Google is stepping up its efforts to help mobile device users steer clear from websites that are poorly optimized for smartphones and tablets.

When running a search and presented with several websites that offer the same information, users can now use Google's new labels to find one that's friendly to a mobile device. The phrase "mobile friendly" will appear under the web address of sites that have optimized pages for mobile devices.

"We see these labels as a first step in helping mobile users to have a better mobile web experience," says a representative from Google's Mobile Search team. "We are also experimenting with using the mobile-friendly criteria as a ranking signal."

Google has established some criteria for what constitutes a mobile-friendly website, helping the search engine distance itself from a practice that has already been called into question by websites.

A mobile friendly website avoids implementing software that isn't commonly used on mobile devices, its text doesn't require zooming, text conforms to the user's screen to prevent horizontal scrolling and links have enough spacing that individuals can exact taps via fingers.

The rollout of the mobile-friendly tags will take place over the next few weeks. For developers wanting to know if their sites do enough to cater to mobile devices, they can vet webpages using Google's Mobile Friendly Test.

Google also points webmasters to its mobile guide and mobile usability report. For individuals running websites that use third-party tools, Google has drafted a how-to guide to help them roll out the red carpet to smartphones and tablets.

A federal judge recently ruled Google was well within it First Amendment rights in sorting search engine results anyway it pleases.

The judge's ruling came after CoastNews filed a lawsuit, alleging its website was drowned in Google's rankings. The company claimed Google was burying the website to stifle competition.

To quickly find relief from the burden of the lawsuit, Google filed a anti-SLAPP, strategic lawsuit against public participation, and the federal judge ruled the plaintiff lacked the necessary evidence to keep the proceedings alive.

"Defendant has met its burden of showing that the claims asserted against it arise from constitutionally protected activity, thereby shifting the burden to the Plaintiff to demonstrate a probability of prevailing on the merits of the Complaint," stated the judge's ruling (PDF).

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