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Madison, Wisconsin
Powderkeg Web Design
April 3, 2015

Google to start using mobile-friendliness as ranking signal

Terry Wesolek
Google to start using mobile-friendliness as ranking signal

On April 21st 2015 Google will start using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. You might be asking yourself what that means for you and your website. Well, all sites that show up in Google’s search results are measured by about 200 ranking factors. These factors include common ones like keywords, description tags, frequency of content updates, and inbound & outbound links. As a way to improve search results Google will periodically add and update ranking factors so they are delivering the best content to users. The newest addition is mobile-friendliness. When boiled down, the mobile-friendliness ranking signal really just comes down to:


Is your site mobile friendly?

Does your website meet the demands of today’s consumers?


Traditional marketing talks about meeting your audience where they are: on the subway, in their car, on TV, etc. That same principal is being applied to today’s online experience, you wouldn’t try and put your print ad on TV, why would you try and display your desktop website on a mobile phone? Google recognizes this need to meet consumers on their screens and is rewarding websites that offer responsive, mobile-friendly designs, with better search rankings.

Ranking sites that are mobile-friendly above those that are not could mean your website being pushed to the second page or further of Google’s search results if your site is not mobile-friendly. Be honest, when was the last time you clicked past page one of a search result?

With 64% of adults now owning smartphones of some type up 29 percent from 2011, it is important to evaluate your website across all of today’s devices. 7% of the surveyed stated a mobile phone was primarily their only form of internet access.(1) Which means when visiting your site they are not getting the best experience possible and are more likely to leave your site for another mobile-friendly result.

49% of smartphone owners experience content that they are trying to access not displaying properly on their phone at least on occasion, with 10% saying that this happens to them frequently.(1)

Here at Powderkeg we believe it to be important to meet the growing smartphone audience on their screens while keeping a clean and consistent brand message. Mobile friendliness is about giving your customers a fluid experience no matter if they are using a smartphone, tablet, or larger.  Mobile friendliness is achieved through responsive design. Designing content to be scalable from a 3.5” to a 32” screen while maintaining usability is key to a successful mobile experience.

Unfortunately sites that are several years old and weren’t designed in a mobile-centric way are harder to adapt to today’s responsive environment. Responsive upgrades or mobile optimization can be done to pretty much any website, it just takes more hours the older the site is. Plus the older the site, the more likely the user experience will have to be sacrificed when retrofitting for mobile. Although more time consuming, any site built in the last several years can be updated to pass Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and be listed higher than non-mobile friendly sites.



(1) Smith, Aaron. “U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015.” Pew Research Center. N.p., 1 Apr. 2015. Web. 3 Apr. 2015.