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Mobile Friendliness and Penalties

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

Mobile friendliness

So, what happens when a webpage isn’t mobile friendly?

  • It’s not a very good experience for the user. They’re probably going to have to zoom in on their phone which isn’t great.
  • We know that mobile SEO is a ranking factor, so if you haven’t got a mobile friendly page, you’re going to do slightly worse there.
  • There’s a fair chance that the user will just bounce, and they’ll go straight back to Google and they’ll maybe go on one of your competitors that does have a mobile friendly site.

Is your website mobile friendly? Well, again Google provides a really good tool for this, and you can just add in your URL and very quickly Google will tell you if it is mobile friendly.

Mobile friendly test

This particular tool, the mobile friendly test, checks one URL at a time. If you want to check all your URLs in one go, then I’d recommend using the Google Search Console Mobile Usability feature for this. It will save you quite a lot of time and it groups up all the common problems that you have, so you can tackle them in one go.

Is your website AMP enabled?

So, AMP stands for accelerated mobile pages, and it’s kind of relatively new. It’s something that Google started testing in Google News, so a lot of publishers started to use it.

Essentially what happens is it’s optimized for mobiles, so rather than leaving Google you’re actually getting the page elements loaded a lot quicker within it, and that will really help with the user experience for mobile. So, Google will tell you whether your website is optimized for AMP.

If it isn’t, have a word with your web developer, and if you are planning on having a new web design any time soon then it’s probably a really good time to make sure that it is optimized for AMP.


When you get a search engine penalty, it will really depend how much it will affect you. It could affect you in a very minor way and almost you wouldn’t even notice, and it could affect you that you get completely taken out of Google.

We’ll talk more about penalties as we go through this module, but for now we’ll just look at the two different types.

  • Manual penalty: Google will report in Google Search Console if you have one, and hopefully you don’t have one. And that’s when someone from Google has manually reviewed your website and found something that shouldn’t be, your breaking Google’s guidelines. And that probably happens 1% or less of the time.
  • Algorithmic penalty: Most of the time it’s actually an algorithmic penalty. So, maybe someone’s told you that you need to get as many backlinks as possible, and in doing so you’ve actually got some fake backlinks that Google considers black hat SEO. Now, what would then happen is the Penguin Algorithm would automatically give you a penalty. They’re harder to detect but you can normally detect them by a rankings drop, and we’ll talk a little bit more later in the module how you can detect that further.
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Joe Williams

Managing Director and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise

  • Founder and SEO Trainer at Zen Optimise with 10 years’ experience in Search Engine Optimization
  • Zen Optimise is a London-based digital marketing training company
  • SEO consultant and trainer for hundreds of small, medium, and blue chip companies including Qantas Airlines, Sky, Eurostar, EasyCruise, and Anti-Slavery

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