Customer Experience News & Trends

Warning: Google to penalize sites making 2 key mistakes

It’s always a good idea to optimize your website for mobile devices, but now Google might penalize you if you don’t.

To improve the online experience for smartphone users, Google says it plans to change its website ranking system by penalizing sites that aren’t configured for smartphones. In other words, if a site isn’t convenient to use on a smartphone, it’s less likely to show up in a Google search conducted using a smartphone.

Google specifically cited two of the most common issue companies should be on the lookout for:

Faulty redirects. This happens when a desktop site — which redirects visitors to a mobile site — fails to link to corresponding pages on its mobile version, and instead only sends visitors to the mobile site’s homepage.

Example: A smartphone user is a few links deep on your product webpage and finds he or she is having trouble viewing the content. When that customer clicks the link to your mobile website, he or she is redirected all the way back to the homepage of the mobile site.

Smartphone-only errors. These are instances in which a site loads fine for desktop users, but displays as an error for smartphone users.

Example: You post a welcome video on your homepage that can be viewed by desktop users but not by smartphone users. This usually happens due to software incompatibility.

Preparing for the change

Sites that exhibit these issues will rank lower in search result pages so smartphone users will be less likely to encounter their errors. In the meantime, Google has provided suggestions for improving redirects and avoiding smartphone errors.

Keep in mind, these are just two specific issues Google has pointed out; it may end up penalizing for more — and most likely will. To prepare, it’s best to test your website as much as you can on multiple devices to make sure it’s fully accessible.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.