July 19, 2022

Explained: Text too Small to Read and Clickable Elements too Close Together

Explained: Text too Small to Read and Clickable Elements too Close Together

If you own an SEO agency or manage your own business’s organic presence online odds are you have come across a pesky email from Google Search Console saying “Text too small to read and Clickable elements too close together”.

Now as SEO’s we really don’t like this email because it is often a false flag from resource low crawlers and even worse is that it sends an email to you and your client saying there’s an error. A phone call will be coming shortly from the business owner about how we can fix this and why it is even a problem in the first place.

The fact of the matter is that almost everyone will get this error warning at one point or another and if your site can pass the eye test you should be in fine shape to rank.

The reasons for this error message:

  • Your text is actually too small to read and your buttons are too close together
  • Most even moderate web builders can at least deliver you a site that can be read and without buttons on top of each other.
  • The Site needs optimizing to make it easier for tests to be run by search engines.
  • A false negative due to crawling of your site when Google crawling resources are low. ​

Questions to ask yourself before you ignore this warning.

Is my page a mess?

Mobile is king. It makes up for more than 50% of world wide web traffic. Clearly Google is talking about mobile as well seeing part of this error message is clickable elements. Therefore, skip focusing on desktop. Many small business owners, and even professional web developers get way too caught up on the desktop look of a site. While it absolutely matters, you should be building your site around mobile first.

To avoid any caching issues, view your site on a mobile device from an incognito window. This will be the best way for you to see your site the way others do and be sure of it. If you have to pinch in to read the text on your site then the font is actually too small! A good rule of thumb is to not have any font under 12px.

Are my clickable elements too close?

You should be able to click an element with your thumb, without overlapping or clicking another clickable element. The rule of thumb, pun intended, is to make your clickable elements a thumbs length apart which is determined to be about 30px.

What about small buttons in the footer like social icons?

Social icons may be visually small but you can still avoid getting this error email from Google by adding more padding to increase the tap target size. If you have a list of links you may need to increase the line-height to separate them.

Ways to Confirm this Error

If your having difficulty identifying an issue then run a Chrome developer tools Lighthouse report:


You can use these two articles to forward to your web dev or use on your own:

Text too small to read: https://web.dev/font-size/

Clickable elements too close together: https://web.dev/tap-targets/

My site passed all of the tests but I still get alerts.

Receiving these alerts when your site looks fine could indicate that Google's crawlers are not able to load all of your pages. There are two main reasons for this:

Click the Page Loading Issues links to see if any Stylesheets or Javascript files are reported.

Blocked by Robots.txt
Edit your robots.txt to ensure the relevant resources including /wp-admin/ are not disallowed. The bottom line is; do not block CSS and JS files.


If your site is still experiencing these issues and you’re tired of getting monthly reminders, reach out to Mad Mango Marketing today and our SEO and Web Development team will be here to help make your site compliant and rank more efficiently on all search engines from Google to DuckDuckGo. Thanks for reading.


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