Google favours sites that are mobile friendly

By Simon Wissink | 21/04/2015


From today (21st of April) Google is updating its search algorithm to favour websites that show large text on mobile, provide easy-to-click links and resize to fit whatever screen they are viewed on, ranking them higher in search:

http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/helping-users-find-mobile-friendly-pages.html

Websites that aren’t mobile-friendly will be demoted. Google says that 60% of online traffic now comes from mobile and they want users to have a good experience whenever they click on a site link from a mobile device. 

Google announced this change in February, giving webmasters nearly two months and plenty of information to make the changes necessary to avoid dropping down the search results. However, the update is still expected to cause a major ranking shake-up and has been nicknamed "mobilegeddon" because of the impact it could have on millions of websites. eConsultancy posted a great article on some of the big names who might lose out:

https://econsultancy.com/blog/66334-google-s-mobilegeddon-which-sites-stand-to-lose-out/

Google always focused on ranking websites based on their relevance and content. That is now changing and although relevance and content will still play a part, the user experience is now just as important. Content relevance may still matter more than UX when it comes to the big brands however, if you read this handy Q & A from the team at Search Engine Land: http://searchengineland.com/tomorrow-is-mobilegeddon-are-you-ready-for-the-google-mobile-friendly-update-219291?utm_campaign=socialflow&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

Although we talk to users directly as part of our design research, for most of our new client projects, we also review the site traffic, looking at browsers, social media referrals, user search terms and so on. If you are an SME, charity or you are increasing your reliance on digital, Google Analytics is a great tool to help you gain a quick understanding of your visitor behaviour. 

We are a UX-focused company, so mobile-friendly and responsive web design has been part of our approach for some years now for clients small and large. Although we have been encouraging mobile thinking for some time, there are those who still see it as a "nice to have" or adopt a "good enough" approach to mobile versions of their sites. It will be interesting to see if there is an increase in demand for responsive web design as a direct result of this change from Google.