Mobile Search Redirects – Deliver as Promised

A white, rounded square logo with an abstract S-shaped design on a gradient blue and purple background.

Do you redirect all your smartphone and mobile users to your overall shiny, new mobile homepage?  Worse yet, do you redirect them to an entirely different website?

Google explicitly states that it will offer ranking changes to those websites that are not showing the specific page requested by the user.  If a user requests a specific page and you redirect them to a different mobile home page, your site will be penalized for not showcasing the specific subpage content requested.

Mobile Users are Doubling Each Year

We have all used Google on our smartphones to find a search results.  It is easy and convenient.  Mobile use is on the rise.   In fact, it is doubling each year.  We have seen our own traffic logs go from less than 1% in 2010, to 2.1% in 2011, to 4% in 2012, and finally, to 10% in 2013.  Larger, more consumer oriented websites see even larger percentage of mobile users.

Show Me the Content!

The issue is that when you click on the mobile search result, you believe you will get the specific content page requested.  However, on some websites, they redirect incoming mobile traffic to a default mobile home page.  Instead of the specific page you want about “How to make a blueberry muffin” you are redirected to the home page of the cooking website.  Ugh!  #Fail.

Users hate that.  Now Google hates that too.

Google is now going to penalize sites that do not deliver as promised.  If you do not produce the same content for mobile as the main website, then your website will be penalized in the search results.

Example of Errors

Red arrows indicating Mobile Search Redirects from the desktop to the mobile versions: to, to, and to – Deliver as Promised.

As you can see from the above example, all subpages redirect to the home page.  This is bad.  The user has to hunt for the information again.  Again, Google will be penalizing sites that use this redirect technique.

How to Fix

Instead of redirecting the user to the overall home page, you need to make sure your individual page content loads on smartphones.  It can be formatted different, ideally for mobile use, but make sure the text, videos, and photos all load.   Yes, you read that correctly, make sure your Flash videos even play on smartphones.

So using the proper links your site would look like:

Red arrows indicating Mobile Search Redirects from the desktop to the mobile versions: to, to, and to – Deliver as Promised.

Be Responsive!

Better yet, why not just show the same content to your audience on all devices.  Using a Responsive framework, all your content would be the same on all devices (mobile, tablet and desktop).  Even the URLS would remain the same.

Three pairs of web addresses are shown with red arrows pointing to the right between them, demonstrating Mobile Search Redirects: to, to, and to Deliver as Promised.

As an example, URL would be the same on all devices.  In a Responsive framework, just the layout/format would change per device.  This is the best of all.

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