Tag Archives: tips

Google Check of Whether a Website is Mobile Friendly

Google provides a tool to show what if they think a web site is “mobile friendly.” Google states that they will penalize sites in their search rankings if Google doesn’t believe they are mobile friendly. So obviously this matters if you care about your ranking in Google.

If the site passes Google’s test you will get a response similar to ours:

screen shot of site being deemed mobile-friendly by Google

Now Google’s automated tool isn’t so great at providing good usability advice (such as if it really is a good design for mobile users) but it does tell you if Google is going to punish the site or not. If Google thinks the site fails they will provide some feedback, such as:

  • Text too small to read
  • Links too close together
  • Mobile viewport not set

Then you can decide if those really are issues and if you want to fix them. Due to Google’s dominate market position it may be you feel forced to adjust a site (even if it means degrading real usability) in order to make Google happy so your site isn’t punished by Google in search rankings. Or you can decide that you are going to do what is right for users regardless of what Google will do to the site.

Note if you don’t have javascript enabled Google’s tool just fails. I can’t imagine why this tool should require javascript but certainly it is pitifully lame to not provide a clear indication that they created a site that doesn’t work unless javascript is enabled instead of just giving a completely useless message “There was a problem with the request. Please try again later.” as they do now. Google should punish sites that due such lame things in my opinion. I also get that useless message about 20% of the time when I have tried validating a site (but if javascript is enable just reloading makes it work).

The tool is useful in pointing out potential issues to improve for mobile users. I do wish however, Google wasn’t so autocratic about its opinions acting as though failing their tests is equal to failure mobile users. It isn’t, it is a decent indication there may be a problem but it is not proof there is a problem.

Related: Google Still Providing Users Bad Search Results: Basing Results Not of Value to Users but How Completely Sites Do What Google Tells Them To DoDon’t Use Short URL Services (bit.ly etc.)Good Blogging Practices

Don’t Hide Important Content Using Coding Gimmicks

My comment on: Does Hidden/Tabbed Content Still Get Picked Up By Google?

I would say that hidden tab stuff is bad Ux (most of the time). I could figure out what the heck was going on when I read this post and it seems to end without having addressed the issue sensibly. Oh, the content is hidden up above I finally figured out. I think Google does exactly the right thing, in making the hidden content a very low ranking factor for the page because as a user it is hidden and not the focus of the page.

The conclusion of the original post is hidden text is given very low weight by Google in search results. If you go to that page, note that you can’t see most of the content for that “page” you have to find the links to unhide the content.

The hidden text being discussed here is when you hide content that only becomes visible once the user clicks something (and instead of going to a page that highlights that content, some content is unhidden and other content is added to the hidden content on the page). It is just a bad Ux practice in general (as with many Ux issues there are odd cases where it can make sense).

Related: Getting Around Bad Web Page LayoutsPoor Web Site User Experience (Ux) on Financial SitesThe Most Important Search Engine Ranking FactorsDon’t Use Short URL Services

Good Blogging Practices

One of the things I have always done is to read and comment on blogs I find worthwhile. The main reason I do this is to learn. Another advantages include growing a network of like minded people (that grow from recognizing you commenting on their blog or blogs they read and then some start to read your blog…). And that growing your following can result in more links to your site and better search rankings.

These are my comments sparked by an post with some good ideas on some good blogging practices. They are edited and extended from the comment left on the blog.

Great thoughts.

Give your readers what they want: so important and yes to some extent people think of this, but that idea should get more attention from most bloggers.

Length of posts; as you say make them appropriate. Sometimes what you have to share is best captured in a long post. Sometimes a short post is best. Trying to jam a post into a specific format/length is a recipe for failure.

I do think the long, detailed posts are valuable and if you are never doing that there is likely some value in seeing if some of what you have to say can be expressed well in a long post.

I do have comments I leave spark me to write longer posts on my own blogs. I also started a management blog on blogspot (over 10 years ago) and when I created my own domain (also over 10 years ago) I left it there (urls should live forever).

A few years later I started to use that blog to republish comments I thought were worth keeping (one of the things I do is link to my previous content and trying to find some comment I want to reference is really hard, by collecting comments I think I might want to reference on that blog I can actually find them again). I often edit these a bit and add some links (which I often am prevented from including even when they would be really useful).

I was adding this to the related links that follow – Build Your Online Presence (another post that started as a comment). And this shows another reason to republish your comments that are worth keeping. The original article link is gone. I always include a link to the post I commented on; it is amazing how many are broken a few years later (lots of people break a basic web usability and wise SEO practice and break their urls).

An illustration of why it is in your interests to have urls live forever. Last year I did posts on my most popular posts on many of my blogs (based on views in 2014). A fairly typical example is from my Curious Cat Comments blog. The most popular posts by year 2014-6 (the most recent year does have an advantage as lots of regular readers read each new post); 2013-1; 2010-1; 2009-1; 2008-1; 2007-1; 2006-2. This one actually was more heavily weighted to recent post than most of my blogs. I just checked it for this year and 2 posts from 2007 and 1 post from 2008 that were not in the top last year are all in the top 6 this year (and the one from 2008 last year is also repeated again).

Related: Blog commenting optionsMake Your Blog WelcomingDon’t Use Short URL Services