Google has confirmed that websites that are not mobile-friendly will not be ranked as highly in mobile searches as those that are. Over the past few months Google has been proactively notifying website owners of this fact via Webmaster tools. The key phrase they are using is:
“These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.”
This is not great news if you have a site which is not responsive, or if you don’t have a mobile-friendly version of your site. The good news is that it can be relatively painless and inexpensive to resolve this. Most fixed width sites can be made responsive (adapting for mobiles, tablets and desktops) and costs are typically from £500 upwards, depending on the complexity of the site.
It’s certainly a good idea to ensure that your site is responsive, not just for Google, but also crucially for the site user. Trying to navigate through a site designed only for desktop is a frustrating process on a smartphone, tiny little links, big clumsy fingers, not a good combination. This is of course why Google doesn’t want to display non mobile-friendly sites, they want to deliver sites that users will find helpful, not frustrating.