Google Penalizing Brands When Smartphone Clicks Don't Deliver The Goods

Google wants brands to fix the links in search engine query results that make people think they found the information, only to click and land on the mobile site's home page instead.

From a desktop it's different. The smartphone screen is too small. The idea to reduce the frustration of landing on irrelevant pages and help webmasters fix the faulty redirects requires something other than providing searchers with a preview of the page, similar to the way the engine does on desktop searches.

English-language search results in the U.S. will give mobile searches a second chance if Google detect that smartphone users are redirecting links to a home page rather than the page they want. The two-step process means clicking on a button tagged "Try anyway."

Essentially it pushes brands and their webmasters to fix faulty redirect link. No brand wants to make potential customers work harder than a click to get to their Web site.

Experts, however, believe the task gets a bit complicated for search engine optimization specialists at agency and brands to address the issue. It requires expensive IT resources and there has been no incentive to make the changes until now, per Brian Klais, CEO Pure Oxygen Labs.

Pure Oxygen released a study in Novembe, which highlighted that 67% of top retailer mobile sites have the problem of faulty or irrelevant mobile redirects and examined the issues and risks. Of the top 100 U.S. retailers with mobile sites, the study found that only Amazon and Under Armour display no mobile redirect error pages, no irrelevant mobile redirects, and Google's required header on all pages using mobile redirects.

It turns out that 22% of retail mobile sites display multiple mobile redirect errors. Some 67% display irrelevant redirects that send smartphone requests for desktop pages to the mobile homepage or other unrelated content, and 97% redirects miss Google's required redirect header value.

Klais told Mobile Marketing Daily that companies need to audit, prioritize, and optimize mobile Web sites. He said once faulty mobile redirects have been identified for desktop URLs, because these misdirects handoff to mobile. Prioritize fixing them based on current traffic and sales contribution, missed opportunity cost, and general level of technical efforts.

Then optimize device-detection code used by the server to target certain smartphones, along with the pattern-matching code that populates the server's response headers with the mobile page location. Make sure desktop URLs that redirect smartphones are mapped to relevant mobile pages. If one does not exist, mobile users should receive the desktop version for now.
3 comments about "Google Penalizing Brands When Smartphone Clicks Don't Deliver The Goods".
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  1. Drake LaDue from Brand X Mobile, June 5, 2014 at 6:46 p.m.

    YAY!!!!! Vindication!!!!

  2. Dan Euritt from Ocean Street Video, June 5, 2014 at 10:35 p.m.

    Brands are paying for traffic that's not going to the correct mobile url, and it's a problem on their end, that they aren't motivated to fix? The advertising ROI for mobile must be pretty lucrative.

  3. Laurie Sullivan from lauriesullivan, June 6, 2014 at 10:42 a.m.

    Maybe all they think about it getting the consumer to their Web site and not really tying it back into their ROI. Or, it's one more best practice they need to learn.

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