Strong Google rankings are critical for getting your website seen, whether on the computer or on people’s various mobile devices. Because of the increasing prominence of mobile devices, Google has recently adjusted its formal ranking system to reflect the needs of mobile devices. Learn these key strategies about the new Google Rankings for mobile devices to make sure your company’s website will meet stringent new requirements.
1. Changes in Google Rankings
The majority of Google Ranking changes are directed at common errors that result from trying to access a non-mobile site through a mobile device. Issues like faulty redirects, unplayable videos, and 404 errors can get your website bumped down in the Google Rankings. Google’s own mobile optimized search engine uses these new criteria to direct mobile web usage, pulling up mobile optimized sites first when a search is performed from a mobile device.
2. Common Problems with Mobile Sites
There are several very common problems with websites that cause Google to classify them as not being mobile optimized. One of the most common issues with non-mobile optimized sites are that video embeds won’t play on some devices. In many cases, the only solution for this is to remove videos from mobile optimized sites. The other option is to embed videos in a format that is accessible to the greatest number of mobile users.
Faulty redirects are another common problem found when sites are not fully mobile optimized. These occur because of an error in which the desktop version of the website only redirects to the homepage of the mobile version. When you are already in a separate area of the website and click through to the mobile version, you will end up back at the homepage. This is a problem, because it disrupts work and searching and discourages users from remaining on the site.
Perhaps one of the more annoying smartphone-based errors is what is known as a “smartphone-only” error. These errors occur when a user attempts to visit a desktop page from a mobile device, when the mobile webpage actually exists at a different address. In these cases, websites should redirect to the mobile site, but it is not uncommon for them to redirect to a 404 error instead.
3. Making the Changes
If Google had its way, it would do away with mobile sites altogether. This does not mean, however, that Google would prefer that people not search the web from their mobile devices. Rather, Google encourages all web designers to hone their code to achieve something known as responsive design. Responsive design is a way of coding a website that allows it to change as needed depending on the device you are using to gain access. Google prefers this system for several reasons, the first of which is aesthetic; mobile-only sites simply can’t accommodate the variety of mobile devices that access them and they don’t look good or function well on many devices.
A second reason Google prefers you to maintain a single responsive website is that multiple sites have an impact on your SEO rankings. Having multiple sites results in lower SEO impact overall, and you want to avoid that just as much as Google does.