Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.91.16.95

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Google To Expand Mobile Friendliness As A Ranking Signal

     
8:02 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator travelin_cat is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Feb 28, 2004
posts:3250
votes: 13


The time to make sure your site is mobile friendly is approaching!

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.


[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]
8:20 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 30, 2005
posts:13004
votes: 214



System: The following message was spliced on to this thread from: http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4739403.htm [webmasterworld.com] by engine - 8:33 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (utc 0)


Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.



[googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]
9:23 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 24, 2012
posts:648
votes: 2


I have one ecom space where none of my competitors have looked into this, at all. We moved to responsive last year, and more than just a simplistic implementation...the mobile rendering is almost app like, and converts pretty well (for mobile, anyhow).

Not bragging, just happy to be ahead of Google's decisions for once :)
10:25 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 4, 2001
posts:1097
votes: 7


So where does this leave informational sites? Sites that predate smart phones, that were developed to be well researched, content rich resources, that are totally unsuited for use on a phone.

Will the absence of "mobile friendliness" consign these sites to rankings hell even when the searcher is not on a mobile device?
10:44 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 24, 2012
posts:648
votes: 2


Will the absence of "mobile friendliness" consign these sites to rankings hell even when the searcher is not on a mobile device?

The announcement does say "This change will affect mobile searches", so perhaps only on mobile?
11:23 pm on Feb 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3079
votes: 588


Will the absence of "mobile friendliness" consign these sites to rankings hell even when the searcher is not on a mobile device?


There's a difference between making something a "ranking signal" and consigning sites or pages to "rankings hell." Google has a lot of different signals, after all.

For a surprising number of the queries that I track, there aren't a great number of good results, so the question in such cases would be "Will Google rank crappy or minimally-relevant but mobile-friendly pages higher than better-quality, relevant pages that aren't mobile-friendly?" Or maybe "Will mobile-friendliness be a major ranking signal or a tiebreaker?" It's too early to know the answer.
12:54 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 27, 2001
posts:1162
votes: 3


so perhaps only on mobile?


This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.


very different language to the usual "<> 1% of queries"
1:00 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3079
votes: 588


very different language to the usual "<> 1% of queries"


Understandably, because it isn't about queries, it's about search on smartphones. In theory, it should affect all queries (though probably to varying degrees).
1:05 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:10393
votes: 597


The announcement does say "This change will affect mobile searches", so perhaps only on mobile?

That's how I read it as well.

However, I have an information/eCommerce site built in 1998 which had a traffic peak of 10k to 12k daily page loads in 2006. Since then traffic steadily declined due to social media & mobile devices IMO.

6 months ago I recoded this 300 page site to mobile-responsive. Almost immediately I saw a 30% traffic increase which now approaches 90% increase. Product sales & Adsense income increased significantly as well.

Conclusion - Not only did mobile add users to the internet, it also *stole* users who formerly used desktops. So even if your non-mobile, niche-specific site has little competition, expect traffic to decrease as the web moves forward with mobile support.
1:14 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from US 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 30, 2005
posts:13004
votes: 214


Things change. You either roll with it or you don't. All of my own sites are mobile friendly, but I have a few clients I'm going to have light a fire under.
1:17 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 27, 2001
posts:1162
votes: 3


because it isn't about queries, it's about search


what?

"search results" are the result of a search query

do you just argue for the sake of it?
1:36 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 24, 2000
posts:1748
votes: 5


I love when google makes these announcements.
It always means a few new projects for me.
2:17 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3079
votes: 588


"search results" are the result of a search query

do you just argue for the sake of it?

Who's arguing? Certainly not me. I was merely making an observation in response to:

"very different language to the usual "<> 1% of queries"

The announcement was about mobile searches across the board (not about whatever subset of queries is being targeted by Panda or Penguin or the Page Layout Algorithm or whatever).

How big a deal this change is or isn't will depend not on the percentage of queries affected, but on how much weight "mobile-friendliness" is given as a mobile ranking factor.
2:33 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Oct 15, 2003
posts:83
votes: 0


For a surprising number of the queries that I track, there aren't a great number of good results, so the question in such cases would be "Will Google rank crappy or minimally-relevant but mobile-friendly pages higher than better-quality, relevant pages that aren't mobile-friendly?" Or maybe "Will mobile-friendliness be a major ranking signal or a tiebreaker?" It's too early to know the answer.


What's interesting to me is what happens when most or none of the top sites for a given keyword or niche are mobile-friendly or have any intention of being so? And what constitutes mobile-friendly in the first place? Just because a site isn't responsive or has a mobile version of a website, does that automatically make it mobile unfriendly?

I know of a number of sites that are designed for traditional desktops only, but they're 1) text-heavy and 2) use a single column (or very thin sidebar) design, when viewed on a mobile looks fine. You typically don't even have to zoom and pinch because modern mobile browsers will automatically upsize the text a bit to a readable level. I know of a few such sites that redesigned to be responsive, and I preferred their desktop variants due to them being easier to consume.
3:13 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3079
votes: 588


dannyboy:

Good points. There certainly are degrees of "mobile-friendliness." Even on a dinky iPhone 4, a page that's hard to read and navigate in portrait view might work fine in landscape view, depending on the page's layout. And, of course, what's painful to use on an iPhone 4 in either orientation might be more than adequate on an iPhone 6 Plus. It would make sense, then, for a "mobile-friendly" algorithm to take the user's device into account. Will Google be doing that? Maybe not in the short run, but over the long haul, that's the kind of personalization that a searcher with a large-screen phone or phablet might appreciate.

Something else that isn't getting as much attention as it should is the "More relevant app content in search results" part of the announcement. Will apps get more favorable, less favorable, or identical treatment (in terms of rankings) as "mobile-friendly" Web pages?

Also, is it possible that the forthcoming changes represent a fork in the road for desktop/laptop/tablet and "mobile" (smartphone) search? Let's say, for example, that user data suggested a preference for longer content on large-screen devices and short content on smartphones, or more and larger images on large-screen devices (which typically aren't using cellular connections) than on smartphones. Couldn't such data lead to much different algorithms for different classes of devices?

It seems to me that what's happening on April 21 may be just one small step in the evolution of mobile (and non-mobile) search.
3:15 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Dec 27, 2004
posts:1918
votes: 57


I love when google makes these announcements.
It always means a few new projects for me.

Right on! It is Great to be a Developer!

Oh, and April 21st is my Birthday!
4:53 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Full Member

5+ Year Member

joined:May 20, 2010
posts:219
votes: 7


Happy birthday blend27.

May the odds be ever in your favor.
8:15 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from GB 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Apr 29, 2005
posts:2032
votes: 88


I wonder what definitively defines a site as mobile friendly in Gs eyes. At the moment I'm assuming that if the tag "Mobile Friendly" appears against an entry in the mobile SERPS then G considers it mobile friendly. Could it be though, that other factors, not visible to us, also define a site as being, or not being, mobile friendly?

It certainly seems a big game-changer though. Never, to my knowledge, has G announced such a large ranking change, so far in the future and on a specific date. It's almost as if they are saying to site owners - have a look at the mobile SERPS on 20th April and then compare them to the mobile SERPS on 21st April. Learn from that comparison if you have not converted to mobile friendly.

No news from Bing on that front at the moment though, interesting to see how they react.
9:18 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:10393
votes: 597


I guess I have a different view about this since my work is done, but I really don't see why this announcement comes as such a shock.

This is about mobile search. Why would a non-mobile site be ranked high in a search from a mobile device; the non-mobile site would not be the appropriate user experience.
10:19 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 4, 2001
posts:1097
votes: 7


Why would a non-mobile site be ranked high in a search from a mobile device; the non-mobile site would not be the appropriate user experience.


Quite.... and allowing cut-away, truncated mobile friendly sites to outrank content rich informational sites, when the search is obviously for the latter, is equally not the appropriate user experience on a desktop.

Common sense says that Google will need to have two classifications of sites... mobile and non-mobile, and will populate the SERP's from whichever group best matches the searchers device.

Only problem with common sense is that it is not always common...

And what happens with tablets.... I can see and use informational sites just fine on a tablet. Are they a mobile device?
10:29 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Administrator from GB 

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month Best Post Of The Month

joined:May 9, 2000
posts:24932
votes: 644


keyplyr, correct. There's no shock in this. Google and Bing have been banging the drum on mobile friendliness for some time, including this more recently. Bing Publishes Bingbot Mobile Agents and Latest Developments [webmasterworld.com]

Mobile is not a google thing, it's a user thing, market driven. If you want to get to the sector of the market that uses mobile, it seems logical that you'd want to adjust your site accordingly. Look at it from this respect, your site will be penalised in the mobile serps because it doesn't render effectively on a mobile. If it doesn't render correctly, it'll mean lost opportunities for the publisher.
10:42 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Moderator from US 

WebmasterWorld Administrator keyplyr is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Sept 26, 2001
posts:10393
votes: 597


and allowing cut-away, truncated mobile friendly sites to outrank content rich informational sites, when the search is obviously for the latter, is equally not the appropriate user experience on a desktop.

Common sense says that Google will need to have two classifications of sites... mobile and non-mobile, and will populate the SERP's from whichever group best matches the searchers device.

I understand where your frustration is coming from austtr, but I don't think you are grasping the concept of "mobile-responsive"

One page but several versions of the page created by the server for different size devices. So your "content rich informational site" remains the same when delivered to the desk-top user and other larger screens, but becomes more streamlined for smaller screens. The streamlined version would not be delivered to larger screen devices because of mobile-detect code, which can tell the size of the device making the request.

Thanks engine, well stated.
11:00 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 24, 2002
posts:488
votes: 5


This brings up another question, though.

What, exactly, is the "definition" of mobile that google uses? I'm curious if Google will go by the viewport of the device being used to consider if it should show mobile sites higher in ranking or if they'll go by the actual device being used?
11:13 am on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 24, 2014
posts:119
votes: 6


I think Google can analyze the code and the actual appearance to some degree. If you check the PageSpeed tool, there are notifications if elements are too close together. I guess there are a few different things to take into account, like viewport, readability and usability checks.
12:17 pm on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member from ES 

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Mar 4, 2003
posts: 475
votes: 5


What, exactly, is the "definition" of mobile that google uses?

It looks to me that google will tell you that your content dosnt fit the viewport if it will not go down to a width of 320px.
1:09 pm on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member from BG 

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 11, 2014
posts:526
votes: 164


Good thing we are on the last few steps in making our corporate website responsive! I knew Google were cooking something since the last mass mail they sent back in January.
1:22 pm on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

New User

joined:July 8, 2014
posts: 18
votes: 0


So we have been thinking about taking our old ecommerce site to reponsive. Any feedback on a good platform for us to use that is lite on the code? That is fast and google seems to like?
2:45 pm on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member editorialguy is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:June 28, 2013
posts:3079
votes: 588


Why would a non-mobile site be ranked high in a search from a mobile device; the non-mobile site would not be the appropriate user experience.


It isn't quite that simple. The site's authority, page quality (as perceived by Google), and other factors come into play, too. Google hasn't said "We're listing only mobile-friendly pages in our mobile search results," it has merely said that mobile-friendliness will be a ranking factor. How powerful a ranking factor? That's anybody's guess, at least until April 21.

Also, let's distinguish between "sites" and "pages." Many sites have dedicated mobile pages, and Google hasn't said "All of a site's pages need to be mobile-friendly for its mobile pages to rank well in mobile search."
2:51 pm on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member from BG 

Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 11, 2014
posts:526
votes: 164


Can we name this update already? I kinda need a new animal to make images with the Google logo.

I would like it to be "Chicken" update! Because I am certain everyone will run like headless chickens once 21 of April kicks in.
2:56 pm on Feb 27, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member aristotle is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Aug 4, 2008
posts:3316
votes: 250


Google's results for mobile phones probably need to be dumbed down even more than they are for desktops. It's hard to do comtemplative reading on a small phone.
This 131 message thread spans 5 pages: 131
 

Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members