Google: Mobile Friendly Icons Confused Searchers at the begining

Google’s John Mueller revealed in a YouTube hangout at exactly 9:20 mark into the video that when we had launched the mobile friendly icon/label in Google mobile search results, it confused searchers initially.

At start, they did not click on the results with that mobile friendly icon because they didn’t understand what it meant. It took time for them to understand.

he also said that the smartphone icon might have confused searchers and make them think that if they click it, it will call the webmaster. You can see the icon below:

John said “if Google showed you a green smart phone icon in front of a domain name, it does not mean that it will call the owner of the domain, it only means that this is most likely a search result appropriate to you.”

You can read the transcript below:

I remember when we initially launched the label for mobile friendly sites.

We tried a variety of different things from text to symbols to positive labels to negative labels and pretty much what we noticed is as soon as we made a change, people were confused and they weren’t clicking on the mobile search results, even though they are on a mobile device and it seemed like whatever we were doing was just confusing them more.

So what we noticed was that depending on what we were doing, it took a bit of time for people to understand what that actually means.

So if we showed a green smart phone, it doesn’t mean we will call the owner of the web site but rather, this is probably a search result that is relevant to you. or if we had a cross out smart phone, you can understand that this is something that is not mobile friendly, so maybe it is not so useful on your smartphone.

But these are things that if you look at the metrics immediately after the launch, you would see all kinds of crazy things. So with regards to bounce rate, or click through rate, you’ll see all of this confusion happening and it is something that takes a while to settle down. And even monitoring how long it takes to settle down, that can be useful as well.