Is Mobile User Experience Soon to be a Ranking Factor in Google…

It has been widely reported in the past that Google prefers to rank websites that show well on a mobile device in their mobile SERP’s and you can understand the reasoning for this. Google is obviously about user experience and having a website that you have to scroll like a mad man to see everything on the page is only going to alienate users. We initially saw this mentioned on SEL and with Google’s announcement that they render websites using both Javascript and CSS, this allows them to see the website exactly how a user will view it, allowing for better visibility of a websites UX capabilities (Google Webmasters). I do want to note that I believe that this will be a ranking factor in the Mobile SERP’s and not directly related to the desktop SERP’s, although there maybe some cross pollination with Google possibly rankings sites that perform on all platforms and devices better.

Mobile Friendly Warnings

We have also seen the testing of mobile friendly icons and text across some mobile SERP, now after testing this (vigorously) this is happing on a sporadic basis with mobile icons being shown on one instance of a SERP and not in another. I have shown both the icon and text variations below;

Mobile Friendly

IMG_4834

 

 

Non Mobile Friendly
Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.33.53

 

Mobile Friendly Text
Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 12.34.03

 

Now as mentioned these are in their early days of testing which is why we are seeing these very sporadically, this is shown further by the old location of the icons;

We expect this to be used more and more going forward, how much the non-mobile friendly icon will put off people clicking on the website on a mobile we are unsure, what do you think?

New Webmaster Tools Feature

Google have today announced new features within their Webmaster Tools, with the introduction of a mobile usability section. This can be found either by clicking here or by navigating in webmaster tools to Search Traffic > Mobile Usability

mobileusa

 

A couple of interesting items;

Viewport tags are something that we knew about and something that is easy for Google to check

Flash Usage is again nothing new and something that I feel will continue to be phased out.

“Touch Elements too Close” / “Small font size” / “Content not sized to viewport” – These are the interesting elements and will link in with the introduction of rendering pages using Javascript and CSS, you need to ensure that your website looks right on all devices not just PC/Laptop. There are 100’s of tools out there that will allow you to check how your website looks on a mobile, or just grab your phone…. you know the one that is glued to your hand.

You can check these elements in more detail and see what elements are causing issues on the Google Page Speed Insights, Try it out now!

It defiantly looks like Google is gearing up to start rankings websites based on their usability on mobile devices. What do you think??