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Websites Must Now Be Mobile-Friendly for Good SEO Results

Nov 22, 2014

It shouldn’t be breaking news that more and more consumers are surfing the internet via their mobile device these days. As such, a company’s ability to deliver the best possible experience has become increasingly important as it leads to a lower bounce rate, the ability to quickly find what the visitor is looking for, and ultimately a higher conversion rate.

There have also been perceived benefits for a site’s organic search performance based on the ability to cater to the mobile audience, especially through responsive technologies. However, this week Google created some waves when they explicitly stated that they were making some big changes that would benefit those sites that were optimized for mobile visitors.

Google Adding “Mobile-Friendly” Labels for Searches

How many of you have come across a site in the search results, clicked on it, and been sorely disappointed with the lack of load time or difficulty finding what you were looking for? Google is coming out with a solution by applying a “Mobile-Friendly” label in their search results that will be displayed directly below the URL. This will be a clear indicator to mobile searchers that the site in question will have an experience that is completely optimized for their device.Mobile Friendly Search Result

So what constitutes a mobile-friendly site? Here are a few things that are pointed out on the Google Webmaster Central blog that may provide some guidance.

  • The absence of software like Flash that isn’t displayed on many mobile products
  • Small text that requires that the reader zoom in
  • Content that fits the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally
  • Links that are easily “tapped” by the user

Your Search Engine Rankings will be Directly Affected According to Mobile Performance

Having a responsive or mobile optimized website has always been beneficial for SEO purposes for many reasons, such as the uniformity of link profiles and social sharing, and improved bounce rates and time on site. However, Google has always stopped short of claiming that a site that isn’t optimized for mobile traffic will be penalized.

This looks like it is getting ready to change, as Google is now explicitly stating that they are exploring making a mobile-friendly site as a direct ranking factor in how well the site will perform in their search results. As they clearly state on their blog:

“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.”
As you can see, its looking more and more that having a good mobile experience is going to be an essential requirement for a website to rank well in the search results moving forward.

How Can I Tell if My Site is Mobile Friendly?

For those who don’t know whether or not their site is optimized for mobile, the logical next question is, “How can I tell if my site meets Google’s Guidelines?” The good news is that with these announcements they have also launched a new section on the Google Developers site that is devoted to helping you find out these answers, and providing fixes to any problems that you may be facing.

Of particular interest is a free Mobile-Friendly Test that you can run to see if your site meets their standards, and will also point out what you can do to make your web presence compliant. Here are two examples:

Not Mobile-Friendly

Website That Isn't Optimized for Mobile Traffic

Mobile-Friendly

Mobile-Friendly Website According to Google

As you can see, having a website that includes a mobile-friendly experience is a necessity instead of a luxury for anyone who is looking to drive traffic and revenue from your web presence. So make sure that you put your site through their testing process, and if you don’t meet their standards, it is time to get up to date.

At KPItarget, we have years of experience helping companies to make their websites completely optimized for mobile devices. Contact us today to see how we can help.