This weekend I am playing around with a new beta version of the WooRank test tool. WooRank has become one of my go-to tools when evaluating websites. It is a great tool for both web professionals and site owners alike to gauge the overall health of their website. It is not the only tool I use but it is an important part of my online toolbox.
The main changes in this version of the WooRank tool are the addition of a new set of test criteria that will be used to gage the mobile friendliness of a website. This addition is no doubt in preparation for Google’s announced algorithm change that will begin rolling out April 21st.
If you are not familiar with this coming change, Google is going to begin using the mobile friendliness of your website as part of the ranking criteria that determines the position your site occupies in searches done on mobile devices (smart phones). The stated goal is to make the user experience of searchers better. No one likes a website that is slow to load on their phone or does not fir their screen or is hard to navigate because of tiny menu buttons or other links that are too close together.
This change will affect your website if it is not mobile friendly. There is no doubt about that. Even if you are not a seasoned web designer you should still be aware of the health of your website. Tools like this one from WooRank make it much easier for you to evaluate and keep track of the health of your website. Additionally, it will allow you to check and verify any work that is done on your site to make it mobile friendly (among many other things) so that you an be sure that whoever you hire to work on your website has actually done the work.
Google has provided a special mobile friendly testing tool that will let you test your site page by page for mobile friendliness. In addition there is the PageSpeed Insights tool from google that will give you a deeper view into the mobile friendliness of your website.
What WooRank has done is essentially to make these same tests available from within their upcoming website testing tool. I call it a tool because I tend to use their Chrome browser plugin for most, general snapshot evaluations. The WooRank website digs even deeper into a whole multitude of site factors that contribute to the health of a website.
The current version of WooRank test does evaluate certain aspects of a website in terms of mobile friendliness. Up to this point the things that WooRank evaluated on a site were pretty much the main points that you had to be concerned with as a site owner (see image above).
The upcoming Google algorithm won’t change the criteria in general that is required to achieve to achieve mobile friendliness. Rather, Google has chosen to better define those criteria. If your existing website was already designed according to Google best practices with an eye to creating the best possible user experience then your site should pass the tests “as is”.
One thing that I should mention is that you can not assume, just because your site was called “responsive” and looks ok on your smart phone does not mean that it will pass Google’s testing criteria. It may be lacking in certain elements that are not always obvious to someone who is used to using the site.
Could your images be optimized to achieve better loading speed, for example. Are your links and tap targets (such as your menu) large enough for an average person to use easily? Is there a viewport configured on your site? Do you have render blocking java or CSS code in the header of your site? Things like this cannot always be detected just by going to your website. This is why everyone should take the time to perform these tests on their website before April 21st when the new rankings will start rolling out.
WooRank has enhanced their test platform to reflect those more detailed criteria (see second image, also above). Some of the advantages of using the WooRank test tool are that you can test a multitude of things on a website from one convenient location. Perhaps you are curious to see how competitors websites stack up against your own in terms of mobile friendliness or general best practices. The WooRank Chrome plugin is ideal for this purpose.
I evaluated the new WooRank beta by testing it on this website as well as several sites that I currently have under development. I wanted to see how the results on the WooRank test compared to the results given by the various Google testing tools.
In all cases the results returned by the WooRank test mirrored the results given by the various corresponding Google tools. I think that this makes the WooRank testing platform even more valuable for web designers and site owners alike. If you are a web developer and you manage 20 or 50 or 150 websites the advantages of being able to evaluate all of the sites that you manage against new changes in on site best practices from one place, such as this one, is more than obvious. Especially when the alternative is to evaluate them site by site on 3 different tools.
As I said I have been using the WooRank platform for some time now and am happy with its performance. I think that this new set of features will make it even better. If you are a web developer or site owner who wants to do some in depth research into the general health of websites and their mobile friendliness according to Google standards that WooRank may be just the thing for you. I use it (and became a Certified WooRank Expert) and will continue to do so after the version with the new test tools goes live (projected launch date is April 7th).