Google introduces ‘mobile-friendly’ tags to guide users to sites optimised for smartphones and tablets

Google is set to kick clunky websites into the digital age with the introduction of a ‘mobile friendly’ label showing browsers which links are best optimised for smartphones and tablets.

The search giant announced the changes on Tuesday (18 November) on the Google Webmaster Central blog, and claimed that it could, in future, rank sites on how accessible they are via mobile.

Sites which avoid the use of software, such as Flash could receive the label, if they have readable text which auto-scales to fit users’ screens.

Meanwhile links would have to be placed far away enough apart for use on touchscreens.

Google said: "We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal."

Jonathan Verrall, search engine optimisation manager at Jellyfish, told The Drum: “Marketers will need to think more strategically about how users are accessing their content on mobile now. Those who have their mobile presence in order are likely to benefit from greater click through rates from Google users on mobile devices.

“However, brands that don’t offer users a mobile optimised website may experience a considerable negative impact on their referring traffic from Google. As a helping hand, Google has added a new feature to its Webmaster Tools which details what brands can do to improve their mobile offering to consumers.”

Verrall added: “From a consumer perspective, this feature will come in very handy as users will know before they click through to a site that they’ll be able to find information or make a purchase more quickly and easily.”

In October, fitting the trend, Google introduced new mobile ad formats capable of resizing to fit an array of mobile and tablet screens.

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John McCarthy

John is an entertainment marketing reporter at The Drum. He writes about the amazing marketing stories coming from the movie, TV, music and video game industries. He's also the hunt for the weirder trends in marketing and advertising.

Fuelled by tea.

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