Google recently announced that they will be using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in driving search results to users, beginning this April.
In the announcement, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog stated:
“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.”
That means mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive sites will earn better positioning in Google’s mobile search engine results, and sites that are not optimized for mobile will see less mobile, organic traffic.
This all makes sense. More and more people access the web on mobile devices, and it’s Google’s job to return to you what is user-friendly and relevant, or you won’t come back. The problem is, this will impact small local business owners the most, as many don’t have marketing departments or budgets to create responsive web sites, yet many of their customers rely on Google search to find local services. Google does aim to provide many robust resources to help developers prepare and optimize websites. You can even test if a site is mobile ready according to Google.
Google has been recommending responsive web design for years now, but this is the first time they have officially announced that it will have an impact on search as a result.