Update for March, 2020: With the release of Thrive Theme Builder, you now have the ability to create custom, mobile friendly WordPress themes with complete control over every aspect of your site.
Google recently made a new addition to their ever-growing list of ranking factors for websites. If you're wondering whether your site passes this "mobile friendly" test and where Thrive Themes stand in all this, read on.
Mobile Traffic & Blurred Lines
For many websites, projections like the one shown above have come true and the number of visitors they get from mobile devices has edged ahead of the number of desktop visitors.
In fact, with phones, tablets, phablets and notebooks of all shapes and sizes, the lines between mobile devices and non-mobile devices have become rather blurry. For certain is that people are viewing your website on a wide variety of screen sizes and clicks are being replaced by taps.
No wonder then, that Google announced "mobile friendliness" as a new ranking factor for web pages.
What You Need to Know
If a page passes the mobile friendly test, it gets this addition in search results (only visible when via search from a mobile device):
In addition, your chances of getting a front-page ranking for any given search term are lower, if a page doesn't pass the test.
How can you know how your own website fares? Luckily, there's a simple test you can run: Google's Mobile Friendly Test.
Note that Google measures this on a page-by-page basis - it's not a site-wide factor.
Are Thrive Themes Mobile Friendly?
In a word: yes.
All our sites pass the mobile friendly test for all pages, out of the box. No additional modifications needed. Unfortunately, you can't test our demo-sites using the Google tool, because our demo sites are set to no-index (the sites contain mostly filler content, so we don't want them to be crawled by search engines).
However, we've tested all our themes for this factor and if you're a Thrive Themes user, you can easily test your own site to see the result.
Below is a gallery with the test results for our current theme lineup:
It's important to note that our themes all pass the test by default, but that doesn't mean every website using our themes will always pass the test. After all, WordPress is an open platform and there's nothing stopping you from using plugins that will change the site back to being mobile unfriendly.
While Google's test is important to us and we'll always ensure that all our themes are compliant, we generally care much more about user experience and conversions than about bots.
At Thrive, we're very aware of the trend towards mobile, multi-sized and touch devices and our goal is to be at the cutting edge of these developments. That means making our themes light and fast, for a pleasant mobile browsing experience. It also means figuring out what conversion processes look like for mobile users and how we can improve them (and we believe this is an area with a lot of untapped potential).
We'd love to know your thoughts on this topic! What percentage of your traffic comes from mobile devices? What do you want your WordPress theme to do, to make the mobile experience better for your visitors? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below!
I have really seen a ton of email getting sent to me about my static html web sites and Google telling me about them not being mobile friendly and I do know for SEO it is starting to carry weight for like website points and perceived as high value to a prospective searcher in serps as Google improves their listings.
great post as usual Shane 🙂
Yes, it seems that Google are making a push for mobile responsive sites and looking at the usage statistics, it makes a lot of sense. Time to upgrade those pages! 🙂
Thanks for the clarification on your themes, as this was a major concern for me.
I agree that user experience must always be the number one priority.
I can just comment on my wife’s disgust and frustration when she is trying to find something and lands on a non mobile friendly website. About 99 % of her internet surfing is on a smart phone.
She actually assumes the company is unprofessional if they can’t bother to give her a user friendly experience on their website.
As far as improvements – do you have the “call number ability” from mobile on your themes?
Thanks again for the great products and service
Yes, we have tap-to-call feature in our themes. You can find out more about it in this post.
Thanks. I did the test on Minus and I’m Awesome apparently – thanks completely to Thrive Themes. But, it did flag up things not loading, something to do with temperature. No idea why. Being a curious kind of chap I wondered if it did the same on thrivethemes.com – it tells me your site isn’t very friendly. What’s going on? It this test unreliable?
There’s an issue with some types of page section that causes the mobile friendly test to fail. It’s something we’re working on resolving. However, it’s important to note that from the user perspective, even a page with these page sections is 100% responsive and mobile friendly. The user will never notice. It’s just a technical thing that gets flagged with the “image too wide for screen” problem in Google’s test.
Hi Shane, thanks for this info. Now I understand why I received an email from Google’s Webmasters Tool about my site being 100% NOT mobile friendly! (ouch). This only adds up to so many other things I need to optimize in my blog!
I’m feeling the pressure to change that ASAP and I’m sure gonna use Thrive Themes for that 🙂
Have you received my email about the case study?
Sorry about the delay on the case study. I’ll get in touch about that asap. Don’t let me hold you back, though.
Thanks Shane! I just don’t want to mess up with the tracking and analytics for the case study. Since so many of the things I want to do I’ve learned from you I think they should all be included, I don’t want to start doing scattered things and not be able to really evaluate performance changes.
I’ll be looking forward to your email 🙂
Hi Shane, My thrive theme website (at first) did not pass the mobile friendly test. It appeared that I blocked some files in my robots.txt which caused that. I deleted the content of my robots.txt file according to the recommendation of yoast and everything is mobile friendly again…Might be useful for someone https://yoast.com/wordpress-robots-txt-example/
Thanks for the tip, Gio!
Hey. I don’t see the Thrive theme Pressive in the gallery. But I did passed the mobile test with it. Niceness.
Thanks for the heads-up! Forgot to add the image to the gallery when I first published this post.
The Google Mobile Friendly test only looks at factors that make a site usable on a small-screened touch device. The speed of a site is a separate (but also very important) factor.
It will be interesting to see how the themes are ranking on pagespeed insight tests on both mobile and desktop. I haven’t check yet but hoping for the best 🙂
Our themes fare pretty well in those tests, but you also have to remember that many of the factors in those test don’t have anything to do with the theme. To get perfect scores, you need a good hosting and CDN setup as well.
Thanks Shane. As usual you guys are right on the ‘leading edge’ of what is important right now and into the future. Google mobile friendly and mobile user friendly are both critical to our success.
Thank you, John!
Interesting, I run a test and it comes up not friendly and then run it again 5min later and I’m awesome!
Well actually, its Thrive that are awesome, I just sit in the drivers seat 🙂
Agree totally Shane, there is a gaping hole of knowledge in the mobile friendly arena, one that is being exploited by designers who are charging naive clients extra for mobile friendly site.
Conversions from mobile devices are still in early development stages and I have no doubt we’ll see a lot of change in this arena. We’ll make sure to stay on the leading edge with all our products.
It’s really, really good to know that Shane and the team will always take care of us on something so important like this. Thrive Themes Membership is one of the best investment I’ve made for my business. Thumbs up!
Thank you very much, Ariesz! That’s very encouraging to hear. 🙂
What’s discouraging at the moment is the super low conversion rate of smart phone users. They’ll click and view a sales page, click the buy button, and buy nothing. Super high cart abandonment rate. (This has nothing to do with the type of theme or Thrive, but applies to all online sales with any setup).
Do people simply feel less secure about buying with through their phone? I read a report that stated people will view offers on their phone, but if they decide to buy, will proceed to do so through their laptop or desktop computer.
That makes it hard for affiliate marketing with regard to cookies.
I believe this is something that will improve over time.
I think the main issue is that paying on a phone is usually not as easy as paying from a desktop computer. However, many payment providers are already tackling this problem (even PayPal recently got on board with this) and making it easier for mobile users to enter their payment information once and then be able to make purchases much more easily in the future.
The more users that are tied into a system like that, the less friction there is to buying things from mobile devices.
My bet is that within the next few years, something of a standard or “default way it’s done” will emerge and it will become a lot more common for purchases to be made from tablets and phones.
Not too long ago, people had security concerns about purchasing anything online and they also had the problem of complicated payment processes to go through. Now, there’s almost no friction left thanks to slick payment processing, browsers and extensions that can auto-fill payment details etc.
Hi Shane and gang,
I just wanted to follow up on your comment about page sections not being viewed as mobile friendly. I just tested your homepage and Google said your content is wider than the screen (due to page sections I suppose) and your links are too close together. Is this fixable? I would like to use page sections on my home page and landing pages too.