Starting April 21, 2015, Google is penalizing any website from appearing in its search results if the website is not mobile responsive. This means if your website has small text, links too close together, or other elements that prevents Googlebot from reading it on a smartphone or other mobile device, you’re in trouble.
Andrew May explains the rationale in a longer post about the importance of mobile web design — but the takeaway is you need to run your website through Google’s free tool to determine if you are mobile friendly.
I live in northeast Massachusetts and I ran seven city websites through that tool.
Of the seven cities, only Gloucester and Newburyport passed the test for mobile responsiveness. But they have horrible mobile layouts that I’d rather pause my search until I’m in front of a large desktop computer. The other five city websites failed the test and will potentially be removed, if not demoted, from Google’s database unless they are edited quickly.
In terms of U.S. states, my home of Massachusetts is no better than the above. It passes the mobile-friendly test but, compared to North Carolina and Utah, it needs a lot of work to improve readability.