Do Mobile Friendly Websites Affect Search Rankings?

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By Ryan Hill

Digital marketing experts have long debated that search engines like Google give your website a boost in ranks if you host a mobile friendly version. In fact, we know that if your site provides a negative user experience, search engines penalize your ranks. Is it safe to say that mobile sites will receive the opposite treatment? Recent mobile searches are starting to show that this may be the case and Google has confirmed that they are testing different search results that affect the ranks of mobile friendly websites. At MyAdvice, we know that there are many factors that yield different search results, but that’s a topic all its own.

As an example highlighting the benefit of developing a mobile friendly website, here are two side-by-side screenshots of the same search (Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon) in incognito mode. On the left, a mobile search and on the right, a desktop search. Both keyword searches were exactly the same but yielded different results.

Google Mobile Friendly and Desktop Search

Notice how the mobile results indicate that this website is actually a mobile friendly site. Since Google has released these results, our Digital Marketing team has seen an increase in organic traffic indicating that Google is starting to reward websites that are available on mobile platforms.

Another indication is that Google Webmaster Tools now has a “Mobile Usability” tool that indicates the mobile functionality of your website. Check out the screenshot below.

Webmaster Tools Mobile usability

Whether your business has a mobile responsive or a separate mobile URL for your website, Google, at this point, seems to prefer mobile responsive sites as they consist of a single URL that carries all the content from your original website.

Is it safe to say that mobile friendly websites are a ranking factor? On mobile, most definitely.

On desktop, it’s trending that way.

Whatever the outcome, I have noticed myself clicking on sites that are indicated to be mobile friendly simply because they are easier to navigate on a cell phone or tablet. If you have been debating whether or not to convert your website to a mobile friendly version, wait no longer as more and more consumers are searching for your services with their mobile devices.

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