Important Ranking Factors for Mobile Sites

When Google rolled out their mobile-friendly update earlier this year, many folks were concerned about the effect it would have on their site. After the dust cleared, Graham Charlton shared some data from searchmetric’s mobile ranking factors study in an article for Search Engine Watch.

Charlton posits that although the algorithm update was not the “mobilegeddon” many feared, it did make an impact; he cites findings from searchmetric’s study: “the percentage of mobile friendly sites in the top 30 results on Google has increased since the beginning of the year. Prior to the mobile-friendly update, 68 percent of ranking URLs were found to be mobile-friendly. This share increased to 71 percent after the update.”


Probable Important Mobile Ranking Factors from the Study

Charlton also noted that according to searchmetric’s findings, user experience is an important ranking factor for sites in general, and “perhaps even more vital for mobile sites, given smaller screen sizes and variable mobile internet signals.”  Below are some of the ranking factors found to be important according the searchmetrics study:

  • Larger font size
  • Both responsive design and dedicated mobile versions of sites (m.domain.tld or mobile.domain.tld) rank in the mobile SERPS
  • Less structural and interactive elements; unordered lists used more often, but with less bullets than in desktop
  • Fewer ads
  • Fewer internal links
  • Fewer images than desktop

Charlton also notes that speed appears to be an important factor, whereas backlinks may be less so.


Read Charlton’s article, “Which Ranking Factors are Important for Mobile Sites?”