Fix Your Site for Mobile, or Prepare for Google Demotion!
Business owners beware: If your website isn’t mobile friendly or it causes smartphone users the urge to throw their mobile device at a wall, prepare to be punished by Google!
Last week, Google announced on The Webmaster Central Blog, that “failure to fix annoying mobile experiences will now actively hinder your efforts to rank well within search results.”
Now, failing to optimize your website for mobile visitors viewing from a smartphone or handheld device won’t just impact your ordinary traffic – it could also cause Google to demote your site from appearing on their search engine all together.
Google stated in their update that they will remain dedicated to helping mobile users “experience the full richness of the web,” and as a result, they have begun “to roll out several ranking changes that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.”
What is a Mobile Optimization Smartphone-Only Error?
Some websites include errors that are only seen by smartphone users. For example, a URL that can be easily accessed from a desktop may show up as an error page or blank screen when a smartphone user views it. Something like this…
Another example of a typical smartphone-only error is that many websites embed videos in a way that works well on desktops but is unplayable on smartphone devices. Keep in mind that any content requiring Adobe Flash, won’t be playable on an iPhone or on Android versions 4.1 and higher.
How To Fix Mobile Optimization Smartphone-Only Errors?
Test and navigate your site with your mobile device. Do you see anything wrong or out of the ordinary, any problem pages or incredibly slow load times?
Start taking note of these deficiencies so you know what needs to be fixed. If in doubt, just remember it’s more important to connect the user to the content they want on a non-mobile page, rather than direct them to an incorrect mobile-formatted page.
Google actually 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. They promise that, “doing so will improve the mobile web, make your users happy, and allow searchers to experience your content fully.”
With mobile traffic now accounting for more than 50% of Internet traffic (and rising), it’s no wonder search engines are starting to factor the quality of mobile experience into their algorithms. It would appear that the golden rule of mobile search is to ensure that the correct content is delivered to the user in the most efficient manner possible, even if that means repurposing a desktop page or displaying the desktop page itself, rather than a mobile-specific piece of content.
Expect more mobile, SEO and algorithm best practice announcements from The Big G in the months to come…
*Editors note: Google search has updated their algorithm on September 27, 2013, to code name “Hummingbird,” learn more by reading our latest blog post about the changes.
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