On Monday, April 27th, Steve Morgan of SEOno reported that some rich snippet markup was displacing Google’s ‘mobile-friendly’ tag in Google mobile search results pages. While testing search results for a website, he noticed that the top result was not displaying the ‘mobile-friendly’ tag, though it was mobile friendly, and was outranking pages that were displaying the tag. Instead of the ‘mobile-friendly’ tag, the site displayed a ‘Jobs 1-25’ snippet– one which was not coded into the page itself (via schema markup, for instance).
The override wasn’t affecting the page’s ranking, so the conclusion to reach was that it was a display error, in which Google’s algorithm was choosing to display the rich snippet, as opposed to the ‘mobile-friendly’ tag. This was confirmed by Maile Ohye at Google, in a conversation with Grant Simmons.
March 26th 2015: “hi grant! thanks for the example. turns out our engineer is aware of this issue — currently the mobile-friendly badge can be trumped by a few other UI cases: pagination, “jump to” app links, and video thumbnails… fyi we may change the display and have the mobile-friendly badge override the other conditions. he’s going to look into it further.”
The snippet markup trumping the ‘mobile-friendly’ tag would not be a big issue were it not for the recent emphasis on mobile-friendliness that Google pushed through via an algorithm update last week. This presents webmasters with a problem: as the browsing public becomes more and more aware of the significance of the ‘mobile-friendly’ tag, click-thru rate for sites not displaying the tag will drop. So it may be in the best interest of the webmasters to remove the page features that are causing it.
On the other hand, the rich snippet information serves to inform people of the content on the page, making it more attractive to users. Something to keep in mind, and perhaps test if possible, before yanking out the offending snippet info.