Posted: 5:58 p.m. Friday, June 14, 2013
By Em Maier
Long load times, blank screens, and customer headaches are a recipe for demotion in Google's search rankings, warn two engineers. Here's how to fix it.
Small business owners, beware: If your site isn't mobile friendly or creates a headache for smartphone users, Google will punish you.
Yoshikiyo Kato, a software engineer, and Pierre Far, a Webmaster Trends Analyst, announced Tuesday Google will start demoting websites who don't fix their problems. Google also made a jibe at Adobe Flash, reminding site developers that neither iPhone nor Android--with version 4.1 or higher--host its content. Matt Cutts, head of search spam, said Google is in the process of readying a speed ranking factor for mobile.
Fortunately, Google pointed out two areas where you might be going wrong: faulty redirects--i.e., when a page redirects users to the same mobile site--and mobile-only errors, which are often blank screens.
The hope is to make the mobile web a better place, which is what Google wanted all along.
These days, mobile is where every company wants to be, with users accounting for one-fifth of all web traffic. In fact, a Google-Nielsen study found 73 percent of mobile searches "trigger follow-up actions, whether it be further research, a store visit, a phone call, a purchase or word-of-mouth sharing." That's very big news for small business.
Because 45 percent of all mobile searches are goal-oriented, having an efficient website encourages users to explore, which could result in a sale or registration.
Will you update your mobile site this weekend? Let us know in the comments.