Google experiments with special ranking for mobile-friendly sites


Google is experimenting with a special mobile ranking, handing out a ‘mobile friendly’ label which could earn sites special treatment in the mobile algorithm.

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Google has officially launched a ‘mobile friendly’ label this week, which is designed to indicate to users whether a site is optimised for small-screen devices.


The label, which appears ahead of the site description, is applied to sites that meet Google’s criteria of a mobile friendly site. Typically, these criteria include:

  • Absence of software that is not commonly supported by mobile devices (such as Flash).
  • Text that is readable without zooming.
  • Sites that automatically size the content to the screen.
  • Sites that place links far enough apart so that users can tap the right link.

The label has been rolled out in response to customer dissatisfaction with sites that aren’t optimised for mobile. A report earlier this month found that 69% of adults were left “frustrated” by websites that weren’t optimised for their mobile devices.

A boost in rankings for mobile friendly sites?

Google has previously penalised sites that it believes provide a negative user experience but, since the roll-out of the label, there has been an admission from Google that sites with the ‘mobile friendly’ designation may be experiencing preferential treatment in the search rankings.

Search Engine Land reports Google as claiming; “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.”

Want to make sure that your site isn’t left out? Google suggests testing your site in their ‘Mobile Friendly Test Tool’. Or, you can always contact our team to see how we can help with your mobile and responsive web design.

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