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Robert Axford
/ Categories: SEO & Marketing

Google Search Console Warnings

We explain the issues often reported in search console notifications.

The console will sometimes send notifications about the following mobile usability issues found on pages. These error messages should be examined and acted upon if they are relevant. There is no penalty for such warnings. They are provided for information purposes.

However, not all warnings are relevant. The three warnings listed below are the most common. They occur when the Google mobile usability checker fails to read and execute all of the required page resources.

The screenshots below show the same page being tested minutes apart. The first shows a failed result. The second result is successful. The point of this example is that the warnings can normally be ignored. 

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If you do think one of the warnings is correct, here are the related rules for reference.

Clickable elements too close together 

"Links should have 48x48 device equivalent pixels padding" around them according to the Google developer documentation. This requirement might not be appropriate for certain page content, such as clickable graphics that are placed directly adjacent to each other. Certain layouts or galleries may also trigger this error. If you like your layout it can generally be ignored.

Content wider than screen

Check pages for overflowing content. If a page scrolls/swipes horizontally on a mobile device then something within the content is wider than the content column. This may be an inserted image or it could be a fault in the layout. It can also be triggered by a plugin that does not complete its own sizing until all scripts and styles are loaded and executed. In this case the warning can be ignored. The WonderWebs Bootstrap template otherwise follows the correct responsive design guidelines and has the correct viewport.

Text too small to read

According to Google, fonts on mobile screens should be 12px or larger. Certain fonts in the WonderWebs Bootstrap template that were 11px have now been bumped to 12px for mobile devices. This includes the SigninPane, BreadCrumbs and FooterLinks. Several other seldom-used defaults have also been changed to 12px for all screens.

In addition to font-size, the number of words in a text column may also trigger this issue message. Classic readability theory suggests that an ideal column should contain 70 to 80 characters per line. Recent sites with 'mobile-first' single-column design may trigger this warning. Adjust widths if necessary or ignore the message if you like your layout.

Test elsewhere to confirm

The Google Mobile Usability Tester doesn't show these issues.

500 Server Error

This warning is triggered when the website fails to server a requested item. A missing item might be something that was on a previous website, on a different URL, or an article or product that was changed or moved. It can also be triggered by changes to the server code after one of the regular software updates. The error should be examined to determine whether the missing item is meant to be gone or not.

Ask for assistance or advice with any of the above.

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