How does Google prioritise mobile responsive websites ?

03 March 2015

Though the Queen's official birthday celebration is held on a Saturday in June, her actual birthday is 21st April.


But the other event occurring on that date this year that will have a worldwide impact will be the significant shift in website ranking results with Google effectively prioritising mobile-friendly websites.


Google is going to turn things upside down on 21st April.

This means that website rankings are really going to be turned upside down, and every web admin will be checking to see the results and rankings of their clients and the competition.

Then the "playing field" will be two-tier, starting with mobile-friendly designed websites as a priority.

Google has been pushing us in this direction for a while now. 


Desktop (Non-Mobile Friendly ) website rankings penalised on mobile searches.

Examining the detail of the recent Google advice to web admins below, the key aspect that needs to be highlighted is that the rankings that will be affected are those done by mobile devices.


"Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and significantly impact our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices."


If your website is mobile-friendly, it's a WIN-WIN:

a) They get a better ranking 

b) They already have access to a bigger audience.

Virtually everybody has a smartphone as a constant companion, not so the less portable tablet or laptop. So to a  certain extent, it's a numbers game. Compare the experience of someone ordering a product or service and inputting details on a mobile responsive website vs. a desktop website with lots of horizontal scrolling and resizing. 


Other factors that need to be considered:


  • How high is your website's "bounce rate," and why? A website's bounce rate " is the percentage of visitors who arrive on a page on a website and leave without clicking into any other pages.


  •  What is the current % of traffic to your website that is from a mobile device?


  • What is the spend per customer transaction or value of inquiry?


The mobile audience is growing (see some stats here). We experience rates of between 12% and 50% depending on the nature of the website, and the marketing spend behind it; search engine optimisation, inbound marketing, referral, or pay per click.

The trend is in an upward direction. 



So whereas currently people will do searches on their mobile devices and generate a list of websites ranked to their enquiry which will be broadly similar (subject to device settings) to what they would get on a desktop, from April 21st, the search results will be significantly different. 

One might conclude that the impact will be minimal, but for a few key facts.


1. Mobile usage (Tablet and Mobile phone combined ) overtook Desktop usage at the beginning of 2014.



2. According to statistics from the IDG Global Mobile Survey 2014 (that put an entirely different slant on the relevance of mobile usage), much of the searching is done on the mobile device, and actual purchasing is done on a laptop or desktop.


B2B Decision-Makers Rely on Mobile Devices

Mobile is preferred over the PC for executives researching during and after office hours.


  • 92 percent of executives own a smartphone used for business.
  • 77 percent of executives use their smartphones to research a product or service for their business.
  • 93 percent of executives will purchase that product via the Internet using a laptop or desktop.
  • 86 percent use their tablet, and 72 percent of executives use their smartphone to research products or services for their business.



Day parts: How do you access the internet daily?



Getting to work: Are you on your smartphone? 

At work: Are you office-bound or out and about? What is your primary device?

The Evening trip home: Are you browsing on a tablet or smartphone?

At home: Are you parked on the sofa with a laptop?  


How do you access the internet during the weekend?



Taking a pragmatic approach, those websites that are already mobile or in the process of converting can expect to see positives. It could be a bit of an awakening for those who are not and more pertinently rely on their internet presence to generate income or inquiries.


To see if your website is mobile-friendly, go here.



The Queen celebrates her birthday officially in June for no other reason than the likelihood of good weather for her birthday events. By the way, the parade known as "Trooping the Colour" has marked the sovereigns birthday since 1748, though it dates back to before the 18th century when the colours (flags) of the battalion were carried (or 'trooped') down the ranks so that they could be seen and recognised by the soldiers. 

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