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Introducing Googles “for mobile devices” label

Responsive Design ultimately becomes an important factor of search engine optimization. | Stand: Nov. 2022
reading time: 3 minutes

Weeks ago vigilant US users noticed a small icon in the shape of a mobile phone on Google SERPs. Now Google has announced a change aiming in the same direction. The new label “for mobile phones” will be introduced. It’s exactly what It says on the tin: it labels sites that are specifically optimized for mobile devices. With the introduction of this “for mobile devices” label, Responsive Design ultimately becomes an important factor of search engine optimization.

Google will implement the label globally in the next few days, so that by the beginning of 2015 the all Google users have the for mobile devices label displayed to them, as soon as they make a search request on their mobile device. Google defines as mobile devices strictly speaking only smartphones basically (iPhones and Android and Windows devices).
Tablets, multimedia phones and feature phones (pejoratively also called dumbphones instead of smartphones) are clearly not meant with this label. While there are technical reasons for the exclusion of multimedia and feature phones, the exclusion of tablets gives a cue for what Google’s intention is with this for mobile devices label, at all.

The for mobile phones label targets changed surf behavior

Google label - not mobile friendly

Google is convinced, that tablets are used the same way as desktop computers. The display of a site in the portrait format as commonly done on smartphones is not necessary for tablets and is often not even demanded by many users. Additionally, fingers just have more space on tablets to click on a link. Enough space between two links therefore also is one of the criteria Google checks when a site is given the for mobile devices label. The search engine company from California targets the better usability of sites for smartphone users with this new icon. When reminding oneself, that 2015 will go into technology history as the year in which for the first time there was more internet traffic on mobile devices than on desktop computers, Google actually only adapts to the changes surf behavior of its users with this new smartphone label.

Google also allocates “not for mobile devices” labels

Sites starting with a flash animation for instance will have difficulties soon to stay in the top of the SERPs. Flash cannot be read by smartphones. Google apparently plans to negatively label those sites in future, that frustrate smartphone users rather than helping them – with an icon, labelling the site as not suitable for mobile devices.

Google prefers sites optimised with Responsive Design

There are several options to design a site in a way enabling it to be read by smartphones without any issues. Google doesn’t specify which technical solution has to be selected, but gives a clear recommendation for Responsive Design.
For with Responsive Design the URL of the site as well as the HTM code stays the same. To put it simple, both make the Google bots’ work easier. When aiming to be on top of the Google ranking one should switch to Responsive Design as soon as possible. There is no relaunch of the site necessary for that, by the way. The nerd and his Berliner SEO agency like to help you with switching to Responsive Design, so that you’re well prepared for the new for mobile phone label by Google.

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