Google Testing Smartphone Optimized Icons In Mobile Results

Bryson Meunier spotted new mobile icons in his mobile search experience on Google.

He was searching Google on his Galaxy Nexus running Jelly Bean and noticed a new smartphone icon labeled on some of the search results. The icon symbolizes if the web site you are about to click on is smartphone-optimized or not.

Google told us this is a test they are experimenting with to try to “optimize the mobile search experience.” A Google spokesperson said:

We’re experimenting with ways to optimize the mobile search experience, including helping users identify smartphone-optimized sites. We don’t have any more details to share at the moment, but thank you for checking in.

Here is an image captured by Bryson of the new smartphone-optimized icon:

If you are able to reproduce this on your device, please do share with us a better looking and more detailed image of this Google mobile experiment.

Update: Here is a clearer screen shot of the smartphone optimized icon via kagua.biz:

Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Mobile | Top News

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About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • http://www.rimmkaufman.com/ George Michie

    Interesting, Barry.  We know from experience that any of these special icons tends to induce higher click-through-rate, whether people know what it means or not.  If CTR is a signal for rankings (and it has to be) then this could have real repercussions for mobile SEO.

  • http://www.dennisaltermann.com.br/ Dennis Altermann

    I think they was already testing that some time ago, but isn’t fully working because I already saw some sites without that icon and they were mobile friendly. 

    Probably in the future we will know how they check that and if there is something that you can make to get this icon :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/MarkWelchMktg Mark Welch

    But does it use the term “optimized” to just mean “has a separate user interface”? So many sites FORCE users to a mobile version of their site that’s less functional and some news sites (CBS, for example) redirect article-specific site links to the mobile HOME PAGE for mobile users.

  • http://www.rustybrick.com/barry Barry Schwartz

    Not specifically smartphone-optimized. They did have feature phone version icons.

  • http://www.rustybrick.com/barry Barry Schwartz

    Mark for that, see http://searchengineland.com/google-finally-takes-a-clear-stance-on-mobile-seo-practices-123543

  • Roni Hiayev

    I agree with Mark. some sites are better seen on a mobile device in the original content layout.

  • http://twitter.com/ToppleTrack ToppleTrack

    I saw this on my site(s) as early as August 2nd… CTR up about 3% on mobile since recognizing. Gracias Google!

  • http://www.mariaramanova.com/ Igor Yusufov

    Looking cool

  • http://twitter.com/JeanmarcThomas jean marc thomas

    So when you say “smartphone-optimized”, it is based upon Google’s criteria. Does it mean that those sites are build up on Responsive Web Designs, since it is what they suggest as best practice here (https://developers.google.com/webmasters/smartphone-sites/)?

  • http://www.rustybrick.com/barry Barry Schwartz

    I doubt it means specifically responsive design, just optimized for smartphones.  You can do that many ways,  responsive is the “recommended” Google way but Google supports a few methods.

  • http://www.giuseppelanzetta.com/ Giuseppe Lanzetta

    I own both responsive and mobile optimized websites, so I actually have the smartphone icon on optimized website and noting near the responsive one…

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