Google’s Mobile Friendly Testing Tool: Dew Your Dew Diligence

In Commentary, Mobile Testing by Dan Engel

Google has just released the latest iteration of its mobile friendly testing tool. This new application, courtesy of Think with Google, adds a new test for measuring your website’s loading speed on mobile.

Testing for loading speed is indeed a crucial element in assessing how inviting your website is to mobile visitors. However, the Google app may seriously mislead marketing teams and web developers. As shown below, even when a site passes Google’s test with flying colors and is declared 100% mobile friendly, it can have serious flaws and bugs – glitches that hinder customer engagement and depress conversions rates.

Google’s new mobile friendly test is definitely user friendly. Aimed at the entire marketing team – not just webdev coding wizzes – the new testing tool combines the smooth elegance of user-friendly design with the powerful kick of mobile performance data. It’s kind of like, well, like popping open a can of Mountain Dew. First the cool, fresh carbonated sweetness trickles down your throat, and then the caffeinated high-fructose sugar kicks in. Yee-haw!

Google mobile friendly testing tool

Faster, Sooner, Better: The Impact of Mobile Loading Speed

Google’s test measures your mobile load speed on a scale of zero to 100. Mobile loading time is indeed a critical factor, affecting your customers’ engagement. A mere three-second delay in load time can result in a fast, frustrated departure from your site by visitors and faltering conversion rates. Kissmetric reports that every second’s wait typically cuts conversion rates by seven percent.

Unfortunately, Google’s new mobile friendly testing tool offers only an imprecise, generic assessment of your website’s average loading time on mobile, labeling the test results as “poor,” “fair,” or “good.” In comparison, the Mobilizer mobile testing platform delivers specific per-device loading times, to the one-hundredth of a second. When every second counts, it’s critical to be able to count your milliseconds.

Google makes up for its imprecision on loading speeds by delivering a set of on-target technical steps to accelerate your speed and, thus, propel your site into the ranks of the mobile friendly.

google mobile friendly testing tool technical steps

Check Up On Mobile-Friendly Design

Google’s new test doesn’t halt with suggestions for accelerating your loading speed. Like previous iterations of Google’s mobile friendly testing tool, this new Thinking with Google test also judges the design of your web pages for mobile friendliness. Moreover, this evaluation is incorporated into the algorithm of Google’s search engine, potentially impacting your organic ranking.

Google checks if your website employs these not so mobile-friendly features, and may demote your rankings if you do:

  • Software that refuses to perform on smartphones, like Flash
  • Fonts that are illegible without irritating zooming
  • Content that overshoots the screen boundaries so mobile users have to scroll
  • Buttons and links that aren’t far enough apart to be tapped without hitting another
  • Popups that block out page content

Shocking Evidence: Mountain Dew’s Unfriendly Mobile Display

If you pass Google’s test with flying colors, is your website really, truly mobile friendly?

mountain dew websiteLet’s consider Mountain Dew’s website. Their current campaign, “Dewcision 2016,” offers patrons of the bubbly a chance to vote for a new permanent flavor: Baja Blast or Pitch Black.

How does the Google mobile friendly test judge Mountain Dew’s latest campaign? They award the website an impressive 100% for mobile friendliness and declare it to be: “So friendly.”

No doubt that superior test score sparked a round of festivities at the Mountain Dew headquarters. The marketing team probably busted open a case of the bubbly soda and guzzled it in celebration!

Mobile Friendly Testing Tool? Don’t Drink the Google Moonshine

But what this really demonstrates is that the Google mobile friendly test is simply not comprehensive enough. It fails to identify critical bugs and glitches that will disrupt your mobile users’ experiences when visiting your web pages.

What the team at Mountain Dew needs is an easy visual check on their website’s display across a range of market-leading mobile devices. Sadly, no Google bot, app, or algorithm will truly show what their website visitors see and experience on mobile.

Cast your eyeballs at how Mountain Dew displays below when tested on real phones and tablets (not Chrome’s device mode emulator) – mobile devices hosted in the Mobilizer mobile testing lab. Note the way the images are abruptly cut off on the left and right on almost every single phone and tablet. 100%? You dewcide.

Moral of the story: Don’t break out the Dew until you’ve viewed your website updates on your own phone or tablet, or better, use an easy, accurate online mobile testing platform like Mobilizer to inspect up close your website’s performance. As Google so often asserts, no channel is more critical today than mobile for customer engagement and conversion.

Make the right dewcision. Don’t trust Google’s test, and make sure your website is performing properly on all of today’s most popular mobile devices.

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