Is Mobile-Friendliness A Ranking Factor?

Is mobile that important to searches?  Does it matter that your site is mobile friendly?  Well, at one time mobile searches were inconceivable in the desktop era.  Mobile devices now account for 60% of internet usage worldwide.  At one point it did not matter to Google that your site was mobile friendly it was a nice feature to have but was not necessary.  With the growth of smartphones and tablets it forced Google to reconsider mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor.

The Claim

Many SEO experts say that websites that fit mobile screens benefit from a ranking boost over sites only optimized for desktops.  This claim comes from a larger percentage of searches conducted on mobile devices and the understanding that Google aims to serve pages with the best user experience.  With most users searching on mobile, the best user experience can be assured by providing results that work best on both desktop and mobile.  Now a days it is uncommon to conduct a mobile search and land on a page that is not optimized for smartphones.  Is that because mobile friendliness is a ranking factor?

The Evidence

Understandable, users get annoyed when they find a site that is not easy to navigate.  Google had an issue on their hand as they could not force webmasters to make their site compatible with all devices.  Instead Google decided to reward domains that implemented a mobile-friendly design on their own.  Google designed a mobile-friendly update to impact mobile search results.  Now, mobile first indexing is the standard.  Meaning algorithms now use the mobile-rendered version of a page instead of the desktop version.

Despite Google constant reminder that mobile -friendliness is a ranking factor over the years, they remind us that user intent is a stronger signal.  With that said, a page that is not optimized for mobile can still rank in a mobile search if it is the best match for what the user is looking for.

The Verdict

Mobile-friendliness is a confirmed Google ranking factor.  An example is if a website offers less content on the mobile version than on desktop, then Google will have less content to use for rankings.  Having a responsive mobile design is a core component of a good user experience. Google made this clear in 2020 with their page experience algorithm update.  As the name suggests it rewards content that visitors can easily interact with.  Businesses with outdated website designs should strongly consider upgrading to remain competitive in Google.

Contact Boston Web Marketing

If you are looking for additional information on the latest changes to digital marketing look no further.  Our experts at Boston Web Marketing stay up to date on all the latest news and discoveries.  Get in touch with our team by calling (857)526-0096 or email us at  We can’t wait to speak with you!

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