Google special ranking for mobile friendly sites

Google’s Wild Experiment with Special Ranking for Mobile Sites

Yet another reason why you need to make sure your site looks awesome — and works! — on your beloved iPhone, along with all mobile devices. If your site earns Google’s new “Mobile-friendly” designation, you might be rewarded with a ranking boost.

Google has been dropping sites like a bad habit since June 2013 if they provided a less-than-friendly user experience to mobile users. Now they’re going in the opposite direction; Rewarding sites that provide a good mobile experience with some type of special treatment within its ranking algorithm. From Google’s post:

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.

Remember that Union label ad; “Look for the Union Label?” Of course, it’s next to impossible to find that “Union label” in any of our garments now days.  But… I digress.

Getting back to the new “Google label.”

Last month, Google launched their “Mobile Friendly labels” in mobile search results. Mobile users will look for that “Google label” placed in front of their search results. So, if your competitor has that label and you don’t, guess which link your potential new client is going to click on as they’re searching from their mobile device?

How do you get the coveted Google label that comes with the boost in rankings?

Google said it depends on if GoogleBot detects 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

Google also recommends you test your site in the new Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

Go take the test. If you fail, contact me to help you pass it the next time around.

Keep in mind that Google is not saying that sites that do not earn the label have no chance of ranking well, nor are they going to impose some sort of cyber penalty on you. It just means that sites that offer a good mobile experience to the user may (will definitely?) get some extra Google love.


(How’s that for an earworm?!)