Google Search Console bug? Suddenly multiple messages about Mobility Usability

djbaxter

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Messages
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I look after a number of small mostly business sites and suddenly I'm getting messages from Google Search Console about various issues, simi8lar to this:

Search Console has identified that your site is affected by 1 new Mobile Usability related issue. This means that Mobile Usability may be negatively affected in Google Search results. We encourage you to fix this issue.

New issue found:
Content wider than screen

or

Clickable elements too close together
Content wider than screen
The things is all of them have been verifed as fine for mobile usability by Google previously and nothing has changes in that regard recently for those sites. Morevover, when I double check the sites on smart phones, I cannot see the claimed issue at all. I suppose the "elements too close" might be subjective but I can find no instances of "content wider than screen".

Furthermore, when I run the site through Googler's own Mobile Friendly Test, it reports no errors. What it does say for some sites is:

Tested on: Dec 10, 2018 at 8:08 AM
Page partially loaded
Not all page resources could be loaded. This can affect how Google sees and understands your page. Fix availability problems for any resources that can affect how Google understands your page.
For this forum, I get

Tested on: Dec 10, 2018 at 8:11 AM
Page is mobile friendly
This page is easy to use on a mobile device
but I also get the notice about

Tested on: Dec 10, 2018 at 8:11 AM
Page partially loaded
Not all page resources could be loaded. This can affect how Google sees and understands your page. Fix availability problems for any resources that can affect how Google understands your page.
even though at the time I'm posting this the forum is responding in quite a zippy manner for me with no issues at all.

I'm really not sure what is going on here.

Is this a bug? or have the mobile usability criteria recently changed?
 

Tim Colling

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I have seen this also, with some of the sites that I manage for clients. Frustratingly inconsistent in their communications about this, eh?
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
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Sep 12, 2012
Messages
1,796
Ditto. One thing to watch out for... Sometimes they will fail the mobile-friendly test in Chrome, but pass it in FF.
Thanks on that. What's weird is sometimes when my clients fail, I look at the render given by Google on the tool and then go directly to the site via my own smartphone and the 2 renders look different.
 

Dan Foland

SEO Director at Postali
Local Search Expert
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Sep 25, 2018
Messages
94
There are a few pieces to this. This has been happening to A LOT of sites from what I've seen around the web.

It's not a bug per se, and there are a few possible reasons you're getting these errors.

The first could be that there was a server issue when Google was crawling the reported pages. If you're sites are on WordPress add
Allow: /wp-content/cache/
to your robots.txt file.

Another possibility is that something is blocking Google from crawling parts of the site. For example, do you have dynamic ads on your site? If so it's possible Google doesn't see the ads as a human would, which would mess up spacing and formatting.

Are you using a CDN? I've seen a few issues with hosts and CDN's, but I won't go into that unless necessary.

As for:
Tested on: Dec 10, 2018 at 8:11 AM
Page partially loaded
Not all page resources could be loaded. This can affect how Google sees and understands your page. Fix availability problems for any resources that can affect how Google understands your page.
This is super common, particularly if you have ads on your site or other 3rd party scripts/applications on your site like a live chat service or call tracking. These are generally blocked by the 3rd party service (nothing you personally blocked.) It's actually best practice for many of these to be blocked. For example, if you have call tracking on your site you don't want Google to see each tracking number you're using, that would create NAP issues.

Though, i'd need to see what resources are being blocked to know if it's actually an issue that needs fixed.
 

djbaxter

Administrator
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Jun 28, 2012
Messages
2,725
Another possibility is that something is blocking Google from crawling parts of the site. For example, do you have dynamic ads on your site? If so it's possible Google doesn't see the ads as a human would, which would mess up spacing and formatting.
No ads at all on any of the affected sites.

Are you using a CDN? I've seen a few issues with hosts and CDN's, but I won't go into that unless necessary.
No CDNs on any of the sites.

This is super common, particularly if you have ads on your site or other 3rd party scripts/applications on your site like a live chat service or call tracking. These are generally blocked by the 3rd party service (nothing you personally blocked.) It's actually best practice for many of these to be blocked. For example, if you have call tracking on your site you don't want Google to see each tracking number you're using, that would create NAP issues.

Though, i'd need to see what resources are being blocked to know if it's actually an issue that needs fixed.
It's a plugin loading recent Facebook posts, presumably blocked by Facebook.

But the email messages don't point to that. That's just an extra thing noted by https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

And again, the sites pass Google's own tests for mobile "friendliness":

Tested on: Dec 12, 2018 at 12:57 PM
Page is mobile friendly
This page is easy to use on a mobile device
 

djbaxter

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Messages
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December 14, 2018 - Google Help Hangout Notes
MarieHaynes.com
January 2, 2019

The inspect URL tool tells me my page is Mobile Friendly but received a message saying that it is not and when I send in a validation request it fails?
0:49

In this question the site owner explains that he received a message on Google Webmaster Tool saying that the content is wider than the screen. When testing the page he found that the site was working as intended and that in the Inspect URL it shows that it’s Mobile-Friendly. When he submitted the Validation Request the request fails.



“Okay. Now I don’t know, how what the specific page would be and where that might be coming from. What one of the things that sometimes happens is we need to be able to fetch the CSS files for these pages as well so that we can see what they look like. And sometimes we either don’t have enough time to do that for your pages, or your server is a bit slow, and we don’t have enough capacity to get that very quickly. And then the test might fail. So if we can’t get the CSS, then it might look like the page isn’t really mobile-friendly. And usually this is something that settles down over time and maybe you’ll see individual pages that fall into the state. But in general, that’s something I wouldn’t really worry about. If the page is really mobile-friendly, if for the most part other pages on your website are seen as mobile-friendly, then that would generally be fine. It might fluctuate a little bit. You might see that as a warning in Search Console but I wouldn’t worry too much about it if you’re really sure that everything else is lined up properly.”
Read more...
 

Tim Colling

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Local Search Expert
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Sep 3, 2014
Messages
1,052
Thanks for posting that, @djbaxter

The bottom line in what he's saying seems to be, "it may be that our crawler failed to do its job, and so we issue the warning anyway just because that's how we roll..."

:rolleyes:
 

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