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Google will smack you down if your site isn’t mobile friendly

GoogleRedirectsIf your site is a complete disgrace on mobile devices, Google is giving you some incentive to fix it. As in, they are now going to punish you in search results if your website is a total pain in the back side when viewed on a mobile device.

“To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users,” said Yoshikiyo Kato, a mobile search team programmer and Pierre Far, a Webmaster trends analyst in a recent blog post.

The first thing they mentioned is faulty re-directs. You can check out the image to get an idea. If all of your pages send you to the mobile homepage when viewed on a smartphone, that’s a problem. And it should be a problem. Who clicks through the pages of your site only to be sent back to the homepage?

Another big problem is smartphone-only errors. Meaning, when you get the actual page you want when visiting on a desktop, but get an error if you check it on your phone. Apparently, this happens quite a bit, they list the problems as such:

-If you recognize a user is visiting a desktop page from a mobile device and you have an equivalent smartphone-friendly page at a different URL, redirect them to that URL instead of serving a 404 or a soft 404 page.

-Make sure that the smartphone-friendly page itself is not an error page. If your content is not available in a smartphone-friendly format, serve the desktop page instead. Showing the content the user was looking for is a much better experience than showing an error page.

-Incorrectly handling Googlebot-Mobile. A typical mistake is when Googlebot-Mobile for smartphones is incorrectly redirected to the website optimized for feature phones which, in turn, redirects Googlebot-Mobile for smartphones back to desktop site. This results in infinite redirect loop, which we recognize as error.

-Avoiding this mistake is easy: All Googlebot-Mobile user-agents identify themselves as specific mobile devices, and you should treat these Googlebot user-agents exactly like you would treat these devices. For example, Googlebot-Mobile for smartphones currently identifies itself as an iPhone and you should serve it the same response an iPhone user would get.

-Unplayable videos on smartphone devices. Many websites embed videos in a way that works well on desktops but is unplayable on smartphone devices. For example, if content requires Adobe Flash, it won’t be playable on an iPhone or on Android versions 4.1 and higher.

Here is a longer list of common smartphone errors that people make with their websites.

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