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Fact or Fiction: Mobile Website Testing Edition

Fact or Fiction: Mobile Website Testing Edition

Mobile Website Testing

It has now been over two months since Google’s Mobilegeddon update. Google began warning webmasters of this update months in advance, indicating that websites that weren’t mobile-friendly would stand to lose much of their mobile organic traffic. Now that the dust has settled, did anything really change?

If you still have some questions or need a refresher on the impacts of Mobilegeddon, you aren’t alone. Here a few tidbits and reminders to help determine fact from fiction when it comes to mobile website testing:

The Mobile-Friendly test says my website is okay, I have nothing to worry about.

Fiction

Plugging a URL into Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is a great way to see which URLs are registering as mobile-friendly (and which ones are not). For example, some of the most common warnings that are causing URLs to fail the mobile-friendly test include Mobile Viewport Not Configured and Text-to-Code Ratios. However, just because a URL passes the Mobile- Friendly Test, does not mean that it is in the best condition for mobile search engine result pages (SERPs). A page can pass this test, but that does not necessarily mean that a URL is in the clear. If a page does pass, there is also little information as to why it did as the answer returned to users is simply either “yes” or “no.”

However, there is a way to gain further insight into what is causing a page to pass this test and ultimately how to optimize a website for mobile. With Google’s Mobile Checker Chrome extension, it is possible to see a further breakdown of the score from the Mobile-Friendly Test and get deep insights into the areas affecting the score. This is because even if a page passes the Mobile-Friendly test, it does not necessarily mean it is a user – friendly page and there could still be outstanding issues to correct this.

Email is impacted by this mobile update

Fact

Google is not sabotaging email. However, it is possible for a Google crawler to crawl emails in a Gmail account, and then feature them in SERP results across multiple devices. Mobile email opens have grown exponentially over the past 3 years, and Google is looking to take advantage of this opportunity. Google makes these crawls because optimizing emails is becoming more important. Additions such as Schema markup that a Google bot crawls can be shown to garner personalized results could be boosted by Google in mobile SERPs.

The Google Mobile-Friendly tool is the only tool for measuring if a page is mobile-friendly.

Fiction

The Mobilegeddon update did not target entire domains, but rather individual pages. Google announced this detail before the update and continued to reiterate it after the update. For example, it is completely possible for some URLs to register as mobile-friendly on a site and others to register as not mobile-friendly. A quick way to tell which pages are considered mobile-friendly, other than using Google’s Mobile-Friendly test, is to perform a “site:” search for the domain on a mobile device. By doing this, it is possible to see instantly which pages indexed to the domain have a mobile-friendly label next to them.

The mobile app part of this update does not seem to be coming into play.

Fiction

If a mobile search query is highly related to mobile app listings, it is possible that Google has started to treat apps as a newer type of search result. For example, sometimes Google will answer a user’s search query with an “app pack” for specific searches on Android devices and App drop down menu option on iOS devices. An app pack, relatable to map pack, is a group of related apps that match a user’s search query that appear in a separate box-like format in organic search results. These results will often push other main inline organic results below it, so pay close attention. All apps that have keyword optimized titles and high approval ratings could potentially greatly benefit from this greater visibility, which could result in a higher amount of app downloads.

The mobile-friendly status of a website must somehow impact desktop rankings directly.

Fiction

The algorithm update, as stated by Google and many others before the update officially rolled out, does not directly impact desktop searches. That being said, it is worth pulling out a mobile device and testing your website to see is if it passes as presentable. While this update does not affect desktop searches, there are user experience best practices that come into play that are still desktop ranking factors, such as bounce rate, time on site, and more.
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The Mobilegeddon update may not have been as catastrophic to sites that weren’t mobile friendly as predicted, but Google is still clearly trending in this direction. This algorithm change will continue to greatly affect mobile visibility as updates continue to be made. Continually placing an emphasis on mobile website testing will only become increasingly important. For more clarity on how to optimize a website for mobile and catch up with the latest in mobile performance, contact Forthea.


Natalie Hoben
Natalie is a digital marketing specialist at Forthea. Natalie is a proud Texas Aggie (in a sea of Houston Cougs) and a huge fan of the Texans, Red Wings, coffee.

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