Desktop and mobile experienceThis week, Google’s Webmaster Central blog announced that in the near future, sites will be rewarded, or penalized according to their “mobile friendliness” over the next several ranking algorithms to be released. In the blog, the engineers wrote that:

“Smartphone users are a significant and fast growing segment of Internet users, and at Google we want them to experience the full richness of the web.”

This commitment to the web experience is an important part of Google’s business, and as it continues to index everything in the world, it wants to be sure that the items it indexes are enhancing the web experience, not hampering it. Here are a few common problems that older websites have, when viewed on a smartphone.

Bad Redirects

Some websites use separate URLs for desktop and mobile users. This in itself is fine, but when all of the pages being served are redirected to the home page of the mobile site, that is an issue. If you have a site that is designed this way, be sure that all pages are pointing to corresponding mobile URLs, not just re-directing to the home page.

404 Redirects

If your site detects and immediately sends mobile users to a 404 page instead of the correct URL (I’m not sure why anyone would do this), this will be penalized.

Unplayable Videos

Flash is a huge culprit here. Flash is not mobile friendly, and although it can work on mobile devices, it doesn’t work well. Google has taken a stance here and said that it will not consider Flash to be mobile friendly, so if you have it on your website, you should consider an HTML5 solution if your current Flash piece is vital to your site.

There are a few other more technical errors that Google will penalize, but these are the most common issues. If you would like more information on this, please contact our SEO experts.

Fixes

First and foremost, you should look into a mobile-friendly site. You may not have a ton of mobile traffic yet, but mobile traffic is definitely increasing rapidly. Mobile users are a finicky bunch and with Internet speeds much slower than their broadband, desktop counterparts, you need a site that is easy to read, access and fast to load.  The experience that a visitor has on your site will determine whether they will bother reading further on your site, or seek out a competitor that is easier to access.

And here’s my plug – I would like to mention that all new Haley websites built are mobile friendly, so you won’t have to worry about any of this, but I know that not everyone has a budget that allows them to rebuild their entire site immediately. At very least though, you owe it to your business to check out your web site on a smartphone to make sure that it is accessible. If you have WordPress, there are good options to make your site mobile friendly rather quickly and painlessly. If you have an older site, there are some options available too, albeit not as easy or fast. So, in order to be ready for the Google updates, even if you don’t have a mobile friendly site, make sure that you can at least access the desktop site on a smartphone. At very least it will show the visitor the content that they were looking for and will be a better experience than coming to an error page. If you have questions about how to make your site more mobile friendly, please contact the staffing marketing experts at Haley Marketing Group for more information.

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