Friday, March 27, 2015

Google - Do no evil - ref: mobile friendly site

As you read this blog post, keep in mind the famous Google company mantra: “Don’t be evil".

Recently, there is a lot written about Google making, yet another, "major" change how search engines results are determined. They make these major changes as often as we buy new underwear. 

This one is about websites being 'mobile friendly'. To prepare for this change, Google introduced a new tool that checks websites to see if they are mobile friendly.  The word has it that starting in April, 2015, they will change the way search results are determined and give favor to those sites that qualify as mobile friendly. 

Also, today, if you use a smart phone to do a Google search, the results will note if the site is mobile friendly. 

Being curious, I wondered how Google viewed itself as being mobile friendly or not. So, I searched for "webmaster tools" on my cell phone. 

The results are shown on the left. Note the red circle where Google says their own site is "Mobile Friendly" (This does not show up today on a desktop search, only mobile devices.)

BTW, is it not surprising that Google's webmaster tools show up first (and second) on the search results list? 

Bing's webmaster tools page shows up near the end of the list of results way below the 'fold'. Also Bing is not tagged as being mobile friendly.

Before I show you what the Google webmaster tools page looks like on my smart phone, let me digress some.

When I ran the Google mobile test against the website I support,  it came back with two types of errors:   Content wider than the screen and links are too close together.

The left shows what Google said about this site. The site does not look that bad until you scroll below the 'fold'. There lies the problem. There is a table of images that is actually coded using table tags, which is a no-no in the mobile screen size world. 

So, even thought the top looks mobile friendly, the bottom is not.

This is valid for the site does need some work to make it mobile friendly. 

Enough digression, I just wanted you to see two reasons why a page can be viewed as not mobile friendly.

 So, remember how Google marked their webmaster tools page as 'mobile friendly'?

It is shown on the left.

Would you call this 'mobile friendly'?  

Google did not say their site content was too wide, for they squeezed it down to fit my mobile phone screen. 

They did not say anything about how the links are spaced.  Looks to me like sardines packed in a can.  

Can you click on a link without making a error?

Do you think that maybe Google is not being total fair about how their own webmaster tools page qualifies as being mobile friendly?

Does Google have two sets of rules: one for Google pages and another for everyone else?

Is Google being true to their manta: "Don’t be evil"?

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