Is mobile search vital? Is it essential that your site is mobile-friendly
60% of internet users worldwide are done via mobile devices, which was previously unimaginable in the desktop era.
It didn’t matter to Google at one point whether a website was compatible with mobile devices.
Mobile searches grew with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, which led Google to reconsider how mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor.
This led to “mobilegeddon,” a term that indicated that mobile search was no longer an afterthought.
Is it as frightening as it sounds? Is mobile-friendliness a critical ranking factor?
This chapter will examine the claims and explain mobile-friendliness’s impact on search rankings.
Learn more about ranking factors in SEJ’s comprehensive ebook: Google Rankings – Fact or Fiction.
Claim: Mobile-Friendliness as a Ranking Factor
SEO experts believe that websites optimized for mobile devices have a higher ranking than those only optimized for desktops.
This claim is based on a higher percentage of mobile searches and the understanding Google has that it aims to provide the best user experience.
Mobile users are the most active and engaged audience, so it is essential to provide results that can be used on desktop and mobile devices. This is often referred to as responsive Web Design.
Before Google mobile search was the most popular way to search, users were often directed to pages that weren’t optimized for their device or smartphone.
It’s not common to perform a mobile search and find a page not optimized for smartphones.
Does this mean that mobile-friendliness is a ranking criterion?
Are there more mobile-friendly websites on the internet?
It is likely to be a combination of both.
Let’s see what the evidence says.
Evidence for Mobile-Friendliness as a Ranking Factor
Users became frustrated visiting pages that were difficult to navigate.
Google discovered that it had a quality problem with its search results.
It can take Web administrators years to make all their websites compatible with all devices, and they might not even be motivated to do so.
Google could not force websites to be mobile-friendly, and it would be unfair to threaten sites with punitive actions for using an outdated design.
Google instead rewarded domains that had created a mobile-friendly design on their own.
Google’s “mobile-friendly upgrade” was officially launched. It stated that
“As we mentioned earlier in the year, today is the day we start rolling out our mobile-friendly update worldwide. We are increasing the rank of mobile-friendly pages in mobile search results.
Searchers can find relevant and high-quality results more quickly if the text is easily readable, without zooming or tapping, tap targets are appropriately spaced, and the page does not contain unplayable content.
In 2016, Google announced that it would strengthen the mobile-friendly ranking signal.
“Today, we are announcing that we will begin rolling out an update for mobile search results starting in May. This will increase the effectiveness of the rank signal to help users find more relevant and mobile-friendly webpages.”
Google created a mobile-friendly update to improve mobile search results.
A desktop search did not give rise to mobile-friendly websites.
In 2020, Google introduced a new indexing method that eliminates the desktop crawler to emphasize the importance of responsive mobile design.
Mobile-first indexing has become the norm, which means that algorithms now use the mobile-rendered page version instead of the desktop one.
Mobile-friendliness has been a ranking factor that has gotten stronger over time. However, Google reminds us of user intent as a stronger signal.
If a page is not optimized for mobile, it can still rank high in search results for mobile if it matches the user’s criteria.
Google, however, advises that it be used in its Mobile-first Indexing Best Practices documentation.
“While having a mobile version is not necessary to include your content in Google’s Search results for your topic, it’s strongly recommended.”
Mobile-optimized websites have a higher ranking, which has led to more people adopting responsive web design.
Our Verdict: Mobile-Friendliness Is A Confirmed Ranking Factor
Mobile-friendliness can be a genuine Google ranking factor.
Google will not rank a website that displays less information on mobile devices than on desktop.
A site that offers a less mobile-friendly experience than the desktop version of search engines could harm search rankings.
A good user experience starts with responsive mobile design. This is not an opinion but part of Google’s 2020 page experience algorithm update.
The page experience update, as the name implies, rewards visitors who can interact with and navigate quickly to content. These are the factors it includes:
- Mobile usability
- Core Web Vitals
- No intrusive interstitials
Websites that are not mobile-friendly are clearly at an advantage over Google.
To remain competitive in Google, businesses with outdated websites should consider updating. SEJ’s Mobile SEO ebook will help you implement a mobile website.
What is mobile friendliness in SEO?
When discussing SEO, mobile friendliness refers to how well a website functions and appears on mobile devices. This is important because many people use mobile devices to access the internet. If a website is not mobile friendly, it can be challenging to use on a small screen and may not rank as high in search results.
What is the meaning of mobile-friendly?
When a website is mobile-friendly, the site has been designed to be easily accessed and used on a mobile device. This can include anything from ensuring the site can be easily viewed on a small screen to ensuring that buttons and links are easy to tap.
Mobile-friendly websites are becoming increasingly important as more and more people use their phones and tablets to access the internet.
How do I make Google mobile-friendly?
There are a few things you can do to make your website mobile-friendly. First, you can use responsive design, which means your website will automatically adjust to fit the screen size of the device it is being viewed on.
Second, you can use a mobile-specific website designed for smaller screens. Finally, you can use Google’s Mobile Usability Report to see how your website currently appears on mobile devices and make changes accordingly.
Why is mobile-friendliness important?
Mobile-friendliness is vital for many reasons. First, more and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet. This means that if a website is not mobile-friendly, it is likely that potential customers or clients will have a difficult time accessing and navigating it. This can lead to lost business or customers.
Second, search engines such as Google are increasingly considering a website’s mobile-friendliness when determining its ranking in search results.
What is Google mobile friendly update?
The Google mobile-friendly update is an algorithm change that Google made on April 21, 2015. This update favors websites that are deemed to be “mobile friendly” by Google’s standards. To be considered mobile-friendly, a website must meet specific criteria, such as having a responsive design, avoiding the use of Flash, and sizing content appropriately for mobile screens.
What does it mean to have a mobile friendly website configuration?
The term “mobile friendly” refers to websites designed to be easily accessible and readable on mobile devices. This includes smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices. Mobile friendly websites typically have a simplified design that is easy to navigate on smaller screens. This can include larger font sizes, more spacing between elements, and less complex visuals.
How can I improve my mobile friendliness?
The first step is to evaluate your website using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This will give you a report of what needs to be fixed to make your site more mobile-friendly. Once you know what needs to be done, you can make the necessary changes.
Some everyday things that need to be fixed are small text, touch targets too close together, and wider content than the screen.
What is the difference between mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive?
Regarding mobile devices, two essential terms are often used interchangeably: mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive. While both terms refer to how well a website works on a mobile device, there is a subtle difference between the two.
Mobile-friendly refers to a website that has been designed specifically for mobile devices. The website layout and content have been optimized for smaller screens and touch-based input.
Why should I make my website mobile friendly?
The growth of mobile devices has been exponential in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. This means that more and more people are using their phones and tablets to access the internet. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you miss out on many potential customers.
Mobile devices have smaller screens than laptops or desktop computers, so it is crucial to ensure that your website is designed for smaller screens.