Late last year Google rolled out its mobile-friendly search label. This is big news if you are a website owner.
In an effort to help mobile searchers know which sites they choose to click on are mobile-friendly as opposed to those ones which are not, Google has added a text label under the URL. This will appear as ‘Mobile Friendly’ in the first part of the search results’ text snippet and seen prominently by any searcher. The example in the top image of this post shows the WD4T search listing, showing us as Mobile Friendly.
Google’s view is that there is nothing worse than getting a desktop website experience when you’re on your smartphone. They’re right. It is frustrating when you’re browsing on your smartphone and you land on a site where you have to scroll sideways to see the text, pinch and zoom to get a better look at things and experience a messy layout that is hard to navigate.
Personally I click off the site immediately and find an alternative.
Google’s Javier Perez said,
‘Surfing the web on your mobile phone should be enjoyable and effortless, which is why we’re now helping you find out in advance which websites offer a good experience on mobile devices....'
So how do you qualify to show this label on your website?
As far as Google is concerned, it depends on whether their GoogleBots detect the following on your website:
- Avoidance of software that is not supported on mobile devices. For example, Flash.
- Text that is readable without the need to zoom in.
- Content that is sized to screen so that users don’t have to scroll sideways to read it fully.
- Links that are placed sufficiently apart from each other so that the link the user wants is easily tap-able.
In addition to the mobile-friendly label, Google is also ‘experimenting’ with a new ranking algorithm for mobile friendly websites.
What this means in reality is that if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, i.e. not meeting the above criteria, Google will place your website further down in the rankings.
NOT something a business website owner wants…
If you are a website owner then you must check your website analytics regularly to see what percentage of your site visitors are doing so using smaller mobile devices, i.e. a smartphones. You should do this sooner rather than later and continue to monitor going forward.
Google have very kindly put together a test whereby site owners can test if their site meets the mobile-friendly qualification criteria. You can try it out for your site here. Below is the test result for WD4T.
If your site is not given a mobile-friendly label by Google you can expect the percentage of mobile visitors to your site to fall away.