XF 2.1 New Mobile Usability issues detected for site using default style

Andro

Active member
Hello,

My community uses default XenForo style. I keep getting emails from Google webmaster to fix this.

Search Console has identified that your site is affected by 3 Mobile Usability issues:

Top Issues

The following issues were found on your site:
  • Content wider than screen
  • Clickable elements too close together
  • Text too small to read
We recommend that you fix these issues when possible to enable the best experience and coverage in Google Search.

 

Chris D

XenForo developer
Staff member
We’d need to know specifically which elements and on which pages otherwise there’s nothing actionable in this report.
 
I'm not going to ignore the same issue on mine. Mobile friendliness is a ranking factor and whether Google's algorithm for determining this is flawed or not is sort of irrelevant to the topic of SEO.

Screenshot 2019-10-20 at 01.14.53.png

Screenshot 2019-10-20 at 01.16.42.png



Unfortunately Google does not go in to any further detail about which elements in particular. I assume it is tightly spaced links in the Latest Activity section on mine. I will have to do some digging. The thread reviews report all good.

Of course it will be partially theme dependent.
 

l3ta

Well-known member
I'm not going to ignore the same issue on mine. Mobile friendliness is a ranking factor and whether Google's algorithm for determining this is flawed or not is sort of irrelevant to the topic of SEO.

View attachment 212347

View attachment 212348



Unfortunately Google does not go in to any further detail about which elements in particular. I assume it is tightly spaced links in the Latest Activity section on mine. I will have to do some digging. The thread reviews report all good.

Of course it will be partially theme dependent.
You and I are using the same theme, so I agree it is probably the latest activity addon. See my report: MOBILE-FRIENDLY
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
Content wider than screen should be easy to trouble shoot.

Find pages with horizontal scroll bar and you should see what is causing it.

Usually when I see this on sites it is caused by an ad but sometimes a fixed width image or container
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
Case in point:

I just received this email from Google tonight (Oct 20, 2019, timestamp 7.07 pm EDT):

The following issues were found on your site:

Clickable elements too close together

Text too small to read
That site is not new. It's a responsive WordPress site for a small business and it has seen a reasonably good amount of traffic for a local rural small business. No one has ever complained about usability issues of any kind. The only thing that might remotely qualify are the AddThis social share buttons at the bottom of pages or posts.

But here's the clincher:

Immediately after receiving Google's email, I went to the Google Mobile Friendly Test site and entered the URL for the site. Here's what Google's own Mobile Friendly Test says:

Tested on: Oct 20, 2019 at 7:56 PM (49 minutes later, during which absolutely nothing about the site has changed)

Page is mobile friendly
This page is easy to use on a mobile device
Google's own mobile test site disagrees with the Google Search Console algorithm.

So which are you supposed to believe? An automatic algorithmicly-derived email from Search Console? Or the evidence from Google's own test site and your own eyes and those of the site owners and users?
 
Case in point:

I just received this email from Google tonight (Oct 20, 2019, timestamp 7.07 pm EDT):



That site is not new. It's a responsive WordPress site for a small business and it has seen a reasonably good amount of traffic for a local rural small business. No one has ever complained about usability issues of any kind. The only thing that might remotely qualify are the AddThis social share buttons at the bottom of pages or posts.

But here's the clincher:

Immediately after receiving Google's email, I went to the Google Mobile Friendly Test site and entered the URL for the site. Here's what Google's own Mobile Friendly Test says:



Google's own mobile test site disagrees with the Google Search Console algorithm.

So which are you supposed to believe? An automatic algorithmicly-derived email from Search Console? Or the evidence from Google's own test site and your own eyes and those of the site owners and users?
Your search rankings will likely be affected by your sites status in the ‘Mobile Usability’ report in Search Console which will also show historically when it has been happening as this is Google’s actual crawl data.

I’ve experienced the same inconsistencies and am starting to wonder if it depends on what posts are on the front page. The only errors I get are the front page.
 
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djbaxter

Well-known member
Your search rankings will likely be affected by your sites status in the ‘Mobile Usability’ report in Search Console which will also show historically when it has been happening.
I haven't seen any.
I’ve experienced the same inconsistencies and am starting to wonder if it depends on what posts are on the front page. The only errors I get are the front page.
I just don't think the information from the Search Console is at all accurate.

In this case, it's the Contact page it's complaining about. That's basically just a contact form.

I always double check when I get one of those emails but I don't believe them. Note that in Search Console it identifies the source of the purported "errors" as the "Smartphone crawler" (at least if you've been moved to the Mobile First index which most by now have).

Try this: after you get one of those emails, go to the Search Console and just click on Validate Fix (without actually changing anything). I've just done this for the latest email but when I've done that for other sites I'll get an email back in a couple of days saying thanks - it's fine now. I'll let you know what happens in this case.
 
Wow even on your contact page that is random. Weird thing is though that I have managed hundreds of sites over the years in search console and this is the first time I’ve seen such inconsistent results. 🤔

Search console is real crawl data and I’d hate to be penalised for a usability issue that doesn’t exist. In your case the contact page I wouldn’t care about that particularly.
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
Case in point:

I just received this email from Google tonight (Oct 20, 2019, timestamp 7.07 pm EDT):

That site is not new. It's a responsive WordPress site for a small business and it has seen a reasonably good amount of traffic for a local rural small business. No one has ever complained about usability issues of any kind. The only thing that might remotely qualify are the AddThis social share buttons at the bottom of pages or posts.

But here's the clincher:

Immediately after receiving Google's email, I went to the Google Mobile Friendly Test site and entered the URL for the site. Here's what Google's own Mobile Friendly Test says:

Google's own mobile test site disagrees with the Google Search Console algorithm.

So which are you supposed to believe? An automatic algorithmicly-derived email from Search Console? Or the evidence from Google's own test site and your own eyes and those of the site owners and users?
Try this: after you get one of those emails, go to the Search Console and just click on Validate Fix (without actually changing anything). I've just done this for the latest email but when I've done that for other sites I'll get an email back in a couple of days saying thanks - it's fine now. I'll let you know what happens in this case.
UPDATE
As noted above, after receiving that email, i changed nothing on the site. I simply went to the Search Console, clicked on the link to say I had fixed it for both listed "errors", and waited for validation of the fix.

I checked Search Console again today. Remember that I changed absolutely nothing on the site. Today Search Console indicates that it had rechecked and validated my "fixes" and now it confirms that the mobility issue no longer exists:

mobility-issue-validated.png

And that's why I don't trust the Search Console automatic crawl algorithms.
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
Also got the emails tonight:

Mobile Usability issues successfully fixed for site XXXXXXXX

To owner of XXXXXXXX

Google has validated your fix of Mobile Usability issues on site XXXXXXXX. The specific issue validated was 'Clickable elements too close together'.

1 pages on your site were validated as fixed.
and

Mobile Usability issues successfully fixed for site XXXXXXXX

To owner of XXXXXXXX,

Google has validated your fix of Mobile Usability issues on site XXXXXXXX. The specific issue validated was 'Text too small to read'.

1 pages on your site were validated as fixed.
 

ProCom

Well-known member
Yup, I just updated 4 sites to XF 2.1 and within a week I got the same exact "Mobile Usability issues" from Search Console on all of the sites.
 

ProCom

Well-known member
You can safely ignore these "warnings". See

The first post may not seem to be relevant but read the discussion that follows.
I've learned that it almost doesn't matter if Google is right or wrong in how they see my site since we get so much traffic from them, we kinda have to bow-down to the 5,000 lb. gorilla.

I had a similar discussion with someone telling me it doesn't matter if Google thinks my site is slow if my users think it's fast. Well, when 80% of our visitors come from Google, it's hard to ignore their concerns.
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
I've learned that it almost doesn't matter if Google is right or wrong in how they see my site since we get so much traffic from them, we kinda have to bow-down to the 5,000 lb. gorilla.

I had a similar discussion with someone telling me it doesn't matter if Google thinks my site is slow if my users think it's fast. Well, when 80% of our visitors come from Google, it's hard to ignore their concerns.
It's not a question of ignoring Google. The reality is that this is a bug in the Search Console (just as there are currently some major bugs in the Google My Business site). If you just click fixed, Search Conslole rechecks and tells you it's fixed. If Search Console says it's slow and you check it even on other Google speed tests, you get very different results. If even different levels of Google can't agree with one another, which one are you going to believe?
 

ProCom

Well-known member
Yeah, it's a bit of a mess. It's also part of the irony of things like Google being critical of site-speed, but then their ad-code SUPER slowing down sites... or AdSense being critical of a site's content, but then showing adult-ads that are WAY worse to the visitors.
 

djbaxter

Well-known member
Yeah, it's a bit of a mess. It's also part of the irony of things like Google being critical of site-speed, but then their ad-code SUPER slowing down sites... or AdSense being critical of a site's content, but then showing adult-ads that are WAY worse to the visitors.
If you've test run their new WordPress plugin called Google Site Kit, you'll also notice that it slows your site down considerably.

Google: Try out the Google Site Kit plugin!

Me: But you said you want fast loading sites and your plugin drags the whole site down.

Google: Do as we say, not what we do.
 

Jon12345

Active member
My site also fails the Mobile-Friendly Test too.

My errors are:
  • Clickable elements too close together
  • Text too small to read
  • Content wider than screen
  • Viewport not set
I think I have identified what might be causing lots of "too wide" errors. When someone inserts code on my site, quite often that code is quite long and so it ends up putting a horizontal scrollbar in there when viewing in mobile. Is it possible to have that text wrap instead of the scrollbar? This might help some of the errors.

I am with Adam on this one. Google wants sites that are mobile friendly and is likely to penalise in the rankings those who are not as friendly as they want them to be.
 
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