Google May Penalize Non Mobile-Friendly Sites

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Users are accessing your company’s site via their mobile devices now more than ever. Paypal recently announced at this year’s Arizona World Usability Day that 25% of their users are accessing the company’s website on their iPhones, iPads, Android phones and other mobile gadgets. That is a huge number of users, one you probably see echoed in your own site’s analytics, which is why Paypal embarked on a full mobile-first site redesign.

Google Search Results and Mobile-Friendly Site Design

Google announced today that they are tagging sites that are mobile friendly which could affect your SEO rankings.

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.

Google has created a Mobile-Friendly Test where you can see if your (and everyone else’s) website passes the following list of criteria:

  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

Does Your Site Pass the Tests?

If you want to make sure that your page meets the mobile-friendly criteria:

  • Check your pages with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
  • Read Google’s updated documentation on their Webmasters Mobile Guide on how to create and improve your mobile site
  • See the Mobile usability report in Google Webmaster Tools, which highlights major mobile usability issues across your entire site, not just one page
  • If your site is running on a CMS (Content Management System) like Wordpress, Joomla or Drupal you can check out Google’s How-To Guide for Third-Party Software to see some tips on updating to a mobile-friendly template.

My Site Failed… Now What?

Did your site pass the tests? If so congratulations to you and your web team! If your site failed pass the tests you should be concerned, but it isn’t a reason to panic. Many great companies haven’t had the resources or knowledge required to make the needed changes to their sites. It requires a complete restructuring, redesign and rebuild of a website in many cases, so it takes time and talent to accomplish.

53% of sites belonging to the top places to work in Phoenix (according to the Phoenix Business Journal) failed to pass the test. Some of the companies that failed are a little surprising.

Google is not yet ranking pages for search result placement based on the friendliness of your site on mobile devices, but it is a warning that you should prepare for the inevitable future soon.


Fortunately, myself and my amazing teammates at Dapper Gentlemen are here to help. Web and mobile design is in our DNA, it’s what has driven us to win #1 top app rankings, industry awards and recognition. If you need consultation help with planning to full on UX / UI design and development we would love to talk to you.

Follow me or talk to me on twitter, linkedin or dribble. This article originally appeared on Dapper Gentlemen.

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