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Google is warning webmasters to fix mobile un-friendly websites.

The author

Drew Brigham

Technical Director

Brands that have invested in mobile and responsive websites are likely to reap dividends in search results if this week's warnings from Google are to be believed.

Google has emailed a warning to webmasters whose sites have issues on mobile devices. The message, which launched through Webmaster Tools, highlights the percentage of pages that have "critical usability errors".

The warning states that "these pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users". Put simply, Google is warning that non-mobile friendly sites will rank lower for mobile users. With mobile traffic on the rise across every sector, this will have a direct impact on traffic and sales and it’s important for brands to audit their mobile performance accordingly.

Google has already announced experiments with mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal and this update could serve as a warning before the launch of a new mobile algorithm that favours mobile-optimised sites in its search results.

IMRG and Capgemini recently found that 37% of online sales this Christmas came via smartphones and tablet devices, a 55% increase from the previous year.

These warnings are not to be taken lightly. This is another example of Google rewarding brands who are investing in their user experience and who are geared up for the multi-screen and multi device world. We're likely to see an increase of algorithmic changes from Google to reward sites that work natively across a multitude of devices - from PC, to tablet, to smartphone - and potentially penalise those that don't. We recommend checking your site using tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to identify any issues that will negatively affect mobile rankings.