In a post on the official Google Webmaster blog yesterday, Google announced that as of the end of April, (the 21st in fact), the mobile friendliness of sites will be a ranking factor for websites in mobile search.

According to the post, the change will affect mobile search results world wide and in all languages, in order to provide more relevant, quality search results optimised for a user’s devices.

Mobile Friendliness & Search

In November last year, Google started applying a mobile friendly label in mobile search results, letting users know whether a site that showed up in their mobile search results was mobile friendly or not.

Now, mobile friendly sites will rank higher in search, making it all the more important that your site is mobile compatible.

In the official announcement, Google included a link to their Mobile Friendly Test which you can use to see whether Google considers your site mobile friendly or not.

Unprecedented Mobile Growth

As time passes, it’s becoming ever more clear that the mobile environment is a critical one for online business. As more and more people become connected through their mobile devices, it is essential to take into account the behaviour of your target market and how they prefer to interact with your online presence.

These days, mobile is clearly leading the way in terms of informational (or research) searches.  People are examining products and services, comparing prices, and looking for information on their mobile devices.  At the moment, they are still transitioning to a different device (a desktop or laptop) to make the actual purchase, and although this will change as people become more confident about mobile transactions, right now it means that both your mobile presence, and your more traditional website are almost equally important.

Mobi Sites Vs Responsive Design

When it comes to delivering mobile content, there are two basic options.  There is the dedicated site, on a .mobi version of the domain, or there is the responsive site, which responds to the device being used to view it by displaying a different layout or look when a person visits on a mobile device.

Since Google has specifically stated that they prefer a site that delivers all its information on a single domain, the responsive design is widely considered the best way of catering for mobile users on your site.

Despite the apparent simplicity of this, there is quite a bit of work involved in making sure your site is fully responsive, involving things like media queries, and even entirely different style sheets specifically for mobile users.

Either way however, having a mobile friendly site is now not just a user experience issue, but officially a ranking factor, so no doubt there will be an increased demand.