Google has been telling site owners to make their sites viewable on small devices for over a year, and now mobile friendliness is one of the search engine’s “ranking signals”. In other words, a responsive site will score higher than one that is not. Google recently announced that responsive sites are going to become even more important. To make a long story short, you either need a mobile version of your site with a link to your main site, or you need a responsive design. Google has told us it doesn’t matter whether you link to the mobile site, redirect by screen size, or have a responsive site — any of those methods will work for them.
On their Webmaster Central blog, Google has communicated that getting good search results should not depend on what device you are using to search. The best results should appear whether you are on a phone, tablet, or desktop computer. Google has announced it will begin rolling out an update for mobile search results in May, that will ensure even better results for mobile that are mobile friendly. If your website is already responsive, however, you won’t be affected by this.
Google has also said they dislike the use of pop-ups that try and cover the content of what the user is looking for. Instead, they suggest using banner ads. Pop-up ads that cover content can cost you ranking as well as users. Some elusive site owners have found ways around this, but they will likely be caught as this update rolls out in May. Google has been known to take manual action on a site and may even penalize your rank.
This new Google rollout is being called “Mobilegeddon”. It might not have lived up to the name yet, but it remains to be seen what exactly will occur after the May update. Is your site ready?
In another announcement, the search giant tells us that searches originating from mobile devices have reached 51%. Yes, most searches are now from mobile devices.
You can find Google’s mobile-friendly test tool here.