How to Trick Google into Thinking You’re Mobile-Friendly

“This article gives a detailed description on everything that a person needs to know about how to trick Google into thinking that a site is mobile friendly”

Towards the close of January 2015, a large number of websites saw declines with respect to organic traffic, yet failed in tracking such changes back to the Google rankings. After all it is only when a person tracks their website’s ranking they will learn when an update in algorithm hits them. It is apparent in a sharp decline or incline in their overall rankings. Shortly thereafter organic traffic will be impacted. So how has Google managed in changing the search landscape? It is through a mobile-friendly update. Now, one is aware that this was just the beginning of bigger things thanks to Google’s official announcement made at the close of February.

mobile-friendly-test

An Update that Shook up Mobile Rankings

For those who do not track their mobile rankings or do not have much idea that desktop rankings and mobile rankings may differ, then they are not alone. In fact with specific industries viewing a major part of their traffic from mobile handsets, this will be crucial while creating a Search Engine Optimization plan for 2015. For reinforcing the significance of a mobile friendly site and user experience, Google introduced an update that is rumored in specifically looking at the mobile user experience. And as a follow-up i.e. on 26th February, Google announced an update which shook up the mobile rankings this April.

Are some websites engaging in deception?

Google with an aim to offer a pleasant mobile user experience began rewarding the mobile-friendly websites having higher visibility in the SERPs. But in this regard columnist Bryson Meunier has pointed out that there are some websites that appear to be engaging in deception. For people who regularly follow his column will understand that this article title is indeed tongue-in-cheek. He clearly stated that he is not encouraging people in recreating what he is likely to show them because this is likely to result in poor user experience. In fact his motive of bringing this in the limelight is to help Google realize the fact and fix it.

What is the issue?

The issue here is compelling, a searcher in downloading an application for accessing content and making it mobile-friendly to help it obtain a higher ranking in the mobile search results. Meunier stated that those who play guitar must have encountered such a situation in Google; majority of the results which rank high on Smart Phones do it. With the help of an example he elaborated on this. The other day he wished to play Sam Cooke’s Chain Gang on his guitar. Although this may not be a common query, yet there are over 200,000 Smartphone searches every month associated to guitar tab as per the Google Keyword Planner. Each of these will be subject to a mobile unfriendly experience he is about to describe.

An Example of a Mobile Unfriendly Experience

When a person searches for SamCooke chain gang tab on Google, the first as well as the second result follows from the site ultimate-guitar.com. These are labeled by Google as “mobile-friendly”. But when they click on their result they will be taken to a page that is not mobile-friendly. The page that appears as an app interstitial will prompt them in downloading the application to view the tab. But sadly there is no other means of seeing the tab than installing the application. In accordance to Google, technically it is mobile-friendly, no wonder it clears the test and holds the label of being “mobile-friendly”. But a searcher who tries finding what he/she is searching very well knows this is not.

Why Google is allowing this?

With this example Meunier throws light on the fact, that there has to be a clear stance on the app interstitial context. Mobile search has to have a clear and stringent guideline. There is a penalty imposed for prompting a user to download the required app but at the same time allows one to select and get through to the desired site. Also for contents not having the mobile layout options, there is again a penalty wherein searchers are sent to the mobile home page. In this regard he is clueless as to why Google is not penalizing the sites that are not allowing the users to go through the contents that are advertised in search results and instead mingling the above two options thereby compelling the searchers to opt for downloading the app.

In fact if this is the case, it is probably wise in giving it up. This applies to 911 tabs in the 4th position that tried in getting him in downloading the Ultimate Guitar application as the foremost listing followed by sending him to the Android Play Store when he clicked the x for viewing the site. In fact there are other instances too. Songsterr showed him their own application and only when he thought he went to the song he viewed in search results. In fact the finest result here came from Jelly note that was in position 3 and this too compelled him to state that he prefers bad user experience prior to visiting the mobile site. He further stated that he does not favor bad user experience but rather prefers a developer that is well-versed in making content both accessible and interesting at the same time in a way which is not exclusive for any specific platform.

The Final Verdict

Google too prefers the mobile web and has taken effective steps with the mobile-friendly update this year for incentivizing webmasters for developing for the same, so Meunier will be surprised if such form of activity will be tolerated for long. The reason why this occurs oddly is due to how mobile-friendly websites are defined by Google. At the moment if a person wishes Google in declaring their site as mobile-friendly, all they need to do is simply follow its guidelines as well as make every page readable for different mobile handsets. In fact what a page will say will have nothing in doing with it. This June, Gary Illyes confirmed that Google while ranking a page does not check the mobile content but just sees the desktop content. No wonders such situations crop up where a webmaster offers a poor mobile user experience and the page anyway gets ranked by Google. Hopefully in the coming days Google will build its mobile index or augment better than their current mobile-friendly algorithm.