An article published yesterday on Search Engine Land titled “Google Is Experimenting With Special Ranking For Mobile-Friendly Sites” stated that Google is in the testing phase of rewarding sites that are optimized for the mobile experience. Google has long disclosed that sites with bad mobile experiences were receiving slight penalties in mobile ranking results, but now they seem to be leaning towards giving a ranking boost for mobile friendly websites. This makes perfect sense given that Google has estimated their mobile search volume would most likely surpass their desktop searches in 2014/2015.
In case you missed a previous announcement earlier this week, Google has now implemented a “Mobile Friendly Label” in their organic search results for websites that are correctly optimized for mobile (showing up in mobile search results). For those unfamiliar with the term “mobile friendly,” it basically means serving an optimal experience to visitors using a mobile device (NOT serving the desktop website experience to them). Here are the different ways to serve a mobile experience to users:
- M Dot sites (m.example.com) – Which are separate URL’s served up with a different website experience altogether for mobile users. Content can change quite a bit on these sites, or stay virtually the same and just appear different.
- Responsive Design – Shrinking and reorganizing the desktop experience down to optimal mobile viewing. Content will almost always stay the same when using responsive design.
- Dynamic Serving – Using dynamic serving means that the content can stay the same or completely change depending on the device, but the URL does NOT change or redirect to m.example.com. Think of this as an in-between option of the two.
How To Tell If Your Site is “Mobile-Friendly”
It can be quite obvious to tell if your site has a mobile friendly version for your visitors. Simply pulling up your website in a mobile browser (on a mobile device) and checking out the display of your website should give you a good idea of how your website displays on mobile. But there is also a lot that can be hidden from the naked eye. Did you notice how long it took for your website to load? Did you get redirected a few times before landing on a mobile friendly version of the page? And how do you know that search engine robots aren’t seeing something different than the end user? These are all questions you should be asking yourself when considering your mobile experience. Fortunately, there are some very easy-to-use tools at your disposal.
Google Developers Mobile Friendly Test
The testing tools over at Google Developers is extremely easy to use. Simply visit the page here, copy and paste the URL you want to test and you should receive some pretty instant feedback! This will tell you if your site is eligible to display the “mobile-friendly label” as shown below:
Tools For Mobile Optimization
We talked about load times in our previous post on website & marketing trends for 2015 and address the importance of load times in more detail there. There are plenty of free tools available to optimize your site speeds, none more important than the Google Developer tool set.
If you have any further questions on your mobile website design or user experience, feel free to contact us at Elevate DDS or post in the comment sections below!