Jamie McPhee
Jamie McPhee
SEO Exec
21.11.14

Get Google On Side With A Mobile Friendly Site

It goes without saying that the number of people viewing websites on a mobile device is higher than ever before, making it increasingly important to design and build a mobile friendly website in order to enhance user experience. But, there is a second benefit to be found in building mobile friendly websites - it is extremely important in ensuring your search engine optimisation efforts pay off.

With the latest rollouts from Google, ensuring your site is mobile friendly is now more vital than ever before.

Mobile-Friendly Labels

After much testing Google has officially launched mobile-friendly labels and will be rolling them out globally over the coming weeks. The mobile-friendly labels will be shown within Google mobile search results and are primarily designed to inform users whether or not a site is optimised to be viewed on a mobile device.

Below is an example of how the mobile-friendly labels will look in search results:

FullSizeRender

Google has stated that if Googlebot can detect that your website meets the following criteria then your website will be eligible for a mobile-friendly label.

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.

New Mobile Testing Tool

To ensure that your website meets the “mobile-friendly” criteria, Google have also launched the mobile friendly testing tool.

If your websites passes the mobile-friendly test, this is what you will see:

ponderosa-mobile-site

If your website fails the mobile-friendly test you will be presented with something similar to the below. If your website doesn’t meet the mobile-friendly criteria, the testing tool will also provide you with the reason(s) why – a useful feature!

not-mobile-friends

So why is this so important? As well as rolling out the mobile-friendly labels and the new testing tool, Google also announced that it may impact your rankings:

“We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.” - Google Webmaster Central Blog

So, if your website does not meet Google’s mobile friendly criteria, you may be turning away mobile traffic to your site and also the ability to rank higher within Google mobile search results. But don’t worry, Google are rolling out the changes over the next few weeks so you still have time to ensure that your website is optimised for mobile devices.

Update: As expected after experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal, Google has officially announced that as of 21st of April 2015 that not only will they mark your site as mobile-friendly using mobile friendly labels but its mobile search algorithm will include mobile-friendly factors as well as app indexing. This means that it’s more important than ever to ensure your site is optimised for mobile. Google has released a number of tools to help you ensure your site is optimised for mobile; mobile usability reports within Webmaster Tools and the Google mobile-friendly testing tool. If you need help ensuring you’re ready for the update drop us a line.

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