Mobile analysis: Optimization of the top 100 SEO visibility domains

April 2nd, 2015 | Analysis 4 comments

Mobile Robot - SearchmetricsAre the top domains ready for the Google mobile update? We have taken a look at the 100 domains with the highest SEO visibility and analyzed them for mobile friendliness with the help of the Google ‘mobile-friendly’ test.

Google has recently announced that the optimization for mobile devices will be evaluated as a ranking signal from 4/21/2015 and will therefore have effects on mobile search queries. Herein Google points to the ‘Test for mobile optimization’.

With the help of this newly presented tool we have compiled and checked data from the top 100 SEO visibility domains:

1.     Which homepages are designated as optimized for mobile devices,
2.     which types of errors Google identifies and in what frequency they occur.

By the way, the always up-to-date list of the top 100 domains according to SEO visibility can be found in the Suite: suite.searchmetrics.com/en/research/visibility-charts/organic/visibility?cc=US

Surprising result: 16% not optimized for mobile

16% of the analyzed homepages are not optimized for mobile devices. In ‘only’ 80% of the analyzed pages did the Google tool spit out the ‘Mobile-friendly’ label. As this is the analysis of the top pages, a higher percentage was to be expected. Among the analyzed domains, there are several sites that block their mobile version via robots.txt (4%). Still, the result surprised us.

Top100-Domains MMobile-friendly?Error types: Most commonly links that are too close to one another.

Here, Google has identified five different error types:

  • F1) Links are too close to one another (16%),
  • F2) Text is small and therefore hard to read (15%),
  • F3) Mobile display area not determined (14%),
  • F4) Content wider than screen (6%) and
  • F5) Incompatible plugins (<1%).

Error types in Google's Mobile-friendly test

The details of which domains are affected by which error type can be found in the following table:

Domain Diff. Mob./Desk. Status F1 F2 F3 F4 F5
wikipedia.org -0,55% not optimized x
youtube.com -15,76% optimized
facebook.com -8,21% optimized
twitter.com -4,77% optimized
amazon.com -8,72% optimized
imdb.com -0,74% optimized
google.com 84,93% optimized
yahoo.com -15,46% optimized
apple.com -24,72% optimized
reference.com -6,27% optimized
go.com -11,02% optimized
nytimes.com -4,87% optimized
merriam-webster.com -1,73% optimized
yelp.com -0,52% optimized
wikia.com -8,93% optimized
webmd.com -0,81% optimized
craigslist.org -16,46% optimized
about.com -11,86% optimized
pinterest.com -2,33% optimized
thefreedictionary.com -3,88% optimized
tumblr.com -14,44% optimized
ebay.com -5,60% optimized
instagram.com -12,77% optimized
tripadvisor.com -1,81% optimized
urbandictionary.com 5,66% optimized
wiktionary.org -11,94% optimized
nih.gov -51,52% not optimized x x x
huffingtonpost.com -46,41% optimized
biography.com -6,24% optimized
forbes.com -10,51% optimized
cnet.com -13,38% optimized
walmart.com -4,26% optimized
microsoft.com -13,00% optimized
mayoclinic.org -1,81% optimized
xvideos.com -8,39% not optimized x x x
cnn.com -14,98% optimized
azlyrics.com 1,36% not optimized x x x
newyorker.com -2,33% optimized
softonic.com -40,34% optimized
rottentomatoes.com -6,15% optimized
linkedin.com -25,52% redirect / robots.txt
thesaurus.com -8,06% optimized
theguardian.com -9,47% optimized
reddit.com -21,80% not optimized x x x
last.fm -12,17% not optimized x x x x
usatoday.com -21,71% optimized
wikihow.com -11,86% optimized
medicinenet.com -4,39% optimized
foodnetwork.com -4,57% optimized
retailmenot.com -6,40% optimized
metrolyrics.com 1,59% not optimized x x x
washingtonpost.com -6,91% not optimized x x x x
blogspot.com -20,86% optimized
bestbuy.com -4,72% redirect / robots.txt
rollingstone.com -8,03% optimized
tv.com -9,95% optimized
brainyquote.com -10,35% optimized
history.com -7,27% not accessable
britannica.com -10,99% optimized
theatlantic.com -5,40% optimized
nationalgeographic.com -8,04% optimized
bloomberg.com -21,47% optimized
dailymail.co.uk -3,33% not optimized x x x
weather.com 5,37% not optimized x x x x
allrecipes.com 0,52% optimized
goodreads.com -10,01% optimized
drugs.com -2,88% optimized
pbs.org -10,54% not optimized x x x x
wsj.com -18,93% optimized
indeed.com -16,31% not optimized x x x x
slate.com -4,22% not accessable
glassdoor.com -23,61% optimized
people.com -12,42% optimized
pornhub.com -0,71% optimized
homedepot.com 1,11% optimized
dailymotion.com 7,85% not optimized x x x
myspace.com -12,04% optimized
mtv.com -14,89% optimized
target.com -7,07% optimized
vimeo.com -13,77% optimized
soundcloud.com -14,46% optimized
wired.com -5,05% optimized
vanityfair.com -3,04% optimized
hulu.com -28,30% optimized
tmz.com -10,08% optimized
tvguide.com -11,46% optimized
msn.com -19,05% not optimized x x x
overstock.com 5,96% optimized
time.com -14,50% optimized
xnxx.com 0,18% not optimized x x x x
ign.com -11,78% optimized
bleacherreport.com -21,96% optimized
live.com -9,80% optimized
mapquest.com 7,09% not optimized x x
timeanddate.com -7,36% optimized
buzzfeed.com -10,98% optimized
ca.gov -8,82% optimized
foxnews.com -7,71% optimized
ticketmaster.com -12,65% optimized
latimes.com -22,36% optimized

 

Wikipedia is designated as not being optimized, as the evaluations are undertaken on the homepage and precisely this is not set up for mobile devices. In summary, it can be said that the majority of the top 100 domains in google.com take account of the mobile topic.

Criticism of Google’s tool

The data of the Google tool represents an initial indication for the optimization of your own website for mobile end devices, but points of criticism of the tool have become clear over the course of our analysis:

Assessment on a URL basis

Google’s tests for mobile optimization only checks individual URLs. However, in order to be able to get a conclusion on the overall domain, website operators have to draw data from the Google webmaster tools. The evaluation of these is essential for checking how well-optimized your own website is for mobile search results. For this, Google has also published a report on the ‘user experiences on mobile devices’ including a list of the most common problems regarding user experiences on mobile devices.

Reliability

The results are not reliable in terms of the level of optimization.  For example, URLs that are blocked for mobiles receive a high rating of 95/100 points.
Even if Google’s tool is not yet fully developed in this way, the most common errors of our analysis show the direction in which mobile websites are to go in optimization. They also clarify one thing above all: The key importance of usability for mobile rankings.

Mobile visibility & level of mobile optimization

Alongside the SEO visibility we have shown the mobile visibility on our table. So far, there is no link between the level of optimization of a website and the difference between the desktop and mobile visibility of a website. It remains to be seen if this changes after the update announced by Google for 04/21.
Website operators should find out about common errors in the mobile area as well as recommendations by Google (can be found on the Google Developers pages).

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Comments (2)

Comments (4)

  1. 2015/04/04

    Hi,
    I was expecting such a nice post here regarding the Google mobile algorithm updates but as usual I was expecting it after 21st April, showing a list of top sites which are affected by the latest Google update. I hope you have a plan for this as well.

    Last month I had written a blog post regarding top SEO companies failed in Google mobile friendly test where Moz & webmasters world sites were included. Even 2 days back I found that Amit Singhal & Matt Cutts sites failed in this test.
    You’ve added some in-depth details regarding error types which is very helpful for my further analysis regarding the upcoming update. And the issue of blocking the mobile versions by robots.txt, I was not aware about it while writing my posts. So thanks for all of this.

  2. 2015/04/14

    Thanks for the share! I’ve seen a lot of not-so-mobile-friendly websites too, especially the “content wider than the screen” type.

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  1. 2015/04/21

    […] Metrics recently put Google’s Mobile-Friendly evaluation tool to the test on the top 100 domains with SEO visibility. They set out to find out which homepages are optimised […]

  2. 2015/04/22

    […] more information, here’s a mobile analysis report on search visibility for 100 […]

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