Google adds pressure to make websites mobile friendly

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Google adds 'may not work' note

Google now shows its users a message within search results when a site may not work on their device.

On its blog, the search engine has said the reason for the change is to promote modern websites for modern devices in Google search results.

The Google software engineer Keita Oda, and the Google analyst Pierre Far said:

"A common annoyance for web users is when websites require browser technologies that are not supported by their device. When users access such pages, they may see nothing but a blank space or miss out a large portion of the page's contents.

"Starting today, we will indicate to searchers when our algorithms detect pages that may not work on their devices."

A number of issues could result in the appearance of the message, which in the example appears in place of a meta description, the text underneath a link title in search results.

Google says one instance in which the message shows is when a website uses Flash but the user is browsing on a device which does not support it. This would include all Apple IOS devices and devices on Android 4.1 or higher.

Untangling the web?

Google has encouraged webmasters to develop "websites that will work on all types of devices, regardless of the type of content they wish to serve".

This comes after Google removed author photos from search results last month, when it said:

"We've been doing lots of work to clean up the visual design of our search results, in particular creating a better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices."

Adrian Mursec, head of development at theEword said: "Google is obviously very protective about its search results and wants to provide the best experience for users. It looks like here they are using their weight to put the pressure on sites which might be out of date or sub-optimised.

"We can imagine that a warning message is likely to put users off the link, or we can imagine how such a message would affect a click through rate. Either way, to get the best results it's important to make sure your site will meet the requirements, or that it will surpass them."