Google Releases Mobile Friendly Labels on SERPs

Google has announced the release of a new label on the SERPs to highlight websites that are mobile-friendly. A page will be labeled as mobile-friendly if it meets the following criteria:

  • Avoids using software no common on all mobile devices, like Flash.
    Reason being is because Apple products (i.e. iPhone, iPad) do not support Flash and they have such a large market share in the mobile device category. Instead, HTML5 should be used instead of Flash as this is supported by all, if not most of all mobile browsers.
  • Text that is readable without zooming in.
  • Page content sizes to the device screen without having to zoom or scroll horizontally.
  • Spacing between links should be far enough apart so it’s easily tapped (or “clicked”).

The key thing that Google is trying to push for is for users to have a seamless experience on mobile devices without the frustrations of zooming in/out, scrolling across to find content, tapping on the wrong link (due to size) and unable to play video due to unsupported technology. It seems Google has already started rolling out the mobile-friendly labels which can be seen on a mobile device.

Google Mobile SERP - Mobile Friendly Label

So why is mobile important?

According to comScore, we’re seeing a surge of smartphone and table usage, with digital media time spent on a mobile device is now 60% and the growth trend is upward.

Share of U.S. Digital Media Time Spent by Platform - comScore

Share of U.S. Digital Media Time Spent by Platform – comScore

We’re seeing a huge growth in mobile usage, surpassing desktop in internet activity from social networks, media consumption, emails to e-commerce. We live in a world of constant connectivity now and it makes sense that mobile is a big contributing factor to that.

My site isn’t mobile friendly. What are the consequences?

Poorer Conversion Rates

If we’re seeing internet activity on a mobile device accounting for more than half and growing strong, most likely your site’s traffic from a mobile device will show a similar trend. This means probably half or more of your customers are having a bad experience on your site and most likely will not convert – which results in a loss of sales/leads.

Poorer Mobile SEO Rankings

Google has been pushing for websites to mobile friendly for several years now and if you look back to Google’s mission statement“…to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, you’ll understand why Google will be wanting to promote mobile-friendly websites to mobile users as they will have a great experience.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, most likely Google will rank other mobile friendly website higher (Google is experimenting with this). Note that this single signal isn’t the silver bullet to mobile SEO but probably plays a big part.

Poorer Quality Score

If you’re an advertiser on Google, you would’ve probably come across the term Quality Score, which affects your Ad Rank and ultimately your advertising cost. If you’re targeting mobile users, poor landing page experience on a mobile device will negatively affect your Quality Score, combined with poor conversion rates, will lead to higher average CPCs (cost-per-click), higher CPAs (cost-per-acquisition) and lower ROI (return-on-investment).

Steps you need to take to be mobile-friendly

Ok, have I got your attention now just how important mobile-friendly websites are?

Here are some steps that you can take to make sure your website is on its way to being mobile friendly.

  1. Check whether your website is deemed mobile-friendly with Google’s mobile-friendly test tool.
  2. Sign-up to Google Webmaster Tools (if you haven’t already done so) and under Search Traffic, go to the Mobile Usability page to see any issues detected and reported by Google. Fix them (if any).
    Google Webmaster Tool - Mobile Usability
  3. Read and implement Google’s guideline on mobile SEO.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly, make sure your website is using responsive design. What this means simply is your website responds to the screen size of the device viewing it by altering the layout and content to fit the screen.

If you’re using a popular content management system like WordPress or Joomla, you can look for a free or paid template that is responsive design ready.

I hope now you realize how important mobile-friendly websites are and are taking steps to ensure your customers are having a great experience which will help you grow your business.


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