Or is it mostly relevant to how optimized the HTML/CSS/On-Page scripting content is regardless of the latency induced by server side scripting ?

    I hope this comment doesn’t gets deleted like others ( two of my comments vanished yesterday ) , and I get a response on it. 🙂

    Thanks ,

    • Rishikesh, not sure why your comments didn’t make the cut. It is likely that it didn’t make it through the spam filter.

      I would always audit plugins to see which ones are providing value and which aren’t. I run a number of speed tests to ensure that the site is optimized well.

      • Thanks for reply , Neil.

        Could you share some of those tests/benchmarks to help us eliminate the speed-bottlenecks ?

        On a side note , I installed this plugin called “P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)” in WordPress to see which other plugins were causing the load delays.
        I came across three plugins that were using more resources than the help they were offering in return. I disabled them.
        Loading speed has improved for sure. Hope fully that makes easy for the Google-bots to crawl and index too. 😛

  41. Thanks for alarming the community Neil.

    Even though all our sites are Mobile responsive, they still ranks below 50 out of 100 when scanned for page speed check.

    Surely will fix this issues asap.

    Thanks once again.

    – Ankit

  42. Thank you Neil , i read one of your article sometime back got everything sorted and i can not thank you more for information.

  43. All of our new client sites are built “mobile first”. But there are many existing sites with old and complex code that will not take to migrating lightly. But, we have already had one migration inquiry just because of this Google announcement. So, at least one million dollar company is taking Google seriously on this one.

    This announcement is consistent with Google’s other proclamations around a good user experience, like page load speed, so I think that in addition to getting a lot of developers hired to make sites ready, this will also be good for the Internet.

    • Jim, sounds like you are very well prepared. I definitely think it will be helpful from a usability standard.

  44. Thanks neil for your important update i will follow these ASAP for our website.

  45. Thanks for the post. I also changed my theme last month to resposive.

  46. Hi Neil,

    Thanks a ton for the news about the next Google Algorithm Update and the necessary steps to be taken before the update. I’ve told my team to make necessary changes as soon as possible.


  47. Evelyn Guzman :

    Hi Neil,

    What an excellent post that is! In fact, all your posts are excellent and I love reading them. You’re such a wonderful model for all the bloggers out there!

  48. Thanks QuickSprout! Thank you for the heads up. I will monitor my site to make sure it is up par. I have followed your advice and so far everything is happening as you said it would.

  49. Glad to read your post, I was using genesis theme framework for my website but it was not 100% responsive and the hosting was slower… just dropped my website from the WWW and will upload again on a new faster hosting with a responsive theme… Thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts.

  50. I totally agree with you Matt. Our site GTmetrix Page speed score is 90% & YSlow score is 71 % which is not anywhere close to Google .

    • Matt Auckland :

      Thanks for agreeing with me Tanmoy, although it appears that Neil, or his blog reviewer didn’t, as they deleted my comment.

      Insulting as it was a fair statement, and took a good length of time to prepare.

  51. Andre Hospidales :

    I was under the impression that Google has been penalizing sites that are not mobile-friendly as far back as 2013. I guess the big difference is probably the fact that such sites were penalized on smartphone devices. This time, the penalties will affect websites not just when when they are viewed on smartphones, but across all devices.

  52. Harekrishna :

    Responsive website with minimum loading time are important factors of Google Panda latest update.

  53. Meno mojo resort :

    Actually when someone doesn’t understand after that its up
    to other users that they will assist, so here it takes place.

  54. Fast Loading websites always in a safe zone to avoid Google updates.

  55. Never tried this in google webmaster tool. thanxx bro for info will try this today and let you know.

  56. Jordan James SEO :

    Always love your advice, learned some very valuable lesson Neil. Website speed and optimisation are always one of my core priorities when ranking sites!

  57. I am glad to your advice you have a great ideas provided so usually for everyone thanks. i want to increase of this website should i do for this.

  58. haha this is something you want to do show yourself.

  59. Whoa ! Blog ini tampak persis seperti lama saya!
    Ini pada benar-benar berbeda subjek tetapi memiliki cukup banyak yang sama tata letak halaman dan desain. Outstanding pilihan warna!

  60. whoo !!! a very intersting article how we can actually make our website compatible enough so that the traffic gets increased…!!!

  61. It is actually a great and useful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us.

    Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  62. Thank you for your post, I look for such article along time, today i find it finally. this post give me lots of advise it is very useful for me

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