We have had some anxious calls as a result of the Herald article today which opened with: 'Thousands of New Zealand businesses could have their websites cut from Google's search engine if they do not meet the requirements for mobile by tomorrow.'
While it's great that the Herald is making people aware of mobile friendly websites, the Google blog which is at the base of this article does not say that sites will be 'cut from Google', it says that mobile friendliness will be a 'ranking signal', along with the many ranking signals which already exist, such as site speed, keywords, links, and freshness of content.
"Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches ... 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."
Read it here: Google Blog: Finding more mobile-friendly search results
I absolutely agree that mobile optimisation is important - not just because of Google ranking but because many people are trying to use websites on tablets and phones. By all means, test your site at for mobile optimisation and prepare to do something about it.
But there are many factors which contribute to a great online experience and many other ranking factors.
The way Google ranks sites is a topic which lends itself to myth making, as Gianluca Fiorelli described in this article on SEO Moz 'The Myth of Google's 200 ranking factors'.
Most ranking information is based on tests and estimates by people who work with SEO all the time. The rules keep changing as Google tries to do a better job to provide good relevant content to people searching, as noted in this Forbes article about the mobility update.
"At its core, Google wants users to have a great online experience. They want their users to easily find exactly what they're looking for, and they want their users to end up on high-quality, easy-to-use sites. This is why they rolled out Panda, which favored sites with high-quality content, and Penguin, which weeded out sites using spammy offsite practices, and it's why they're making a move to improve mobile online experiences with this April 21st update."
If you have a website which isn't mobile-friendly, it is a good time to think about making your website People-Friendly as well.