Have you received an email from Google Search Console saying, “New Mobile Usability issues detected for site”? If so, there’s a good chance your website is actually fine.
In this article, we will review what the email notification looks like, explain how to check whether it is valid or due to a bug in Google’s program, and recommend what to do if there actually is or isn’t a mobile website usability problem.
A. What Does the Google Search Console Mobility Usability Issues Detected Email Notification Look Like?
The email notification from Google Search Console looks like this:
So, in this example, there are three ‘issues’ that are making this site a problem for mobile devices:-
- Clickable elements too close together
- Text too small to read
- Content wider than screen
B. How To Check Whether It Is Valid Or Due To A Bug In Google’s Program
First, click the big blue ‘Fix Mobile Usability Issues’ button in the email you received from Google. You’ll be taken to Google Search Console, where you can view your website’s “Mobile Usability” report.
You can also view those three warning messages (from the email) again, as well as Google’s estimate of how many pages have this issue.
Click on one of the error rows in the report’s “Details” section (either does). This will take you to a new page with additional information, as shown below:
The ‘Examples’ section is where you should focus your attention since it tells you exactly which page(s) Google identifies as an issue.
When you click on a row in the ‘Examples’ section, a sidebar will appear, with the option to “TEST LIVE PAGE”. Click this option to let Google test this page.
Once Google has tested the page, it will provide you with a ‘red’ or ‘green’ report stating whether your page is mobile-friendly or not.
Here is an example of what you are hoping to see:
C. What To Do If There Isn’t A Real Mobile Website Usability Issue
If your page is in the ‘green’, just close the ‘mobile-friendly test’ window to get back to Google Search Console. After that, click the “Validate Fix” button at the top of the previous screen:
Google will display a notice that says, ‘performing quick initial validation’ (for around a minute), and will then say, ‘Validation started.’
In about a day or so, Google will typically send you an email to confirm the problem is fixed even though nothing has actually changed. Yes, you have discovered and experienced a Google bug. If you receive an email saying the fix failed, simply follow the same steps above 1-2x again to give Google the chance to correct itself.
D. What To Do If There Is A Real Mobile Website Usability Problem
If your website actually fails Google’s “Mobile-friendly test,” you definitely want to have a web developer look at your website and make any necessary changes.
At the same time, be sure to ask any web developer you reach out to whether a single web page of your website is failing this test or your entire website is.
We also recommend receiving at least two independent quotes or assessments of this mobile device usability issue.
Fixing this issue could be fairly simple or quite complex, and so you want to make sure whichever web developer you’ve hired to analyze and fix it knows what they are doing and can get it done at a price (money and timewise) that fits your situation. You also want to make sure they are familiar with broadly supported web technologies, test their solution using multiple mobile browsers, etc.
Lastly, you yourself and a few friends of yours who are mobile users will want to get on your mobile devices to review your website. You will want to confirm that any web pages you have gotten fixed are fixed and that any actual mobile usability issue (e.g., if you actually did have clickable elements too close together, fixed-width viewport property issues, etc.) that needed resolution has been resolved.
E. Why Is Passing Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Important?
Although the above is a Google bug that many can just dismiss, we want to make one thing clear. If your website actually is not mobile-friendly, you will receive these same warnings as well – so please don’t just brush them off if you’re not sure!
As Google’s algorithms are “mobile-first” and as most websites visitors are on mobile devices (60%+ depending on the industry) these days, having your website mobile friendly is absolutely worth getting right.