With mobile search growing at an exponential rate, Google has flagged the importance of ensuring that your website is correctly configured for smartphone users.
The search giant has revealed through their blog that ‘several ranking changes’ are on the horizon which will see sites with mobile user experience issues head south on the mobile search results page. These new ranking factors are the latest in Google’s ongoing efforts to improve the search experience for smartphone users and should serve as a wake-up call for webmasters who have been neglecting their mobile web presence.
In the post, Google’s Yoshikiyo Kato & Pierre Far offer webmasters an insight into two of the most common mobile configuration errors, faulty re-directs & smartphone-only errors:
A faulty redirect occurs when a specific page listed in search results redirects all mobile users to the same mobile landing page rather than a mobile-optimised version of the page they were trying to view. Not only will this annoy your users, in the near future it will attract a rankings penalty.
Any instance when a mobile user clicks (or taps) on a link which fails to deliver the promised content is considered a smartphone-only error. Whether it is a 404 error page or a video embedded in a non-mobile-friendly format (Adobe Flash), if you don’t deliver what you promise, expect to suffer a demotion in mobile rankings.
In addition to the aforementioned configuration errors, Google’s Matt Cutts has recently alluded to the likelihood that mobile site speed will also soon be introduced as a ranking factor for mobile search results. Site speed has been a confirmed desktop site ranking factor since 2010, so it is a natural progression that it would eventually become a consideration on mobile devices.
The key takeaway here is to take a user-centric approach to your mobile presence. Focus on giving your users a great mobile experience and you shall be rewarded with optimal mobile search rankings.