Have you seen this issue before? Google Search Console sends you an email with a big scary headline: "New Mobile Usability issues detected".

This email might look familiar.

I manage over 100 websites between my sites and those I manage for my clients. The sites are mostly built with Thrive Theme Builder / Thrive Architect, though a few are in Elementor and Divi as well. I see these errors at least a dozen times every single week.

  • "Text too small to read"
  • "Clickable elements too close together"

Clients will regularly email me concerned that something is wrong with their website and they'll lose rankings if this is not fixed. 

Let me put your mind at ease: This is usually not a problem.

Mobile Usability Issues as False Positives

Almost always these issues are complete and total false positives. The text isn't too small to read. The clickable elements have plenty of room to breathe.

Thrive Themes Mobile Usability Issues Error

There is no relationship between Thrive Themes, Thrive Architect, or Thrive Theme Builder and these errors. I think the false positives for Thrive Themes and other page builders are due to the way in which elements are set to "fit the entire screen", or something to that effect. Google's bots see elements, perhaps even empty white space ones like a background section, touching the edge of a phone and they freak out.

Fixing False Positives

In almost every case I click the "Fix Mobile Usability Issues" button and validate that the issue has been fixed. Within 24 hours, I get an email from Search Console saying "Yep looks great!" .... and I changed nothing.

In fact, in most cases I see errors in search console that actually have no legitimate pages associated with them. See the image below as an example.

There was a blip of an error, then it went away on its own. The errors remained for me to see, but no pages had issues. I didn't even validate these ones as you can see in the validation column.

If you're like me and sometimes make pages to test things or use a page as a sandbox, you might accidentally publish that page and keep it set to index. When a Google bot finds it from your sitemap, it finds a page that was never meant to be published. Tip: Don't forget to set your sandbox/demo pages to 'no index' in your SEO plugin.

Actual Mobile Usability Issues

If your website actually does have size 10 font and your text is flowing off the site of a phone screen and people can't click on elements because they're all overlapping them then you may actually have legitimate mobile usability issues.

Design your pages with decent font sizes (I like no smaller than 16 px) and make sure the buttons aren't actually overlapping anything.

Could real mobile usability issues impact ranking? Sure, but likely because you'll have an awful bounce rate of users returning to Google after clicking on your link and going to the next search result. This pogo-stick effect can definitely hurt you. If your site is awful to use on mobile, you should probably fix it.

Will Mobile Usability Warnings Affect My Rankings?

I'm only able to speak from actual experience working with so many websites, so take this as my personal experience and not official Google gospel. I have never experienced any ranking issues with any websites that trigger a Mobile Usability error.

I've even stopped validating them, and still never see any issues. Could this change? Sure. But for now, this isn't something I'm going to put on my list of to-dos.

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