Does Mobile-Friendliness Affect Your Google Ranking?
Mobile-friendliness is one of the most talked about SEO ranking factors. It has been debated for a while whether mobile friendliness affects your website’s rankings on Google. Should you change your website design to ensure mobile friendliness is a ranking factor?
With mobile devices accounting for 60% of internet usage worldwide, it’s now more important than ever for Google to make sure that sites are compatible with them. In the past, mobile-friendliness was considered a nice-to-have feature but not a necessity. However, given the recent surge in mobile usage, it’s become clear that it’s an essential part of any website.
The ever-growing ubiquity of smartphones and tablets led to a change in how Google viewed mobile-friendliness, causing them to eventually implement it as a ranking factor. This change was given the name “mobilegeddon” by many in the SEO community, and it led to a greater focus on mobile search.
So, is mobilegeddon as scary as it sounds? And does mobile-friendliness still play a role in rankings? This blog will investigate those claims and clarify the impact of mobile-friendliness on search engine rankings.
You might be surprised to find out the results.
Is Mobile-Friendliness A Ranking Factor?
Many SEO professionals believe that websites that are designed to fit onto mobile screens usually receive a ranking boost in comparison to sites that are only optimized for desktop computers. The rationale behind this claim is that a more significant percentage of searches are conducted on mobile devices, and Google aims to serve pages that provide the best user experience.
Given that the majority of users now search the web on mobile devices, it’s important to serve results that work well on both mobile and desktop. This approach is often referred to as responsive web design.
Back when the desktop was still the primary way people used Google, it wasn’t uncommon to come across pages that weren’t optimized for mobile. Nowadays, it’s much rarer to search on your phone and end up on a page that isn’t mobile-friendly.
Is that because mobile friendliness is a ranking factor? Or are there simply more mobile-friendly sites out there now?
It’s probably a bit of both. Here’s what the evidence shows.
The Evidence shows that Mobile-Friendliness As A Ranking Factor
Google found that users were growing frustrated with visiting pages that they couldn’t easily navigate. In other words, there was a search quality issue that needed to be addressed.
Webmasters might not make their sites compatible with all devices for years, without any incentive to do so. Google couldn’t force sites to become mobile-friendly, and it wouldn’t be fair to take punitive action against websites with outdated designs. Instead, Google decided to reward domains that implemented mobile-friendly designs on their own.
When Google released what’s officially referred to as the “mobile-friendly update,” it stated:
“As we noted earlier this year, today’s the day we begin globally rolling out our mobile-friendly update. We’re boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results.
Now searchers can more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.”
In 2016, Google announced that it would be strengthening the mobile-friendly ranking signal. This means that websites that are designed to be mobile-friendly will rank higher in search results than those that are not.
“Today we’re announcing that beginning in May, we’ll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.”
Google designed the mobile-friendly update to affect both mobile and desktop search results. Although there was no boost for mobile-friendly sites when a user searched on a desktop, Google still emphasizes the importance of responsive mobile design. In 2020, the search engine adopted a new form of indexing that ditches the desktop crawler.
Mobile-first indexing is now the norm for Google algorithms. This means that the mobile version of a website will be given more weight in the ranking than the desktop version of the website.
For some time, Google has been emphasizing mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor, but it’s important to remember that user intent is an even stronger signal. In other words, a page that isn’t optimized for mobile devices can still rank highly in mobile search results if it’s the best match for what the user is looking for.
“And remember, the intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high-quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank well if it has great, relevant content.”
However, Google indicates in its Mobile-first indexing best practices documentation:
“While it’s not required to have a mobile version of your pages to have your content included in Google’s Search results, it is very strongly recommended.”
The advantages that mobile-optimized sites have in terms of ranking spurred the adoption of responsive web design on a much larger scale. Nowadays, more and more people are using their phones to access the internet, so it’s important to make sure that your site is designed to be responsive and easy to use on a smaller screen.
Final Verdict about Mobile-Friendliness
Mobile-friendliness is a confirmed Google ranking factor.
If a webpage doesn’t display the same amount of information on mobile as it does on desktop, it will be harder for Google to use that page for rankings.
There’s the potential to adversely impact search rankings if your site provides a lesser experience on mobile than on desktop. As a result, it’s essential to make sure that your website is just as user-friendly on mobile devices as it is on desktop computers.
A responsive mobile design is crucial for a positive user experience. This isn’t just our opinion – it’s something that Google has taken into account with their page experience algorithm update that was rolled out in 2020.
The Page Experience Update is designed to reward websites with content that visitors can easily interact with and navigate. It includes the following factors:
- Mobile usability.
- Core Web Vitals.
- No intrusive interstitials.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, you’re at a disadvantage with Google. Upgrading your website design should be a top priority if you want to stay competitive in Google search results.
If you’re wondering whether or not mobile-friendliness affects your Google ranking, the answer is YES! Mobile-friendly websites are ranked higher in search results, so if you want to improve your ranking, make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices.
Mobile-friendliness is an important factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. If your site is not optimized for mobile users, you could be losing out on valuable traffic and potential customers. So, if you need help getting started with implementing a mobile-friendly design, EverRanks can help you.
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