Posted by Shreyas Gosalia, Associate Director, Product Development If your site is not yet providing an optimal experience for mobile users, prepare to be penalized. As mobile users are an exponentially growing segment, Google has announced they are planning to roll out a series of ranking changes in the near future to ensure an ideal search experience. At the moment, Google has covered two topics that will be assessed closely in ranking determination: faulty redirects and smartphone errors. Faulty Redirects Problem: Websites redirecting from search will drive a participant to the same mobile page rather than the smartphone user’s intended destination. A common example, as depicted below, is when all sites drive to the homepage of a mobile optimized site.
Solution: For an easy fix, redirect each desktop page to its equivalent mobile optimized page. If you need help with this, take a look at Google’s resource pages for redirects and separate mobile URLs. Smartphone-only Errors Problem: Websites will serve content to desktop users, but display an error page to mobile users. A common example of this would be a smartphone user being served a 404 page because the mobile friendly version of a specific piece of content is located at a different URL. Solution: If you have separate mobile URLs for specific pieces of content, redirect the desktop URL to the separate mobile URL rather than serving a 404 page. Implications While Google has only covered two types of issues they are looking for in ranking here, they have confirmed more changes will be rolling out soon. Not only do these changes show Google’s increasing mobile focus, the changes reinforce the notion that there is a surge in mobile participants’ desire to engage with a brand and its mobile assets. Further, Google noted that in instances in which pages that contain content that are not mobile friendly, the website should display the desktop content on the smartphone. I respectfully suggest that in such instances, content should be curated such that the mobile experience is optimal. If you intend to engage with your participants, why take the shortcut of serving desktop content? We have all experienced the frustration associated with pinching and zooming repeatedly to click a button of a desired action. Why frustrate the very users who desire to engage with and give business to your brand? According to a Google study in 2012, 55% of those surveyed noted that “a frustrating experience on a website hurts my opinion of the brand overall,” while 52% noted “a bad mobile experience makes me less likely to engage with a company.” Key Takeaway: a bad mobile experience is bad for business. There is an extensive list of mistakes in mobile sites, including these items from Google. In order to fully engage with and maximize the experience for your mobile audience, Performics is proud to announce we have developed a proprietary methodology for mobile best practices. More details to follow.