Google wants your website to be mobile-friendly

Google wants your website to be mobile-friendly. How do I know? They've been making a big deal about it, especially over the last year. Evidence:

  • PageSpeed Insights has a Mobile tab which reports on Speed and User Experience
  • Google Webmaster Tools has a Mobile Usability Report
  • Google labels search results as "mobile-friendly" when you search from a mobile device
  • Google boosts the ranking of mobile-friendly pages

Let's look at each of these in more detail.

Mobile tab in PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights is Google's tool for measuring how fast web pages load. Users want pages to load quickly, so Google does too. Enter the URL of one of your pages to analyze it. Google will show a Mobile tab which reports on the page's speed (how fast it loads) and user experience (how well it works for a human).

PageSpeed Insights Mobile tab

Mobile Usability Report in Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is Google's service that provides data, tools, and diagnostics to help you monitor your site's presence in Google Search results. In the menu on the left, click Search Traffic, then Mobile Usability. You'll see how many pages have mobile usability errors, and what those errors are. Learn more at the Webmaster Tools page on Mobile usability.

Webmaster Tools has sent emails about these issues, with advice for fixing them. Here's an excerpt from one email:

Google systems have tested 7 pages from your site and found that 57% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these 4 pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.

Mobile Usability in Google Webmaster Tools

Google labels search results as "mobile-friendly"

Google labels search results as "mobile-friendly" when you search from a mobile device. This started November 18, 2014. Google said, "We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience." Here's the full post which explains how Google determines which pages are mobile-friendly.

Mobile-friendly label Google search

Google boosts ranking of mobile-friendly pages

Google boosts the ranking of mobile-friendly pages. This started April 21, 2015. It's the most recent and most significant change, referred to as "Mobilegeddon." Google had warned site owners that it would "boost the rankings of mobile-friendly pages -- pages that are legible and usable on mobile devices -- in mobile search results worldwide." Learn more in Google's FAQs about the April 21st mobile-friendly update.

Note that only searches from mobile devices are affected (for now). Google said,

No, this update has no effect on searches from tablets or desktops. It affects searches from mobile devices across all languages and locations.

Note that Google is evaluating individual pages, not entire sites. They said,

It’s a page-level change. For instance, if ten of your site’s pages are mobile-friendly, but the rest of your pages aren’t, only the ten mobile-friendly pages can be positively impacted.

Is your site mobile-friendly?

Is your site mobile-friendly, for the sake of your visitors and Google? We've been creating responsive WordPress websites since 2011. We've also converted fixed-width sites to responsive. Let's talk about making your site mobile-friendly.

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