Google To Use Mobile Usability As A Ranking Factor In Mobile Search Results

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Google dropped a major announcement today stating that, as of April 21st, the search giant will be extending the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal throughout mobile search results.

This change will affect worldwide mobile search results in all languages, and Google says it will have a “significant” impact.

This marks Google’s much anticipated step towards delivering primarily mobile-friendly sites in mobile search. If you follow Google changes closely, the signs had been building up over the past few months.

Google hinted at this back when it introduced an official set of mobile-friendly site criteria, along with a mobile friendly site testing tool to determine whether or not your site met Google’s criteria. The company said it may start using that criteria as a ranking signal in the future, and just a few months later here we are.

To ensure your site is still appearing in Google’s mobile search results after April 21st, run your site through the mobile-friendly testing tool. If your passes, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

If your site doesn’t pass, then the tool will recommend the improvements you need to make. In addition, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.

Google also announced that starting today it will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, you may start to see content from indexed apps featured more prominently in search results.

Matt Southern
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in... Read Full Bio
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  • Woah… big news. Thanks for always keeping us up to date Matt!

  • That’s good. i already know, google can’t underestimate mobile friendly factors in ranking algorithms. now we need to improve our mobile experience.

  • karen hahn

    If your site is mobile friendly now does this mean that it may not be after April 21? Thanks

  • Sabeeh ul Hassan

    Thanks Matt for letting this news in our notice. We need to educate all the businesses how important mobile friendly interface is. This April is going to create big mess in SEO community. 🙂

  • Suzanne

    Howdy! Thhis article could not be written much better!

    Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this article
    to him. Fairly certain hee will have a great read.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Hey Matt, actually I’m a bit impressed that Google isn’t doing this already because after all, they are all about providing the best user’s experience possible so why wouldn’t you rank better a mobile friendly website over another that is not optimized for mobile devices?

  • Thanks for this informative piece at the exact time, Got two errors and more advices after checking my site in the tool, such as Content wider than screen and Links too close together.

    Will try to correct it and get back to the mobile friendly site stuff.

    Thanks again for this post.

  • Nate Somsen

    Well, the day has arrived, and we all knew we were coming to this! Thanks for your article Matt.

    I am a little confused however, is this update restrictive to only mobile searches on mobile devices? Or will this be looked at as extra credit for the desktop serps as well?

    Frankly, I don’t care much for surfin’ the net on a tiny little cell phone screen, when I can have a website in it’s full splender right in front of me.

    Looks like I’ll need to start looking over various websites now in the mobile-friendly testing tool. Thanks again for your helpful article with the heads up.

  • Greg

    Matt – in case you hadn’t seen it, here’s a related article about testing done by Alan Bleiweiss on google’s mobile friendly results: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/flawed-google-mobile-usability-test-results/127623/

  • It is therefor a good idea to have a website that is mobile responsive. I have known about this for a while when I did research on SEO trends for 2015.

  • Tom

    Will Google adjust their ranking only based on the Mobile-Friendly test, or do they also look at visitor behaviour, like bounce rate?

    I read different things, some say they do, some say the don’t…

  • Thanks for the heads up Matt. I am sure thousands if not millions are scrambling to make their site mobile friendly. I do have one question for you or anyone else who might read this great post. What if I don’t want my site mobile friendly? Something to think about!

  • Definitely this is the most common mistake many people doing with their sites recent past, but there is no chance right now if they are not taking it seriously ,I am always with google and getting good response .Thanks Matt for lookup .