In the last week, Google has been sending out emails to sites which are not currently mobile-friendly, warning webmasters that their content will not rank highly for smartphone users. The email notifications, which have been sent out on a mass scale via Webmaster Tools, explain to owners that their website’s pages have been tested and contain critical mobile usability errors which will “severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website.” Google states that these pages will not be understood as mobile-friendly by its search engine and will therefore be “displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.”
Although similar messages have been sent to mobile websites with design issues before, this is the first time Google has contacted sites with no mobile design at all to warn them of the ranking repercussions.
Most agree that this is an obvious sign that the company is getting ready to launch a major new mobile ranking algorithm, especially taken in light of a string of new mobile-usability related tools launched towards the end of last year (Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool, mobile usability reports and mobile-friendly labels.)
The news is another urgent reminder to any of you who have still not made your content accessible to a mobile audience that it should be your number one priority – either by creating a mobile version of your resort’s website or by implementing responsive design which will perform optimally across all devices.
Did you receive an email notification from Google? Do you have anything else to add? Let us know in the comments below!
This seems to go beyond the broken mobile site penalty Google had in 2013. It also seems to go beyond having problems with your mobile-friendly site – where it is targeting this communication to sites that are knowingly not mobile-friendly.
Typically, these are all signs of something big to come on the algorithm side. But we have not been able to get a confirmation from Google on this as of yet.