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March 13, 2015

How to Prepare Your Site for Google’s Mobile-Friendliness Ranking

Knowing that websites should be mobile-friendly is nothing new. With more people than ever accessing the Internet from smartphones and other mobile devices, brands that have wanted to be able to connect with the largest audience possible understood that a site should be mobile-friendly for the highest degree of success.

However, many have waited to take action on it in a serious way. With Google’s latest announcement, that may no longer be an option. Beginning April 21, sites that want to rank higher in search results must be mobile friendly; it’s as simple as that.

The Announcement

Google’s news release on Thursday, February 26 came in two parts.

First, there will be more mobile-friendly websites than ever before in standard search results. This is happening because the search giant is officially converting mobile-friendliness into a ranking signal. In the past, Google has labeled mobile-friendly sites in search results. On April 21, instead of merely being labeled as mobile-friendly, sites that are configured for mobile devices will actually rank higher than those that are not.

Second, there will be more apps and app-related content in search results. Google will be using information from indexed apps as factors in ranking for users who have the apps in question installed. For users who use apps on a regular basis, it will be a nice change of pace. For those that don’t, there will not be much of a difference.

What it Means for Your Website

Put simply, the announcement means that if your website is not mobile friendly – as in, works as well on a mobile device as on a full screen – your rankings are about to suffer the consequences. In the past, it was sufficient to limit images and to check how a standard site looked on a smaller screen. Now, each website will be put to the test prior to being displayed and ranked accordingly. Google claims that the changes will be “significant.”

The time to act is now. Following are steps you can take today to ensure your website is up to the test on April 21.

Create a Mobile-Friendly Website

This is a given. If you have yet to act on creating a mobile-friendly website, get started today. 34% of Internet users are using mobile devices, so, even if Google’s change wasn’t around the corner, this would still be a good idea.

You have multiple options that include:

  • A responsive site. Existing websites can be redone so that all objects on the screen remain the same but change in how they are viewed based on the browser width of the visitor.
  • An adaptive site. In this case, the website’s URL stays the same but the server sends different code to the viewer depending on which device is in use.
  • A separate site. Generally, separate sites are hosted on different domains or folders. They work parallel to standard sites and redirect mobile users to the mobile version of the website.

Choosing the right option for your site is essential. Generally, working with a web designer with experience creating mobile sites is a good first option. Because a change like this takes time, it’s best to act quickly to get started.

Test Your Website

Google isn’t leaving webmasters out in the cold with the large-scale changes that are currently underway. Instead, they’ve created a “mobile-friendly test” tool that allows them to type in a URL and to see the results. The test is designed to analyze URLS and to report if the page has a mobile-friendly design or not.

If a page is deemed “mobile-friendly” a green message will appear that congratulates the webmaster, along with a screen shot that shows how Googlebot sees the page.


If a website is not mobile-friendly, a red error message will appear along with reasons why the site is not considered mobile friendly. A demonstration shows how the site appears on mobile devices and options populate for making changes.


As a companion to the mobile-friendly test, Google users can also use Webmaster Tools to get a list of mobile usability issues for a given site through a mobile usability report.

Act on Changes

The changes suggested in Google’s mobile-friendly test aren’t suggestions that set users up for failure. They’re designed to help all users succeed. If there are problems that show with your site, simply act to remedy them.

Google provides options for making existing sites mobile-friendly with 3rd party software, technical suggestions for making a site mobile-friendly with an SEO guide as a companion and working with professionals to see the project through.

Pay Attention to Google’s Guidelines

Have questions about what makes a site mobile friendly in Google’s eyes? Wonder no more. A guide has been created that shows the top three considerations that set a mobile-friendly site apart from one that is not. They include:

1. The Site is Easy for Customers and Visitors

Visitors to any given website should be able to complete their objectives without encountering any barriers regardless of the device being used. To do this, consider the purpose of your website and look at ways to streamline the process, from initial visit to desired conversion.

2. Common Tasks can be Completed without Difficulty

Google believes that mobile sites should be prioritized; the most important and common tasks should take priority. Supporting the most important tasks is a measure – in Google’s eyes – of how efficient a website is. Consistency in interfaces and unified experiences across all platforms is of the utmost importance.

3. Themes are Responsive

According to the same guide referenced above, responsive designs may take priority over other forms of mobile-friendly website. This means that sites that use the same URL and code regardless of the visitor’s device and responds accordingly could rank higher than others.

Google’s latest announcement seems to focus on customer experience, which should be a top priority for all websites. Pay attention to the tips above and make sure your website is ready for the changes that are coming on April 21.


Adrienne Erin writes for SiteProNews about online marketing strategies that help businesses succeed. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter to get in touch, or visit Design Roast to see more of her work.

32 Responses to “How to Prepare Your Site for Google’s Mobile-Friendliness Ranking

    avatar ITBVision says:

    Responsive design is getting must for successful business.

    avatar Ian says:

    You are right about the importance of mobile friendly websites in the future and that it must be a vital consideration for successful ranking although I understand its only the search results on mobile versions of Google search that will be affected if not mobile friendly (though still significant).

    avatar Iman says:

    There are millions of mobile users on the worldwide… if you want to get traffic from mobile users… you must make your website become mobile friendly and also Google friendly.

    avatar Soowec says:

    Thanks for this early sensitizing info. It is really high time to make any website mobile friendly. Using responsive web design approach is gathering momentum already. There are excellent tutorials on the internet as a guide for responsive web design for mobile friendliness.

    Thank you very much for the important message. I’ve checked and the result is positive. Happy! Thanks again!

    avatar Saad says:

    Great tips are mentioned her to prepare site mobile friendliness ranking.

    avatar Akhilesh says:

    Thanks Keep updating …help resource.

    The main advantage of responsive website design is that we can move easily from one part to another part and easily navigate the whole website. Also, users can get information quickly and without any difficulty.

    avatar Dante says:

    We manage about 20 websites for clients. All our responsive sites are coming up Mobile-Friendly. We have several others that redirect to a mobile-only site (very lean, built in PHP) but each of those is being scored as NOT mobile friendly.

    This is wrong. Just because we are not using the responsive portion of a site, and are using a much smaller alternative, with quicker loading times, we should not be penalized for not having it ‘responsive’.

    Any suggestions on who to contact about this?

    avatar Claire says:

    I have tutorials websites created with PHP, CSS and HTML – some flash and js.
    How mobile friendly do I want these sites to be? NOT at all.
    Each one contains over 55 20 minute videos, pages of huge graphic packages. Of what use would these sites be on a ridiculous teeny device like a mobile phone is beyond me.
    I’m keeping them NON mobile friendly, thank you.

    The experience with a mobile device is highly over-rated. In other words, I hate mobile web browsing. I use my mobile phone for making phone calls, texting and checking my email……. that’s it.

    avatar Oswin says:

    If your website is informative and has got to tell something important it should be responsive. No matter if Google ranks it better or not. That´s customer-friendly – keep them in mind!
    “Bait the hook to suit the fish … not the fisherman.”

    avatar Chris Origi says:

    This is resourceful. Thanks for sharing

    avatar Greg says:

    Thank you for sharing very interesting

    avatar Pooja Yadav says:

    I knew this and I installed a responsive theme for my blog. I’m relieved I did this sometime ago to avoid getting into trouble with Google.

    avatar Shankar says:

    My site is mobile friendly but i am not getting 100% UX google insight. Will that too affect ranking

    Sample Page:

    avatar kalvi says:

    Yes, it’s true. In Jan., I attended a meeting at Google. They clearly said that they will focus more on Mobile. Click on my name to know how to rank faster.

    is normal what happens, given that we have a very large expansion of search on your phone and tablet

    interesting article trebbuie now getting down to changes, good that you exist

    avatar Robert says:

    Mobile websites are driving me nuts, is there an easy solution in plain terms on how to make an existing 1366x 2000pix website with over 30 pages mobile friendly.

    Main message from google content to wide, i do have a viewport

    until now I often get emails from the webmaster of this mobile friendly. terimakaasih already share this great experience

    avatar Oke Gila says:

    The experience with a mobile device is highly over-rated. In other words, I hate mobile web browsing. I use my mobile phone for making phone calls, texting and checking my email.

    avatar sai says:

    I am feeling very happy to read of this post. I got very use full information from this site. thank you very much.

    How do you to execute responsiveness on all platforms? I mean I-OS, Windows and Android.

    lol very good to know about these things

    avatar Mobdro says:

    And I know that the guide which is give here works very well to see the process in the coming days to see this.

    avatar SHAREit PC says:

    And the things is very much clear to all the people all around the world in the coming days to see the things to all people.

    avatar Aishwarya HS says:

    I’ve used blogger’s default mobile optimization method. Is it ok?

    avatar daniel says:

    I will really work on this, thanks for the tips

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