Rarely does Google have a huge misstep with their algorithm updates and tools, but it happened not long ago. As Google gears up to make mobile sites the default for indexing, they’ve been taking steps to help website owners prepare as well. Mobile-friendly labeling was one of those steps.
Google had good intentions, but it accidentally backfired. However, the debacle has brought renewed attention to the mobile-friendly testing tool and the need for web owners to put attention on their mobile sites ASAP.
The Controversy Behind Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing
Last year Google added a new search results label – ‘not mobile-friendly’. The label was only supposed to be seen by the website owner in mobile search results to alert them of the issue. But recently the label accidentally went public. The other big issue was that some web pages were mislabeled, including AMP mobile pages.
Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller fielded questions about the issue in a recent Webmaster Central hangout chat. He acknowledged it was a glitch on their side, but downplayed the mislabeling a bit.
Google swiftly disabled the label when the error occurred so they could fix the bug, and it’s now back up and running without the public being able to see it. There may be a little egg on Google’s face, but the incident has put website owner’s attention back on getting their mobile websites up to par.
Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?
The good news is the mislabeling error didn’t appear to be from the mobile-friendly testing tool that’s been added to the Google Search Console. Reports from mislabeled sites noted that the testing tool showed their webpages as mobile-friendly.
If you do see the ‘your page is not mobile-friendly’ label in the mobile search results do the following:
- Take a screenshot that shows the label in the search results.
- Click on the label.
- You’ll be taken to the mobile-friendly testing page. Enter your URL.
- It will take the tool a few seconds to analyze the page and tell you if it’s mobile-friendly.
- If your testing shows the webpage is mobile-friendly take a screen shot of the results. Send Google both screenshots to alert them that you’re webpage is being mislabeled.
The mobile-friendly designation is only based on whether your mobile site is easy to use on handheld devices. There are many other factors that go into optimizing a mobile website for an improved user experience and better SEO. Using the Google testing tool is just the first step in getting to the top of mobile search result pages.
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By Michael Ramirez
Michael Ramirez is the Founder of SearchRPM, an Austin, TX based search marketing company that’s well-versed in Search Engine Optimization best practices. You can follow Michael Ramirez on Twitter @openmic0323 or on Google+ to see what he’s up to next.