Google gets friendly with mobile
Over half of all UK mobile phone users now own a smart phone, combine this with increased use of the internet and you can see why Google is clamping down on websites which are not mobile friendly. The internet giant recently released information stating that if your website is not compatible with smart phones then you may see your rankings in Google being affected.
Google drew on two main smart phone issues which sites should look to correct in order to rank well. However there are more mistakes which can be made, in order to ensure that your site ranks well these should be corrected on your site.
The first of these issues was redirects- many websites which are optimised for mobile choose to do so through alternative URLs for specific pages within their site. In other words they rebuild pages of their website to be mobile friendly, having two versions of each web page, one desktop version and one mobile version. This has led to “faulty” redirects as mobile users get redirected to a different mobile URL than the one which they entered, for example a mobile user types in the URL to get to the about us page but they get redirected to the mobile URL for the home page. Not only does this dramatically affect the user experience but in many cases users will choose to stop using these sites. In the world of marketing this is disastrous, it not only damages brand image and reputation but inadvertently can lead to your competitors gaining an advantage as people switch. Websites should be redirecting a desktop version of a web page to the mobile version of the webpage- not redirecting all desktop pages to the same mobile URL, the user wants to see the relevant content depending on the URL which they have chosen. If a mobile URL doesn’t exist for that specific desktop URL Google have recommended just showing the desktop version.
The second common mistake was that of error pages. When many people try to access a website from their mobile they are faced with an error page, there are two causes for this, the site is either incompatible with mobile devices or the error page has been created specifically for when people try to view the website on a mobile device. Google suggests that websites should create mobile versions of all their web pages, or alternatively a short term solution would be to just display the desktop version of that particular web page. This also includes video content, if the website was built in Flash then this will affect what mobile users can view – videos and images will not be displayed. For some websites, videos and images are vital elements which are used to display the brand online, with out these brand messages can be lost or misinterpreted. With more people owning tablets and smart phones it would be a good idea to rebuild your site if you currently use flash or to create a html version of your website.
It’s now becoming even more important for businesses to be aware of how their websites are being viewed across all browsers and devices, with technology advancements your business can be found online anywhere and at any time. Websites which aren’t displaying in certain devices can lead to your website not being found in search engines along with the customer experience being affected. There is a need for businesses to recognise how their brand is being viewed both online and offline to ensure brand message consistency.
BeSeen recognise the importance of being mobile friendly, we ensure all our websites are optimised for web. Here at BeSeen Marketing we develop and design mobile websites, click here to take a look at some of our work. If you are worried about how your own site is looking on mobile devices you can use the BeSeen responsive design tester, (please note this does not test redirects) or alternatively get in touch to see what we can do for you and your business.