Google Adds Mobile Friendly to Search Rankings
Being mobile-friendly has its rewards. Google announced that starting this week its mobile searches will label sites as mobile-friendly, and also use it as a determining factor in ranking results.
“Users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices,” Google emphasized in its announcement. “By boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results, searchers can more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.”
The update affects only search rankings on mobile devices and search results in all languages globally, and applies to individual pages, not entire websites. Google also said the new process only will work for signed-in users who have the app installed on their mobile devices, which means only Android apps.
Google explained that while the mobile-friendly change is important, it still uses a variety of signals to rank search results. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.
Google said it is making these changes to offer a better mobile experience for searchers and give people what they want. As mobile internet access grows, and mobile banking competition intensifies, the formula used to determine page rank must adapt to accommodate these usage patterns.
In fact, according to Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone. Additionally, 19% of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world, either because they lack broadband at home or have few options for online access other than their cell phone.
According to a recent study, as reported by Techcrunch.com, mobile device access has tipped the scales over desktop usage: more than 60% of digital consumption is through a smart phone, tablet, etc.
Google provides a Mobile-Friendly Test to check pages or the status of an entire site through the Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools. If a site’s pages aren’t mobile-friendly, there may be a significant decrease in mobile traffic from Google Search. But once a site becomes mobile-friendly, it will automatically re-process (i.e., crawl and index) the pages.
“You can also expedite the process by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index, and then your pages can be treated as mobile-friendly in ranking,” Google also said.