Breaking News About Your Mobile Site: Google’s “Faulty Redirect Penalty”

If you have a desktop site and a separate mobile site, the new Google “Faulty Redirect Penalty” could negatively impact your website’s traffic.

What’s a “Faulty Mobile Redirect?”

Let’s say Jane is searching Google in her smartphone’s internet browser.  She finds a link to the content she wants and it’s your website (www.example.com/dining/southern).  You have a wealth of content about southern dining on your desktop website that you don’t have on your separate mobile site, so Jane gets redirected to your mobile website homepage (m.example.com/).

Why is This Bad?

Google writes that faulty mobile redirects “disrupts user’s workflow and may lead them to stop using the site and go elsewhere.” In other words, it’s not very user-friendly! And search today is all about helping your website visitors find what they need and find it quickly.

What’s the Penalty?

The search giant is including a note in the search results that will definitely discourage users from continuing to click through to your site. With more than half of internet users browsing on their smartphones, you are going to lose traffic!

google penalty

This is an example of how this note might appear in Google on a mobile device.

How Do I Fix It?

There are a few things you can do.  The most crucial is to redesign your website using Responsive Web Design (RWD) – one website that automatically responds to any screen size.  It saves you the time of updating two sites and gives your users the same content and experience on any device.  In fact, Google developers recommend RWD for the most search-friendly results.  If your website isn’t responsive, you won’t be able to compete as effectively in today’s mobile-centric world!

In the meantime, you can check for listings on your desktop website that just redirect to your mobile site homepage or visit Webmaster Tools to view Google’s Smartphone Crawl Errors.  You can fix faulty redirects by pointing desktop urls to a mobile equivalent page or removing the redirect altogether and let users look at the content on your full website.

It’s a band-aide and not a very sticky one.  Building a website with Responsive Web Design is going to be your best bet overall.  Learn more about going responsive today!

Sources: Google Webmaster Central, Search Engine News, SEO-E  

About the Author
Sarah Stashuk

Sarah Stashuk

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--Sarah leads a team of experts who are knowledgeable in all aspects of organic and paid search marketing. With more than 17 years of experience, Sarah has built a wealth of knowledge regarding online marketing and the ever-changing rules of search engine optimization and online media buying. Her work with Albuquerque CVB, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Huntington Beach, Kentucky Tourism, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Silver Dollar City and South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism is award-winning and has generated significant ROI for our tourism partners. Most recently, Sarah’s work for the state of Utah won US Search Awards 2017 for “Best Use of Search – Travel/Leisure” and the gold Davey Award in 2017, "Best Brand Strategy" for the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism.

Sarah Stashuk
--Sarah leads a team of experts who are knowledgeable in all aspects of organic and paid search marketing. With more than 17 years of experience, Sarah has built a wealth of knowledge regarding online marketing and the ever-changing rules of search engine optimization and online media buying. Her work with Albuquerque CVB, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Huntington Beach, Kentucky Tourism, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Silver Dollar City and South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism is award-winning and has generated significant ROI for our tourism partners. Most recently, Sarah’s work for the state of Utah won US Search Awards 2017 for “Best Use of Search – Travel/Leisure” and the gold Davey Award in 2017, "Best Brand Strategy" for the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism.
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