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2015: the year of mobile SEO – Search descriptions to state if you’re blocking Googlebot

Written by Kane | 04-Feb-2015 12:53:00

With mobile search volumes set to overtake desktop searches in 2015, Google has already acted by stating that mobile search snippets will show the user which sites are blocking their crawlers, and which sites are not. This will be made clear by Google displaying an automated meta description, as shown in the highlighted example below:

 

This could act as a hindrance to the mobile experience of the user, especially for people on the move who are expecting access to information, whether that be for local or national search; with the former feeling the effects more.

The message within the Google automated description reads: “A description for this result is not available because of this site’s robots.txt – learn more.” The learn more link will provide users with answers of how the site is currently blocking JavaScript, CSS, or image /wp-content/uploads/files from Googlebot, and therefore not enabling Google to provide, or pull, a satisfactory description of the site.

This is another hint by Google that businesses that have mobile-friendly sites will be rewarded with higher SERP listings as Google refine their mobile algorithm. Due to the demand for mobile-friendly pages that are both user-friendly and easy to navigate, this could be further indication that Google uses mobile as a ranking signal along with page speed and site responsiveness; two other ranking factors which have been announced as having a definitive impact on rankings.

 

As mentioned in our SEO predictions for 2015, Mobile SEO should be a priority for businesses this coming year, especially with the introduction of mobile usability reports in Webmaster Tools. 

Whether the desktop version of your site enables Googlebot to fully crawl it or not, the mobile search results will act as a separate entity and will still provide the user with this automated message – meaning the well thought out meta description for your desktop version will be irrelevant in mobile or tablet form. 

So make sure you’re not blocking Googlebot access to critical /wp-content/uploads/files within your robots.txt /wp-content/uploads/file such as JavaScript, image /wp-content/uploads/files or CSS, as this will ultimately have a negative impact on smartphone and tablet click-through rate.

This is another gentle reminder for 2015 that you can no longer avoid the requirement of mobile usability, particularly if you have an important local market. Check out how your site looks and responds in mobile search by using Responsinator

If you’re having any challenges with mobile SEO and wish to become mobile and SEO friendly, please get in touch