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Google Strengthening Mobile-friendliness as a Ranking Factor


With an increasing amount of search traffic coming from mobile devices, Google has responded to provide mobile users with a more “mobile-friendly” search experience.

Google announced today it will be increasing mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor for mobile search queries beginning in May 2016.

According to the Google Webmaster Central Blog, Google will “start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the [mobile-friendliness] ranking signal.” This, as Google states, will “help… users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.”

This update will only impact mobile search queries, which according to Google, has already replaced desktop as the leading source of search queries. A May 2015 post in the Google Inside AdWords blog reported that more searches came from mobile devices in 10 countries, including the US and Japan.

Mobile-friendliness & “Mobilegeddon”

This isn’t the first time Google has worked to improve mobile search results.

Google first began using mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor with its “Mobilegeddon” update in April 2015. This update forced many websites to optimize for mobile search and adopt a responsive design.

While non-responsive sites have shown up in mobile search results since the April 2015 update, Google has made its intentions clear: to give mobile users the best mobile search experience (and mobile-friendly results) possible.

Potential Implications

Although not directly mentioned by Google, the timing of the announcement is quite interesting.

Google has recently been pushing sites to adopt Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in response to an increasing demand from mobile users and mobile search queries for faster-loading pages.

According to Google, the AMP Project is a “global, industry-wide initiative” to build a “better, faster mobile web.”

As Google increases the strength of mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor, don’t be surprised to see an increased emphasis on AMP for mobile search queries.

Recommended Resources

For more information on mobile-friendliness and responsive design, check out some of the following resources:

What’s Next

FourFront will continue to monitor this change and how it will affect mobile search queries as Google rolls out these updates. Check back for future updates, or subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with the latest news and information.

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1 Comment:


Jared,  good follow up on Google’s recent announcement about turning up the dial on the mobile responsive signals. I just completed a write up as well, but I didn’t necessarily connect AMP to the update. It’s also ironic that it’s just about 1 year from April 21st as well. A reasonable amount of time to allow websites the ability to convert over to responsive.

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