Google Tests Smartphone Icon in Search Results to Identify Mobile Content

Google is testing a smartphone icon on search results that link to mobile-friendly content. SEO Bryson Meunier spotted the test over the weekend and grabbed a screenshot to demonstrate what he saw on his Galaxy Nexus running Jelly Bean:


In the URL field on the search result, a smartphone icon appears to indicate the availability of mobile content. A Google rep confirmed the experiment to Meunier, saying “We’re experimenting with ways to optimize the mobile search experience, including helping users identify smartphone-optimized sites.”

In his blog post describing the test, Meunier noted,

This is similar to Old Possum/Skip Redirect update Google announced in December, but instead of showing mobile URLs they show a smartphone icon– in a way that’s similar to what they have historically shown in feature phone results. If this becomes a permanent addition to the smartphone SERPs, it could give webmasters more incentive to mobilize their content, as searchers might click through more often to content they know is going to be usable for their device.

Google has long been pushing webmasters to optimize their content for mobile users, including the launch of the website last November. The Google Mobile Ads team is involved, of course; they wrote on the GoMo blog that 61 percent of users are unlikely to return to a website that isn’t optimized for mobile browsing.

Mobile optimized sites are a win-win for Google, as helping to improve the user experience also helps Google boost their mobile ad revenue.

Have you seen this test in the wild? Let us know in the comments!

About the author

A member of the Professional Writer's Association of Canada, Miranda has authored more than 60 e-books, 300 client projects, and thousands of articles and blog posts for clients ranging from SMBs to government agencies and Fortune 100 companies.

Miranda studied e-commerce at Athabasca University and specializes in marketing, business and educational material. She currently assists the Province of Ontario Ministries of Research & Innovation and Economic Development, Trade & Employment with their copywriting and SEO goals. She is one of a handful of Canadian consultants experienced with Ontario's new adult literacy curriculum framework and as such, is contracted by literacy agencies and publishing houses to develop new learning material.