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Google says FIX YOUR WEBSITE!

googleIn a topic that’s quite close to my heart after having recently finished an upgrade of my firm’s website, Google recently announced (well, two of their tech guys told a whole bunch of reporters, which is basically an announcement today, right?) that companies that don’t fix glaring problems with their mobile sites will see their rankings in search results demoted!

According to one study, mobile internet users account for a staggering 20% of all web traffic, and it is estimated that 45% of all mobile internet traffic is “goal-oriented,” with a massive 73% of mobile searches resulting in follow-up action, it is INCREDIBLY important that companies have an efficient, user-friendly mobile version of their website.

Helpfully, Google has identified some of the types of problems that most frequently cause delays and problems for mobile users:

  1. Faulty Redirects. If you have a separate URL for your mobile site, MAKE SURE that all of your mobile links are connected to the appropriate page. HELPFUL EXAMPLE: All of the links on the regular website link directly to the mobile home page instead of the specific mobile page they should be linking to.
  2. If you have a mobile page, redirect smartphone users to the mobile page instead of using a 404 page (“file not found”)
  3. Make sure the mobile page is in a mobile-friendly format! (This seems like a no-brainer, but it would be silly to be demoted on Google just because you didn’t check!)
  4. Unplayable videos. If you use video on your site, and want mobile users to be able to access the site smoothly, make sure it’s a format they can use! (NO FLASH!!! Neither iOS or Android 4.1 or later can view Flash videos). If your main site uses Flash, create a mobile site that doesn’t!

For more information, Google’s webmasters have helpfully posted a list of recommendations for people attempting to create a mobile-version of their website, as well as a list of common configuration mistakes that causes a slowdown.