Check Your Site’s Mobile-friendliness – It Could Affect Your Rankings

PushON | November 21st 2014

Google recently announced updates to the search engine results page to incorporate a new mobile-friendly label alongside search results. The growth in mobile usage by consumers has been rapid, but the adoption of mobile-friendly websites by businesses has been slow. The mobile-friendly label is aimed at encouraging businesses to focus on user experience and provide mobile-friendly websites through both the label and experimentation with the integration of this as an organic ranking signal.

We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience. We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal.

Google Webmaster Central Blog

How to check if your website is mobile-friendly

Google has provided a handy tool which allows you to check if your website has been classified as mobile-friendly, and provides suggestions on how you can ensure your website passes its criteria.

Mobile-Friendly Test Tool

Some examples

Sports Direct

First, here’s one that is mobile-friendly. See the “Mobile-friendly” notice before the meta description:

Well done, Sports Direct! You’re mobile-friendly.

Marks & Spencer

Now, let’s take a look at our favourite website …










As you can see there is no mobile-friendly label.

Running through the mobile-friendly tool returns:

Marks & Spencer has chosen to utilise a dedicated mobile website (rather than responsive design), and as such has had to disallow indexation of its mobile site through its robots.txt file in order to prevent duplicate content issues.

# Usablenet Mobile robots.txt
User-agent: *
Disallow: /


  • Google’s application of the mobile-friendly label respects the robots.txt file.
  • It is important that your CSS and JavaScript files are indexable (not blocked via robots.txt) to ensure that your responsive website appears as expected via the tool.


How does County Dublin’s favourite budget airline fare?

As you can see from the screenshot below, Ryanair has implemented a splash screen for mobile users to promote its mobile app.

Unfortunately this fails in the Google mobile-friendly test:


  • Google renders the page and performs an analysis.
  • Ensure your mobile site is the primary view for mobile users.
  • Consider using a delayed overlay/lightbox to display promotions if absolutely necessary.

“We’ve all been rattling on to our clients about ‘the year of the mobile’ and it seems like this has lasted for about the last half-decade! But now it looks like Google is fed up with waiting for everyone to get into gear and get their mobile or responsive sites sorted and giving them a friendly little push in the right direction … well maybe not so friendly, as this new development, while offering advice on how to improve the mobile offering, seems to be a punitive measure of sorts against anyone who doesn’t take heed and is not mobile friendly.

Why? Well, because all sites that are mobile friendly are going to be flagged as such with a “Mobile Friendly” label in the SERPs (and rightly so) then it stands to reason that those who don’t will start to fall behind in the race to gain clicks. So with the meteoric rise of searches on mobiles, brands risk throwing away huge swathes of valuable traffic if this is not addressed.”

Andy Darnell, Paid Search Manager

Mobile has been an increasingly important factor in online marketing for a number of years now, so this isn’t a new concept. With the range of screen sizes in phones and tablets that are available now, it is important to consider how your site will respond in each of these scenarios, make it as easy as possible for visitors to find what they are looking for and ultimately make a purchase. Many customers will also use mobiles in-store so consider local optimisation to help speed up the purchasing process.

Nikki Stasyszyn, Online Marketing Team Leader