With importance being placed on mobile first indexing, ensuring a website is mobile friendly and provides a positive experience is essential. Our Hangout Notes cover insights from Google around mobile friendliness, along with best practice guidance to ensure your website is set up for mobile success.

Google Determines Mobile Usability Based on The Ability to Render the Page

November 26, 2019 Source

Google determines mobile usability results based on the ability to render pages in a way that matches what a user would see on their device. Sometimes they may face issues when fetching the CSS or JavaScript files and this will display a small number of issues, with regards to mobile usability, in Google Search Console. However, John advised these are usually based on temporary fluctuations in Google’s ability to fetch individual files, but it will not affect the indexing of these pages.

Google Advises Against Using Separate Mobile URLs

October 4, 2019 Source

Having separate URLs for the mobile and desktop version of a site adds more complexity for website owners to manage, so Google recommends switching to a responsive setup.

Google Uses the Viewport Tag to Understand the Mobile-friendliness of a Page

October 4, 2019 Source

The viewport tag is used for scaling a page for devices, and Google will use this tag to understand whether the page is mobile-friendly or not. Google won’t automatically categorise a page as a mobile version if it has a viewport tag.

Implement Redirects From Mobile Pages to Desktop Pages For Desktop Users

September 3, 2019 Source

If you have a separate m-dot site, Google will usually pick this as the preferred canonical version after mobile-first indexing and the m-dot site will be shown in desktop search results. To avoid negative UX, implement redirects to the desktop version for desktop users.

Mobile-friendly Test Doesn’t Respond to Robots.txt Rules

August 9, 2019 Source

The Mobile-friendly test uses the same version of Chromium that is used for rendering so shows an accurate version of what Google will be able to index. However, the Mobile-friendly Test doesn’t follow robots.txt rules so won’t be able to show if certain JavaScript files are being blocked. Test for this in the URL Inspection Tool.

When Changing a Favicon Ensure All Pages Are Updated to Display the Change

June 14, 2019 Source

When updating a favicon for mobile search, John recommends ensuring all pages are updated and the favicon is consistent across the site, in order to display a clear signal to Google when they re-crawl the pages.

New Sites Will be on Mobile-first Indexing by Default

May 31, 2019 Source

Google is now switching to mobile-first indexing by default for new websites.

Favicons Now Appear in Mobile Search Results

May 31, 2019 Source

Favicons are now shown in mobile search results in Google. They don’t require any changes from webmasters as they are updated automatically.

Resource Loading Errors Within Mobile Friendly Test and GSC Don’t Reflect Indexing Errors

May 28, 2019 Source

Within the Mobile Friendly Test and Inspect URL Tool, Google fetches all of the page content and embedded URLs including images, fonts and JavaScript, which can sometimes cause timeout issues. However, this shouldn’t affect the indexing of the content for search results due to caching and the use of older versions of files.

Related Topics

Dynamic Serving Mobile Interstitials Mobile-first Indexing AMP Responsive Design Separate Mobile Sites