Google Testing New Not Mobile Friendly Search Icons
October 17, 2014
It has been a wide-held belief for the past few years that, due to the explosion in popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices, it is increasingly important to ensure that your company website is mobile accessible.
The incentive for this is obvious. As of 2013 it was believed that as many as 46% of searchers predominantly used mobile devices to conduct their research, meaning that if your website doesn’t cut the mustard when displayed on a smaller screen it would be likely to be skipped over in favour of a site that is more user-friendly.
Following much speculation as to the relative importance of having a mobile-friendly site in comparison to other ranking factors in organic search, Google has provided its strongest indication yet that it is becoming an increasingly important factor. The company has begun to use a little symbol in its mobile search results to indicate if a particular website is mobile friendly or not. This little icon provides the searcher with instant information about how easy a website is to view on their device, which means that those which are not properly optimised will lose out on hits.
While this may not be an enormous issue for websites which rely on customer interaction, as these are customers that would probably have bounced upon hitting the site anyway, it is likely to impact websites that make money from on-site advertising, as the symbol will dissuade many from even visiting in the first place. This in turn means that less money can be earned from the ads based on impressions and click-thrus.
Currently it is believed that the icons are still in the developmental stage and are currently being tested, meaning that they are by no means 100% accurate if you happen to have seen them. However it is a clear statement of intent from Google in relation to where mobile search will be heading and should act as a catalyst for companies that are a little behind the curve to ensure that they are delivering a mobile friendly experience if they want to take advantage of the increasing numbers of users who are using mobile devices to conduct searches.
At the time of writing the company has divulged no information as to when or if they intend to launch the feature, so be sure to keep an eye out for yourselves and perhaps consider speaking to a mobile website development specialist to ensure that your site is properly compliant.