Are 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.
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%).
The details of which domains are affected by which error type can be found in the following table:
|linkedin.com||-25,52%||redirect / robots.txt|
|bestbuy.com||-4,72%||redirect / robots.txt|
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.
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).