Google Ranks Websites Based on Mobile-Friendliness

June 7, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. prioritize / praɪˈorəˌtaɪz / (v.) – to put or do the most important thing before the less important ones
Example: The company will prioritize experienced applicants during the hiring.

2. tablet computer / ˈtæb lɪt kəmˈpyu tər / (n.) – a very thin, portable computer that is battery-powered and has a touch-screen feature
Example: One of the most famous tablet computers is Apple’s iPad.

3. optimize / ˈɒp təˌmaɪz / (v.) – to make something as effective or useful as possible
Example: Shopping websites should be optimized for all types of mobile phones.

4. spokesperson / ˈspoʊksˌpɜr sən / (n.) – someone who speaks for a group or for someone else
Example: The spokesperson of the company refused to give his comment.

5. modification / ˌmɒd ə fɪˈkeɪ ʃən / (n.) – the act of changing something
Example: The website’s homepage has gone through a lot of modifications.


Read the text below.
Google has started prioritizing websites that smartphones and tablet computers can easily read in April this year.

This means that in Google’s search engine, websites that are not mobile-friendly will be placed at the bottom of the results. Mobile-friendly websites, on the other hand, will be put at the top of the search results.  A spokesperson from Google explained that this change is done because more and more people use their smartphones to access the Internet.

To test if the websites are optimized for mobile devices, Google released the Mobile-Friendly Test tool. A website will pass the test if its text is readable even without zooming, if its links are far enough from each other, and if its content fits a mobile screen without the need to scroll horizontally.

If the test finds a website not mobile-friendly, Google will provide certain guidelines. These guidelines give information on how to create a mobile-friendly website, what factors should be considered when creating one, and other significant details.

This modification in Google’s search engine results affects many well-known websites. These websites include those owned by the European Union, the BBC, and Wikipedia. Some websites of famous brands like Dyson [DAY-suh n], the Windows Phone website, American Apparel, and Versace [ver-SAT-che] also did not pass the Mobile-Friendly Test.

Websites of famous restaurants in the United States, such as those of California Pizza Kitchen and Coco’s, also failed the test. Ryanair, a European airline, was also found to have a website not suitable for mobile devices.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with Google’s decision to prioritize websites optimized for smartphones? Why or why not?
·         How do you think this will affect the visibility of websites in Google’s search results?

Discussion B

·         What other changes do you think Google should do to its services?
·         If you could create a set of criteria for prioritizing websites, what would it be? Why?

June 7, 2015