Are Other Rich Snippets Overriding the ‘Mobile-friendly’ Tag?

Just a quick post today based on a random discovery that I made over the weekend…

I was checking a SERP on behalf of my parents’ company (IT recruitment sector) from my phone simply because I didn’t have my laptop or tablet to hand. A search for "web developer job cardiff" showed the following:

Mobile SERP - screenshot
(Click to enlarge)

Two things struck me as odd about the first result, which is first on both mobile and desktop searches. Firstly, the top result isn’t labelled ‘Mobile-friendly’ (any SEO who’s not been living under a rock will know that this is big news at the moment), yet it’s ranking above two results that are. Secondly, having been on’s website before, I was convinced that it was mobile friendly – so I clicked (or tapped) on it, and – as a matter of fact – it is:'s mobile site screenshot
Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test even confirms this – here’s the results page for that page:

Mobile-Friendly Test results for screenshot

So… what’s going on here?

Let’s take a closer look at the SERP:

Mobile SERP - (highlighted) screenshot
Notice how the label next to’s result shows ‘Jobs 1 – 10 of 370’ instead? I have a feeling that this rich snippet is overriding the ‘Mobile-friendly’ tag for this result – i.e. that Google is choosing to show the former instead of the latter (even though both are true)… which isn’t good for (more on that below).

I thought that maybe this was a one-off error, so I found another result with the same issue. For the same keyword, the 6th result (on both mobile and desktop) is this page of Jobsite’s website.

Mobile SERP - Jobsite screenshot

…Which is Mobile-friendly, as you can see here (results in Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool) and below:

Jobsite's mobile site screenshot
Again, similar to, instead of ‘Mobile-friendly’, Google’s opting to show ‘Jobs 1 – 25 of 118’ instead.

Mobile SERP - Jobsite (highlighted) screenshot
This is probably an automated design consideration on Google’s part. Showing both ‘Mobile-friendly’ and ‘Jobs 1 – x of y’ for both results would probably make each of the results look a little ridiculous, so it’s opting to choose the latter over the former.

While it doesn’t seem to be affecting their rankings in mobile because Google does still consider them mobile-friendly (as mentioned above, they rank as strongly on mobile devices as they do on desktop), the problem here is that as searchers become more attuned to the recent changes and decide to show preference by clicking/tapping on results labelled ‘Mobile-friendly’ compared to those that are not, and Jobsite could see less of a click-through rate from searches from mobile devices even though they are mobile-friendly.

What’s worse is that the ‘Jobs 1 – x of y’ label doesn’t look like it’s been implemented purposefully (e.g. via or something similar), so it doesn’t look like there’s an easy workaround for the two sites to get Google showing preferences to the ‘Mobile-friendly’ tag instead. The results for and for Jobsite for their respective pages in the Google Developer Testing Tool (used to test and check rich snippet implementation) do not show that these have been implemented in this way from what I can see. I did wonder if it might’ve been due to pagination implementation instead (i.e. rel="next" & rel="prev"), but isn’t using it and Jobsite actually looks like they might’ve implemented it incorrectly. So it looks as though Google’s simply noticing the count on each of the pages and adding the rich snippet itself based on that. With this in mind, the only solution that I can think of for either site is to remove those counts, which could negatively affect each site’s UX. But after all, they shouldn’t have to make changes to their websites worsening the UX in order to get Google to show something else instead – surely that’s against what Google wants websites to do?

It’s still very early days for the ‘Mobile-friendly’ tag – having only launched last week – so maybe this has been something that’s been overlooked by Google’s engineers and it’ll be rectified soon. In the meantime however, unless searchers actually click onto’s and Jobsite’s results, they may think that they’re not mobile-friendly websites…

If I’m missing something (I could very well be!) or if you’ve noticed something similar with the same rich snippets or even other rich snippets then please drop a comment below or tweet me with info.

UPDATE: Read Grant’s comments below for some interesting insights straight from Google’s mouth (so to speak)…


  • Grant

    April 27, 2015 at 11:07 am Reply

    I confirmed with Maile Ohye of Google that this was happening a few weeks before the mobile update. (We were testing on mdot site)
    It’s perceived as a display bug of some sorts that they’ll be looking at to see if it needs to change.
    She and I discussed whether the lack of mobile-friendly tag would affect click through rate, and whether the over ride of mf tag was the best user experience.
    They’re open to suggestions.
    She did recommend removing the markup (as you note above) if it is seen as a challenge for CTR
    Hope that adds some insights

    • Steve

      April 27, 2015 at 12:29 pm Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Grant. Glad to see someone else confirming this and that high-ups in Google are already aware of it as well.

      It has to affect CTR – if not now then in the future when more and more searchers realise that they don’t want to click on sites without the label. So I hope that Google seriously consider making sure that the label takes precendence over other forms of rich snippets.

      Was the discussion between you and Maile public / published online anywhere? Would be good to read if so. πŸ™‚

      • Grant

        April 27, 2015 at 12:55 pm Reply

        No, wasn’t public, we’ve been on the same panel at some SMX conferences and happened to both be speaking at SES Miami.

        This was something my team were concerned about so I brought it up with MO afterwards, sent some examples, and confirmed with her that this was a known issue.

        Not a problem to post here:

        March 26th 2015:
        “hi grant! thanks for the example. turns out our engineer is aware of this issue — currently the mobile-friendly badge can be trumped by a few other UI cases: pagination, “jump to” app links, and video thumbnails… fyi we may change the display and have the mobile-friendly badge override the other conditions. he’s going to look into it further.”

        I mentioned specifically about the potential impact to CTR, and that we would be testing:

        “…as a site owner, it might be worth removing pagination markup if the ‘mobile-friendly’ label seemed to more positively impact CTR.”



        • Steve

          April 27, 2015 at 1:13 pm Reply

          Wow, so Google are actually encouraging people to remove other markup (e.g. pagination) if they want the ‘Mobile-friendly’ label to appear instead? Now that’s really interesting… Thanks for sharing, Grant. πŸ™‚

          • Grant

            April 27, 2015 at 1:27 pm

            I think it’s a stretch to say they’re encouraging.. this was for one specific issue that I highlighted for one specific site, where I was concerned with the possible / feasible / potential impact of the mobile-friendly tag being usurped.

            *And* they were still looking into the snippet behavior 3+ weeks before the launch to consider potentials internally.

            So “actually encouraging people”, no.

            Having a friendly discussion, exploring ‘what if’ scenarios between professional peers thinking through a likely issue. Sure.


          • Steve

            April 27, 2015 at 4:04 pm

            Weeell… πŸ˜‰ Google saying “it might be worth [doing x]… to more positively impact [y]” is a form of encouragement I guess – although I accept that it’d be more of a form of encouragement if it was more publicly and widely known to the SEO masses. Whatever the case, it’s all very interesting. πŸ™‚

  • Grant

    April 27, 2015 at 4:09 pm Reply

    I left out *some* of the email Steve, just because it was more directed at our particular issue than the general web populace… So *I* was encouraged πŸ™‚

    Would want to ruin my friendship with MO by misquoting her, would I?

    • Steve

      April 27, 2015 at 4:18 pm Reply

      That’s fair enough, Grant – I appreciate that. Ok, so perhaps using the word “encouraging” on my part was a step too far, especially as the original wording was “it might be worth…” and not “you absolutely, definitely should…”. But from what you’ve said, if others are in a similar situation to you then they could (perhaps not should, but could) consider taking on-board MO’s feedback for their own purposes as well, assuming that they’re also affected by this issue. But you’re right to say that MO’s feedback was directed to you and your situation.

  • Aleksandar

    April 29, 2015 at 9:42 am Reply

    I have a situation where Mobile friendly label is missing on mobile SERP but result doesn’t have any other anotation. I have pagination on site, but it doesn’t show on results and also situation is with home page, so first one paginated. And of course, Google Developer Tool say Congratulations πŸ™‚

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