Last Chance for Desktop-or-Die Crowd: Google Cranks Up Search Benefit to Mobile-Friendly Pages

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The Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.
The Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Credit: Michael Short/Bloomberg

Brands and publishers that still haven't gotten around to building a responsive site might want to tweak their development roadmap, uh, yesterday. That's when Google said that it would soon dial up the boost that mobile-friendly sites get in its search results:

Last year, we started using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal on mobile searches. Today we're announcing that beginning in May, we'll start rolling out an update to mobile search results that increases the effect of the ranking signal to help our users find even more pages that are relevant and mobile-friendly.

Last year's introduction of the mobile-friendly signal didn't seem to upend search results, perhaps because many of the biggest sites had gone ahead and done the necessary work, as Search Engine Watch pointed out. But obviously the search giant has concluded that there are still too many pages it just can't recommend for a small screen. Google cares desperately about making the mobile web a good experience partly because that's where it can sell search ads -- as opposed to the far more frequently used app ecosystem.

Google tried to assure everyone that even rigid, designed-for-desktop sites can still win out, because all the company wants is to connect searchers with the best content:

And remember, the intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank well if it has great, relevant content.

It's almost a dare: Can you make your mobile-hostile site so good that Google won't bury it on page three of the results? Let us know if you pull that off.

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