Non Mobile Friendly Sites to be Removed from the index

Non Mobile Friendly Sites

I have been saying for a while that non mobile friendly sites should not be showing when I do a Google search from my phone.

This just makes sense, if you know something does not display or work properly on a mobile why make it available as an option to those using these devices? All it does it make for a poor user experience, it makes you think the site you are on does not want your business and it makes me think that Google do not care enough about my user experience to filter out the non-responsive sites.

Half of Visitors via Mobile

It is no surprise that more and more of the people visiting websites are using mobile devices, whether it is tablet or phone the percentages have grown year on year and now for most of our clients the mobile traffic is around the 40 – 50% mark although we do work for a client who has seen their mobile traffic grow to an impressive 70%.

Google recognises that the growth in mobile search is a big deal and to encourage these users to continue to use Google as the search tool of choice they are working hard to clean up the results we are seeing in mobile search.

What Are Google Doing?

There has been a penalty for sites that are not mobile friendly for the past 18 months, it seems to me that as part of their push to improve the user experience of visitors they are likely to stop displaying non-mobile friendly websites in the mobile search results.

In the past they have given us access to the mobile testing tool so that we can see what errors are caused when mobile users attempt to visit our sites and they even brought in mobile friendly labels so we could see if our sites have passed or failed the mobile usability tests.

What is Coming?

I believe that the letters Google are now sending to web masters, both via email and the WMT accounts are the latest warnings that something big in mobile search is coming.

It reminds me of the warnings webmasters received before the Google penguin penalty came into effect, there were plenty of warnings and talk about unnatural links being targeted by Google and then the hammer fell and sites that had not headed the warnings were penalised.

What Does it Mean?

I believe something similar is about to happen in the mobile search results, we have had our warnings and Google has given us the tools to correct the errors.

I would not be surprised if a large well known site suddenly found themselves excluded from the mobile search results. Then the next step is to stop showing results for all the sites that are not responsive and that have errors when viewed on mobile devices.

What To Do

We have been advising our clients for months that this change was coming and that they need to make their sites responsive, and I am very pleased to say that the vast majority have taken our advice and should not see any negative effect from these Google changes.

If you do not wish to see your site traffic drop dramatically you need to ensure your website is responsive and error free when using a mobile.

Go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/ to check for yourself and contact your web design agency to discuss your options.

 

UPDATE –

Google has announced that on 21st April 2015 there will be a significant change to the way Google treats sites in mobile search.

This is from http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html

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.

To get help with making a mobile-friendly site, check out our guide to mobile-friendly sites. If you’re a webmaster, you can get ready for this change by using the following tools to see how Googlebot views your pages:

If you want to test a few pages, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test.
If you have a site, you can use your Webmaster Tools account to get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report