If you are at all following the search industry news you have heard about the big Google mobile update coming on April 21 of this year, one that Google has said will have a larger impact on the search results than Panda or Penguin.
One of the key recommendations that comes out of this is that you should test your pages in Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool to see if your pages are deemed, well, mobile-friendly. You will get one of these two outputs as a result (number 1 if it passes, number 2 if it fails):
In theory, if you pass this test, you are supposed to always get that mobile-friendly label in the search results, but it does not always happen. Why? I had a chance to show Google’s Gary Illyes an example of a site that was passing the test in the tool, but now showing the label in the SERPs. This is what I heard back from him:
There is more or less a 1:1 mapping, but there are also major differences:
- The tool is on demand, crawling and (re)indexing takes some time; in this case I *think* that’s the problem, i.e. we haven’t seen the mobile friendly version of the site yet.
- The tool can ignore robots.txt (because essentially it’s not a robot), but crawling cannot, so if they’re blocking some resources we need for rendering, that will be an issue.
The second point is particularly interesting. It turns out that there is a way to pass the test in the tool, and still have a page that will never get the mobile-friendly from Google in the results, nor the rankings boost that such sites are expected to get after April 21st.