Google is starting to roll out a badge on its search pages for sites that are designed for iPhones and Android devices. Results from pages that will work well on your phone now have the words “Mobile-friendly” in front of the summary.
Google also casually mentions towards the end of its announcement post that mobile-friendly design is being tested as a ranking signal, striking fear into the hearts of webmasters not fluent in responsive design.
Although [company]Google [/company]says the update is rolling out over the next few weeks, I’ve already started seeing it on my Android phone:
Searches on mobile devices also now have a footer that links to this page, which explains what Google considers mobile-friendly. In particular, Google considers a page to be appropriately designed for phones and tablets when it:
Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
Uses text that is readable without zooming
Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped
This isn’t the first time that Google’s tried to make mobile-friendly sites stand out on its search pages. Earlier this year, it introduced a similar tag that warned people about faulty redirects on mobile browsers.
While it’s great that Google is proactively warning people on mobile devices about sites that will frustrate, it still has room to address my personal number one annoyance while browsing on my phone: Sites that ask you to download their app every time you visit.