In a post on the Webmaster Central Blog, Google announced that it will be expanding the use of ‘mobile friendliness’ as a ranking signal from April. The change will be applied worldwide and to all languages, with Google claiming that this will have a “significant impact” on search results.
The change is designed to ensure that users are presented with the best search results for their respective device, meaning that sites that are not responsive, or are difficult to read on small screen devices, are likely to see a rankings drop in mobile search from April.
Google has dropped several hints about mobile usability being a potential future ranking factor, introducing a ‘mobile friendly’ tag and a set of mobile friendly criteria in November 2014, and sending out ‘mobile usability warnings’ to webmasters earlier this year, but this is the search engines's first direct statement on the issue.
Another big change will see Google use information from indexed mobile apps from logged-in users that have an app installed. This could result in content from applications featuring more prominently in mobile search.
Find out more about the state of mobile search and app discovery by downloading our latest mobile intelligence report.