It was only a matter of time before the search giant Google had to weigh in on the matter. Mobile-based search has become massive in the post-smartphone/tablet age. With so many people on iPads and Androids, surfing the Web made it inevitable. I am, of course, talking about non-desktop SEO.
About a week ago Google quietly published a blog post that has changed some of the fundamentals of Search Engine Optimization (again). In order to provide a decent search experience for the growing number of mobile users, its latest algorithm penalizes webmasters for faulty mobile presentation.
Here is a pertinent extract from the Google Webmaster Central Blog:
Some websites use separate URLs to serve desktop and smartphone users. A faulty redirect is when a desktop page redirects smartphone users to an irrelevant page on the smartphone-optimized website. A typical example is when all pages on the desktop site redirect smartphone users to the homepage of the smartphone-optimized site. For example, in the figure below, the redirects shown as red arrows are considered faulty:
This kind of redirect disrupts a user’s workflow and may lead them to stop using the site and go elsewhere. Even if the user doesn’t abandon the site, irrelevant redirects add more work for them to handle, which is particularly troublesome when they’re on slow mobile networks. These faulty redirects frustrate users whether they’re looking for a webpage, video, or something else, and our ranking changes will affect many types of searches.
For once, SEO specialists are not tearing their hair out at the announcement. The current changes reward attention to user experience and are comparatively easy to implement.
George “Loki” Williams is the community and brand manager for award wining game company Savage Mojo, Ltd. and the owner of SocialGumbo, LLC, an online consultancy specializing in Web content and online communications. Loki has produced content for clients including the Open Society Institute, National Association of Broadcasters, Kobold Press, and Kaiser Permanente. His work has been seen or written about in The New York Times, The BBC, Air America, The Gambit Weekly, and NOLA.com, among others.