Website usability warnings from Google

Have you been notified that of website usability warnings from Google?

What does this mean for your search rankings and is there the introduction of a new mobile algorithm on its way?

Many webmasters who have websites that are not responsive or mobile-friendly have been receiving notifications directly through email from Google Webmaster tools. The emails start with the subject line of “Fix mobile usability issues found on…” it then goes on to compellingly state that “…These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google search, and will, therefore, be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.

webmaster_tools_navigationThe messages are being targeted at webmasters and covers websites that are not in the slightest mobile-friendly, through mobile responsive sites that are suffering from, in Google’s opinion, usability issues. Developers can use Google Webmaster Tools to identify the exact issues as each is highlighted individually – ranging from buttons too close together… “Size tap targets appropriately” or elements of the page falling out of view…”Configure the viewport”… just navigate to > Search traffic > Mobile Usability. As of yet there has been no confirmation from Google, however, there are clear indication that a new mobile ranking algorithm is on its way, in fact, reported that Google informed them that they had been …”playing with it since November.” If you couple this with the Mobile Usability tool (mentioned above) and the addition of mobile-friendly labels that can be seen in search results, the evidence is fairly compelling.

Let’s just take a second to digest that bold and very clear message again “…These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google search, and will, therefore, be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.” For the majority of businesses with a website, the question quite clearly has moved beyond “should I get a mobile responsive website?” to “how much traffic and business am I losing out on whilst I think about making my site mobile responsive?”

All the indications are here, we are being fairly warned that in this ever-changing digital world, that the mobile experience that Google wants to serve up to its users needs to be up to scratch….And, just because your site may have already had the responsive design and build treatment, it doesn’t just stop there. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your website is “done!” Your website is never done, it is never finished – it is organic and needs love and attention on a regular basis to ensure that it is running efficiently. Much like you and I, keeping in tip-top condition will help keep nasty viruses away, it will look it’s best for first, second and third + impressions, by taking the time to keep up with current affairs and by listening to your audience, you will develop better conversations, develop relationships and build trust.

Written byTony Conte

Founder and Owner of Brave Agency, an Integrated Agency transforming businesses through design, digital and marketing, helping you, our clients to get results by applying the right strategy.

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