Ask anyone in the industry, and they’ll tell you that mobile is the future. You hear it everywhere. In fact, mobile has been the future so long, it seems like it should be the present by now! This is actually supported by data, which indicated that mobile user volume surpassed that of desktop in 2014. Let that sink in for a moment: this isn’t just the abstract future, but the actual present.
It’s true everywhere you look, too. We already know how attached people are to their smartphones. Why doesn’t Google recognize this across its business?
So the question on everyone’s lips is simple: why haven’t SEO tool makers caught up with these trends? Indeed, the same makers of these tools have been calling for increased focus on mobile for years, citing these same statistics. Why don’t they practice what they preach?
What do we mean here? We’re talking about simple mobile compatibility and optimization. It doesn’t matter whose tool you use: Google, Bing, and a multitude of third-party SEO tools all have the same problem. Ironically, you can use Google’s own “mobile-friendly test” on itself to determine that yes, the Google Developers page is indeed not mobile friendly. Neither is Bing’s. Neither are several other important SEO tools. This is a surprisingly common and uniform problem across the industry. Do they know something we don’t?
All this is happening in an environment of massively increased industry focus on how mobile SEO will look going into the future, where it is dominant. As said before, it’s been clear for a while that mobile is not only the future, but increasingly, the present. And, true to these indications, Google has been using its monolithic place in search to aggressively push webmasters to adopt mobile standards and bring their mobile sites up to code, as it were. Recent updates have made this official policy of Google—websites are penalized in search results if they don’t deliver a good mobile experience, and have been since way back in 2013. But yet Google’s own webmaster tools remain stubbornly unoptimized for mobile browsers.
Now, some might say that the reason for this is because no one does web development on mobile. This is probably true, but who doesn’t like to have access to all their data whenever they need it? Imagine a chance meeting with an industry heavyweight somewhere, say in an elevator—how convincing is your pitch, that one you’ve been rehearsing for your whole career, how convincing is that pitch going to be if you’re constantly pinching and zooming and scrolling around to see the non-mobile optimized statistics and information on your phone? Sounds embarrassing to me.
So why is it still a problem? The time will come when web development is also done on mobile devices, or whatever ends up replacing them. So when will Google, Bing, and the others get with the program, start taking their own medicine, and optimize their tools for mobile browsers? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at [email protected].