June 2, 2020

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June 01, 2020

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Mobilegeddon: Recent Change to Search Algorithm Boosts Mobile-Friendly Web Pages

In a recent update that has been called “Mobilegeddon,” Google, Inc. began rolling out changes to the page rank algorithm used by its popular search engine that boost the page rankings of mobile-friendly web pages. As a result of these changes, users of Google’s search engine on mobile devices will see pages ranked higher in search results based in part on whether the websites are optimized for mobile devices.

The new page-ranking algorithm now considers mobile-friendliness by using a “mobile-friendly” label as a ranking signal. A web page is eligible for the “mobile-friendly” label if it meets the following criteria, as detected by the search engine in real time:

  • Avoids the use of “mobile-unfriendly” software such as Flash and other unplayable content

  • Spaces links far enough apart so the correct link can easily be selected

  • Uses font sizes that are readable by mobile device users without zooming

  • Automatically sizes content to mobile device screens so that visitors do not have to horizontally scroll or zoom

Because this update applies to mobile devices only, traffic to websites from tablet and desktop users should be unaffected. However, Google projects that mobile searches will soon exceed searches from personal computers. To the extent websites receive significant traffic from Google’s mobile search—and if other search engines follow suit with similar changes—site operators may see traffic increase or decrease, depending upon whether their pages meet the “mobile-friendly” criteria.

You can enter a URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page to determine if your website qualifies for the “mobile-friendly” label and learn more about mobile design optimization by clicking here.

Copyright © 2020 by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. All Rights Reserved.


About this Author

Peter Watt-Morse, Morgan Lewis, Intellectual property lawyer

Peter M. Watt-Morse, one of the founding partners of the firm’s Pittsburgh office, has worked on all forms of commercial and technology transactions for more than 30 years. Peter works on business and intellectual property (IP) matters for a broad range of clients, including software, hardware, networking, and other technology clients, pharmaceutical companies, healthcare providers and payors, and other clients in the life science industry. He also represents banks, investment advisers, and other financial services institutions.

Glen Rectenwald, Morgan Lewis, Technology Attorney

Glen W. Rectenwald focuses his practice on technology, outsourcing, and commercial transactions. He regularly assists a broad range of clients with development, licensing, and distribution agreements; strategic alliances and joint ventures; manufacturing and supply agreements; complex outsourcing and strategic commercial transactions; and general commercial matters. Glen’s experience also includes mergers and acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, and general corporate matters.