Google Plans to Give Mobile Friendly Sites a Ranking Boost
By Small Screen Producer. Publish on November 19, 2014.
Google confirmed on Tuesday that it's has rolled out some new tools and that will encourage web masters all over to start focusing on creating a more mobile friendly user experience. The company has officially gone live with "mobile friendly" labels mentioned last month as well as some brand new mobile testing tools. Google has also hinted that it is currently testing a mobile rank signal that would boost the rankings of websites providing a great mobile experience.
In a post released yesterday, Google hinted that, “we are also experimenting with user-mobile friendly criteria in their ranking algorithms,” a change that will likely have web developers honed in on making the best websites imaginable for a smaller screen to reap the benefits of good SEO.
What’s with the Special Treatment?
So here’s what’s going on - On Tuesday, Google mentioned that for all sites that have earned a "mobile friendly" label (see example below), these sites would also get a boost in results through a ranking algorithm. This update comes as no surprise since Google has always been focused on making their products as friendly as possible to its users. This is a big reason why it started penalizing sites that provided a bad mobile user experience back in June 2013 and why the company is now focused on boosting the rankings of mobile-friendly sites that provide a good experience for the user.
Last month, it was rumored that Google was testing out mobile-friendly labels next to website links in search results to let users know which sites were mobile-friendly and which sites weren't:
Since there has already been a penalty out there for non-mobile friendly websites for some time, it would make sense that websites that have gone above and beyond to ensure they win Google’s stamp or approval for user friendliness would get a boost.
What are Google’s Ranking Factors?
To help determine whether or not a website is up to Google’s standards, Google has released a mobile friendly test that will show you what they’re looking for and even analyze your current website of mobile friendliness.
Site owners may also use the mobile usability report within Google Webmaster Tools.
These two tools will likely determine whether or not your website good enough for a mobile search ranking promotion or demotion.
According to Google, here’s how to get the “mobile friendly” label:
- Avoid using software that isn’t common for mobile devices – Adobe’s Flash is a big one to avoid putting on a website.
- Go for a responsive web design, which creates a defined viewing area that adjusts to the device’s screen size.
- Making sure content flows in this viewport so that users don’t have to scroll horizontally or pinch the screen in order to see the entire page.
- Using fonts and text that scale for easy reading on smaller screens
- Adding easy-to-touch elements – big buttons that are well spaced between one another (for those big fingers!).
When Should We Starting Seeing This New Ranking Factor?
Google has declined to mention when exactly this new ranking factor will be in effect but is currently conducting A/B tests of the mobile criteria involving thousands of users. During an A/B test, some users see one version while the other half sees a different version; these two results are compared against each other to see which one performs better. The new ranking factor will likely commence along with the "mobile-friendly" labels being tested out last month.
While we don’t know when this will begin, the new ranking factor would likely fuel developers into creating something even more spectacular and mobile friendly so they don’t miss out on all the mobile traffic.
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