According to a Google Webmaster Central blog post published last week, Google is dedicated to helping mobile users “experience the full richness of the web.” As a result, Google plans “to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.”
Yet the message from Google isn’t all doom and gloom. The search team identified two of the most common errors when it comes to mobile site optimization. Consider these your starting points as you check over your mobile site’s functionality.
Mobile Optimization Error #1: Faulty Redirects
If your website uses separate URLs to serve your desktop and smartphone users, make sure your smartphone link doesn’t lead to an irrelevant page on the mobile site. Here are a few examples from Google that illustrate faulty redirects:
To fix? Make sure that the desktop page redirects to a page that’s optimized for mobile users. If all else fails, Google recommends showing the desktop content rather than redirecting to an irrelevant page. Yet optimization is about delivering the best mobile experience to your users and customers, so why not take the time to give them the information they want, how they want it?
Mobile Optimization Error #2: Smartphone-Only Errors
Some websites include errors that are only seen by smartphone users. For example, desktop users might be able to access a URL, but when it’s viewed by a smartphone user, that person sees an error page. One solution? Navigate your site with your mobile device. Do you run into any problem pages? Slow load times? Anything else that might negatively impact a mobile user’s experience? If so, put those at the top of your “To Fix” list.
In fact, Google recommends testing your site on as many mobile devices as possible—you may run into some sort of error that impacts only a certain type of device or tablet.
Are you surprised that the mobile web experience will start to factor more heavily in search results? Or, given the rapidly growing number of mobile users, does this decision from Google make perfect sense?