Mobile-Friendly Tag Removed By Google

The “mobile-friendly” label became synonymous with “mobilegeddon” for many enterprise companies in 2014. On Tuesday, Google announced that to declutter search results it would be removing that label. The ranking signal your website gets from having a mobile-friendly format though remains unchanged.

Another change that Google has announced, is the limitation of intrusive interstitials on a mobile experience. Sites that are gaming the mobile experience to grab clicks to their advertising partners will garner the most scrutiny and rightfully so.

As a personal user, there’s nothing more frustrating than clicking a link from Facebook only to be barraged with an advertisement. It is dishonest and is likely followed by an immediate block from my Facebook timeline.

While this is a welcome change, websites will have until January 10th, 2017 to fix the following issues, or face reduced rankings within mobile searches:

  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

I have mental flashbacks in writing documentation on this specific tag and the potential headaches it could cause if a VP would see this in the search results and wonder why their website didn’t have that tag. Coming from an agency, you get conditioned to find certain words that the business could recognize; and in turn, you could use that to get projects within their queue. Mobile-friendly was one of the few words on various occasions across multiple companies that executives would recognize and understand changes were needed to comply with Google.

Another note, I thought this was supposed to publish last week, but I must have not scheduled it. Either way, the challenge continues and I’ll work on getting a second post up here by the end of the week. I’ve done a bit more work in the stuff, and want to give an update on that. So far, so good.