Over the past few months Google has been testing several different ways to denote in mobile search results whether a website is “mobile-friendly” or “not mobile-friendly”. And it looks like they’ve finally settled on a solution (for now at least) as you can see in the image above. Google is now showing mobile friendly labels in their mobile search results.
The primary purpose of the “Mobile-friendly” label is to help mobile users have a better mobile web experience. We applaud Google for this move, as we’ve experienced sites that were almost unusable when accessed on a phone.
The criteria that Google uses to assess “mobile-friendliness” include things like making text and other content readable without zooming, not using Flash software, and placing links far enough apart such that the correct link can easily be tapped. Sounds like it’s all about the UX and UI.
New Mobile Testing Tool
To help webmasters learn if their sites/pages qualify for the mobile label and what they can do to improve the mobile-friendly design of their site, Google has launched a mobile friendly testing tool. The tool is available at google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly and it gives you a pass/fail score followed by additional advice depending on the results of the web page.
We highly recommend that your site be mobile friendly at this point. See these mobile usage stats if you don’t want to take our word for it.
Google Experimenting With Mobile-Friendly Ranking Factors
Google has also said they are experimenting with a set of new mobile ranking factors around various metrics you would find in the mobile testing tool. Google has yet to commit to saying if they will go ahead with the ranking factors, but they did tell us they are indeed testing it. Google said:
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.
For one thing, Google is clearly sending a message to webmasters that they want you to build mobile-friendly web sites.