Make Web sites mobile-friendly or face Google search wrath

Google says it plans to demote Web sites in mobile search results if they don't work properly on mobile devices. That's a powerful incentive.

Google Webmaster graphic

If smartphone users have problems with your site, here's some incentive to fix them: Google said Tuesday it plans to punish problematic sites with lower placement in search results.

"To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users," said Yoshikiyo Kato, a mobile search team programmer, and Pierre Far, a Webmaster trends analyst, in a blog post.

The pair gave some examples of common problems:

• Redirecting visitors trying to use assorted PC-optimized Web sites just to a single mobile site rather than the full range of mobile equivalents;

• Using video that plays on PCs but not mobile devices, for example by relying on Adobe Systems' Flash Player;

• And showing mobile users an error page instead of the PC-optimized page in cases where there's no mobile-optimized site.

The search-results incentive is a powerful one that Google can offer, especially as mobile search increases in importance. In its effort to offer search results that satisfy users rather than frustrate them, it's also taken measures such as emphasizing page-load speeds.

Google showed this example of a bad redirection practice that Google said displeases people using Web sites with mobile devices. Such practices will mean the Web site is demoted in mobile-search results.
Google showed this example of a bad redirection practice that Google said displeases people using Web sites with mobile devices. Such practices will mean the Web site is demoted in mobile-search results. Google
About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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