Google will now show you which sites are mobile-friendly on its search results page

Good news – the next time you look something up on Google using your smartphone, you’ll know exactly which sites will look good on your screen, versus the sites that will force you to pinch, tap, and zoom your way into oblivion.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, Google said it was going to be adding a ‘mobile-friendly label in grey next to the descriptions of any sites that have been optimized for mobile, like so:

Google mobile friendly search result
(Image: Google).

To earn the “mobile-friendly” badge, Google says websites need to meet a few goals. Sites should avoid using software that not every device can open, like Flash, and they should use text that’s large enough and legible enough that users aren’t forced to zoom in. Content should also fit the screen neatly, without forcing users to scroll sideways to read all of it, and if you include links in your text, the links should be far enough apart that users won’t accidentally click the wrong ones with their fingers.

You may not notice the change right away, as Google’s post indicated it’d be coming in the next few weeks. But for businesses that want to get on board with this earlier, they can check whether their sites will pass the mobile-friendly bar by using Google’s mobile-friendly test. They can also check out Google’s guidelines in its Webmasters Mobile Guide, or follow this how-to guide for content management systems like WordPress.

While mobile users will probably welcome Google’s move to improve the search experience, it’s also good for marketers to make a note of this. If you want people to continue visiting your sites, making the switch to a framework like responsive web design, ensuring your site will adjust to fit multiple screen sizes automatically.

This matters not only to Google, but to users – at this point, they expect things to be mobile-optimized, and they want better experiences.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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