Tomorrow - April 21, 2015 - is the day known as "mobilegeddon" or the "Mopocalpyse," the former term beating out the latter.
Basically, Google is threatening that if your website is not mobile-friendly, be prepared to drop in the SERPS (search engine results page) rankings like an Motorola Razr outside of an Apple Store when the iPhone 7 comes out.
- Is your website "mobile friendly?" Check it by Googling it on a mobile phone, or going to Google's mobile check site, here.
- Do you get a lot, or a little, traffic from mobile visitors? Is so, be afraid - very afraid. If not, not so much.
The Big Question: One Algorithm or Two?
Now, it's not completely clear if Google will have one algorithm for BOTH desktop AND mobile, or two separate algorithms (meaning, you could rank WELL for the desktop and poorly for the phone) -
- One algorithm for the desktop, and a separate for the phone (Scenario #1).
- One algorithm for BOTH the desktop AND the phone, with a severe penalty for websites that are NOT mobile friendly (on both desktop and phone).
But, Google does seem to emphasize "mobile first" in everything these days, so it's a good bet that a poor ranking on mobile will indeed hurt your desktop performance. (I am betting on #2, especially for the long-term).
Become Mobile Friendly: Yesterday if Not Sooner
So, yes, Virginia, you need to be mobile friendly. We'll all start learning tomorrow to what extent, and how rapidly you need to adjust (in case you haven't already).