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New Google advisory will benefit ‘mobile-friendly’ sites [@SmartInsights alert]

Author's avatar By Dave Chaffey 19 Nov, 2014
Essential Essential topic

7 things marketers need to know about the impact of Google’s latest change on SEO

Importance: [rating=5]

Recommended link: Google announcement - Helping users find mobile-friendly pages

  • 1. Google will now give more prominence to mobile sites in the search results (SERPs). More prominence will occur thanks to a ‘mobile-friendly’ label:


  • 2. This label will only appear in mobile search results. Which is what we would expect.
  • 3. The change has been rolled out. We didn’t see this yesterday, but it is now visible, e.g. for a brand search for this site:


  • 4. This isn’t a ranking factor change. Google has previously stated that mobile sites with errors may lose ranking, but this announcement just relates to the label. However, we can expect that this change will increase clickthrough rates on sites that have this label and decrease them for ones that don’t so it will affect traffic to some unknown degree.
  • 5. The mobile-friendly criteria are defined at a top-level. The announcement lists these criteria
    1. Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
    2. Uses text that is readable without zooming
    3. Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom [so responsive sites are recognised]
    4. Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
  • 6. You can use a testing tool to assess your site. A Mobile-Friendly test tool is available on the Google Developers site where you can test URLs. Ours is successful, phew, although with some errors.

    mobile friendly example

  • 7. This change isn’t unexpected. Google has been developing mobile site rendering tools to highlight mobile site effectiveness as described in this recent Smart Insights article and it has also changed it’s guidance on mobile SEO in 2013 to recommend the use of mobile responsive or adaptive sites rather than separate mobile domains.

We hope this guidance is useful - and that your site fares well in the test! Can you see other implications of this change?

Author's avatar

By Dave Chaffey

Digital strategist Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of online marketing training platform and publisher Smart Insights. 'Dr Dave' is known for his strategic, but practical, data-driven advice. He has trained and consulted with many business of all sizes in most sectors. These include large international B2B and B2C brands including 3M, BP, Barclaycard, Dell, Confused.com, HSBC, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, M&G Investment, Rentokil Initial, O2, Royal Canin (Mars Group) plus many smaller businesses. Dave is editor of the templates, guides and courses in our digital marketing resource library used by our Business members to plan, manage and optimize their marketing. Free members can access our free sample templates here. Dave is also keynote speaker, trainer and consultant who is author of 5 bestselling books on digital marketing including Digital Marketing Excellence and Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. In 2004 he was recognised by the Chartered Institute of Marketing as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have helped shape the future of marketing. My personal site, DaveChaffey.com, lists my latest Digital marketing and E-commerce books and support materials including a digital marketing glossary. Please connect on LinkedIn to receive updates or ask me a question.

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