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Mobile friendliness as a Google ranking factor: what you need to know

How important is it for SEO to optimize your website for mobile devices?Check out the statement on the impact of mobile friendliness on search rankings.

Mobile devices now account for more than half of all searches on the web, although for most of the internet's short history, desktop devices reigned supreme.

As smartphones became more common and mobile searches grew, Google had to reevaluate its approach to ranking mobile-friendly sites.

This led to an event known in the SEO community as "mobile geddon. "

Does this sound scary?Is mobile friendliness a ranking factor these days?

This chapter will investigate these claims and identify the impact of mobile friendliness on search rankings.

Disclaimer: Mobile friendliness is a ranking factor

It is said that websites designed to adapt to mobile screens benefit from a ranking boost over websites optimized only for desktop.

This statement stems from the fact that a larger percentage of searches are conducted on mobile devices, and the understanding that Google aims to provide pages with the best user experience..

Since most users search on mobile devices, the best user experience is ensured by providing results that work on both mobile and desktop devices.

Before mobile devices became the primary way people used to search Google, users often landed on pages that weren't optimized for smartphones or tablets.

Users are understandably frustrated with visiting pages they can't easily navigate.

Google found itself facing search quality issues.

Without any incentives, waiting for webmasters to make their sites compatible with all devices can take years.

Google can't force sites to be mobile-friendly, and it's unfair to take punitive action against sites with outdated designs.

Instead, Google went the other way, rewarding those who chose their own mobile-friendly domain names.The ranking advantage gained by mobile-optimized websites has spurred greater adoption of responsive web design.

Now, it's not common to do a mobile search and land on a page that isn't optimized for smartphones.

Is this because mobile friendliness is a ranking factor?

Or are there more mobile-friendly sites on the web?

It could be a combination of the two.

The evidence is this.

Evidence of mobile friendliness as a ranking factor

Mobilegeddon isn't a myth (though, to be clear, the Mobilegeddon name didn't come from Google).It happened on April 2015, 4, two months before it was announced.

When Google rolled out what it officially called a "mobile-friendly update," it said:

"As we noted earlier this year, today is the day we start rolling out mobile-friendly updates globally.We're improving the ranking of mobile-friendly pages in mobile search results.

It’s now easier for searchers to find high-quality and relevant results, where text is readable without clicking or zooming, click targets are properly spaced, and pages avoid unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.

A year later, in 2016, Google announced that it would strengthen mobile-friendly ranking signals:

"Today, we're announcing that, starting in May, we'll begin updating mobile search results to increase the impact of ranking signals to help our users find more relevant, mobile-friendly pages.

Mobile-friendly updates are intended to affect mobile search results only.

Mobile-friendly sites did not lift when users searched on desktop.

While mobile friendliness is a ranking factor that strengthens over time, Google reminds us that user intent is a stronger signal.

Pages that are not mobile-optimized can still rank in mobile search results if the page best matches what the user is looking for.

“Keep in mind that search query intent is still a very strong signal – so even if a page with high-quality content isn’t mobile-friendly, it can still rank well if it has great relevant content.

However, Google recommends in its "mobile-first" indexing best practices document:

"While a mobile version of your web page is not required to have your content included in Google's search results, it is highly recommended.

Mobile friendliness as a ranking factor: our verdict

Mobile friendliness is a confirmed ranking factor by Google.

To be fair, sites that are not easy to navigate on mobile are at a disadvantage in search.Businesses with outdated website designs should strongly consider upgrading to stay competitive with Google.

Extended reading:

Are meta keywords a Google ranking factor?

Are meta descriptions a Google ranking factor?

Are Nofollow Links a Google Ranking Factor?

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