Google Set to Reward Mobile-Friendly Websites

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Search engine behemoth Google may be about to reward you for having a mobile-friendly website.  Since about mid-2013, Google has already been punishing websites that have not been optimised for mobile browsing, so it stands to reason that the next logical step would be to reward sites that provide an optimal mobile experience.

Earlier this month, Google announced on their Webmaster Central Blog about upcoming changes to their search results which will clearly indicate to users which sites are optimised for mobile browsing.  In the blog, Google asks the question:

Have you ever tapped on a Google Search result on your mobile phone, only to find yourself looking at a page where the text was too small, the links were tiny, and you had to scroll sideways to see all the content?

I know I have.  This is what you will see if the site has not been designed with mobile browsing in mind.  With mobile internet usage now exceeding desktop usage for the first time in history, there is simply no excuse for not building a mobile-friendly website.  Google goes on to say:

Starting today, to make it easier for people to find the information that they’re looking for, we’re adding a “mobile-friendly” label to our mobile search results.

Google states that this change will be rolling out over the next few weeks.  Their "Googlebot" software, which is the technology that crawls the web and indexes your pages so that they appear in search results, will examine your site and award the "mobile-friendly" label based on the following criteria:

  • 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

There is no doubt whatsoever anymore: if you're still using Flash on your website, you're in for a bad time with Google.  The next two points primarily refer to using responsive web design, which Praxis Interactive has been using for all of our projects for over two years.  This means that the text size and width of your website automatically adjust for comfortable browsing on smaller devices.

An example of the mobile-friendly label Google will be applying to search results

Perhaps most critically, Google has hinted at the mobile-friendly label influencing your page rank with this sneaky little note towards the bottom of the article:

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.

Thus, if you want to have any hope at all of appearing near the top of the Google search results rankings, it is now crucial that your website is mobile-friendly and optimised for a mobile and tablet browsing experience. Praxis Interactive can cater for all of your mobile-friendly website needs. Contact us today to discuss your project and to receive an obligation-free quote.

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