Google to Label Mobile-Friendly Websites in Search

Business owners have more incentive than ever to optimize their websites for mobile devices, now that Google has begun adding the label “mobile-friendly” to its search results. After months of testing various proposed icons and labels to indicate which sites are and are not mobile friendly, the search engine giant has settled on two simple words. When you conduct a Google search, you’ll know immediately whether the site you’re contemplating is optimized for your phone or tablet when you see the words “mobile-friendly” added to the description.

In order for a site to be awarded the label “mobile-friendly,” it must meet the following criteria:

  • Must not contain software not commonly used on mobile devices, such as Flash;
  • Must use text that is readable without the need to zoom;
  • Must automatically size content to the screen so that the user doesn’t need to zoom or scroll horizontally;
  • Must space links appropriately so that they’re easily selected.

Looking for the words “mobile-friendly,” users conducting searches on mobile devices can be spared the hassle of ending up on a site that’s built only for desktop browsing. According to Google, this is just the first step in providing Google users a better mobile web experience. In the not-too-distant future, these mobile-friendly criteria will affect a website’s page ranking in Google search results. All the more reason for business owners to be proactive and ensure their websites are mobile-friendly.

How Do You Know if Your Website is Mobile Friendly?

If you haven’t specifically optimized your site for mobile, or if you’re using a site like WordPress and wondering whether it’s mobile-friendly, there’s an easy way to check, courtesy of Google’s new Webmaster tool, accessible to everyone. Simply type in your site’s URL and click Analyze, and the tool will return a positive or negative result almost instantly. You can also learn how to unblock any resources on your site, and access the Google Webmasters Mobile Guide and the Principles of Site Design handbooks.

Google+ pages are, of course, not only already optimized for mobile but can even be managed on mobile devices through Google+ or created through the Google My Business app. Having a Google+ page not only helps business owners strengthen their online presence, but is another way of helping their main site feature more prominently in local search results.

In a nutshell, business owners who overlook the increasing importance of mobile when it comes to web marketing do so at their own peril. Don’t let your site’s search rankings suffer because it’s not mobile-friendly!