Is GSC reporting erroneous 'mobile usability' issues?
 by Kristi Hagen

Is GSC reporting erroneous mobile usability issues?

  • I've been noticing Google Search Console reporting many pages on a site as having mobile usability issues. For instance, it reports Content Wider than Screen and Clickable elements too close together.

    When I check the pages live with Google's Mobile Friendly Tester they are fine and do not trigger these issues. The only issue that comes up is a Page Partially Loaded error with details Couldn't load 1 page resource and the resource is a redirection error with google-analytics.com relating to google tag manager.

    Have you ever seen this behaviour before? The theme is fully responsive and I've never had mobile issues, and I use WP Rocket for caching along with Cloudways as the host so it ends up creating a unique cache for mobile in Varnish served up by NGINX. I'm not sure if I should worry about this or ignore it. The strange thing is that in GSC it shows the number of pages with issues jumped from 10 to 66 between Sep14 to Sep18, and yet when I click to the page level details the "Last Detected" was August 8th and nothing detected since then.

Answer:

We've often seen Google Search Console (GSC) reporting being out of date and taking a long time to update. We also believe these are two different reporting systems, which are sometimes out of sync. It seems to us that GSC is stricter in regards to things like clickable elements that are too close together.

Bear in mind that by now it's possible these errors have already been resolved. Regardless, it won't hurt to review the issues on a sampling of these pages to see if there really is a problem.

The clickable elements too close together issue is very common and often appears site wide. The content wider than screen is also very common but typically less likely to be a site wide issue. Usually it stems from a non-responsive image or HTML table that's too wide.

Once you've inspected the "problems" and corrected if necessary, it's fair to expect improvement after the next time the pages are spidered.inspire_favicon_32.ico

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