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Fixing Google Webmaster Tools Smartphone Errors
On the Blue Corona blog, we often write about the importance of using Google Webmaster Tools for SEO. Google WMT basically serves as a way for Google to communicate with you. And according to my good ol’ boss, “When you don’t have GWT in place and/or you don’t check your messages, it’s as though Google is calling your office and no one is picking up.”
If you’ve checked up on your crawl error reports recently (and if you haven’t, shame on you!), you might have noticed a new tab on the crawl error report for smartphone errors.
This new crawl report shows errors that only occurred when your site was crawled by Googlebot-mobile for smartphones and the errors didn’t show for desktop users.
The smartphone crawl errors report was introduced in early Dec. 2013. According to Google,
“Some smartphone-optimized websites are misconfigured in that they don’t show searchers the information they were seeking. Some of these problems, detected by Googlebot as crawl errors, significantly hurt your website’s user experience and are the basis of some of our recently-announced ranking changes for smartphone search results.”
Let’s look at one of the common smartphone errors and how to fix it—the faulty redirect.
What Is a Faulty Redirect?
This has probably happened to you before; you’re browsing Facebook or Twitter on your mobile phone and click a link one of your friends or followers has shared. Unfortunately, the source of the link does not have a mobile version of that link, so the website instead redirects you to its mobile site homepage or some other irrelevant mobile landing page.
This is an example of a faulty redirect smartphone error.
The Problem with Faulty Redirects
I’m guessing you understand—from a user standpoint and a search engine standpoint—why these faulty redirects are problematic. According to Google, faulty redirects:
- Disrupt a user’s workflow and may lead them to stop using the site and go elsewhere
- Add more work to try and find the correct page, which is particularly troublesome for users on slower mobile networks
- Can cause problems with our crawling, indexing, and ranking algorithms
How to Fix Faulty Redirects
There are a few ways to fix faulty redirects:
- Redirect smartphone users from a desktop page to its equivalent smartphone-optimized page.
- If the content doesn’t exist in a smartphone-friendly format, showing the desktop content is better than redirecting to an irrelevant page.
- Create a responsive version of your website. According to Google, “this removes the possible glitches of user-agent detection and frees users from redirects.” The search engine blankly states that it prefers responsive sites over separate mobile sites with separate URLs.
Need a New Mobile Marketing Strategy?
In 2015, experts predict that mobile search will officially eclipse desktop search. With more and more people doing a majority of their Web browsing on their smartphones, it’s no longer possible to have a half-assed mobile marketing strategy. If your website currently has a lot of smartphone crawl errors, it’s unlikely that you are ranking well on mobile search. That means you’re basically giving mobile searches and clicks to your competitors.
Contact Blue Corona today for help with your mobile marketing strategy.
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About The Author: Blue Corona's Editorial Staff is determined to help you increase your leads and sales, optimize your marketing costs, and differentiate your brand by passing on our tribal knowledge. The team vigilantly stays on top of the latest in digital marketing, bringing you the top insights with expert commentary. Want to see something on our blog you haven't seen yet? Shoot us an email and our marketing team will get to work.
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