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SEO News: Google Gets Serious About Mobile Search

African American girl looking at digital tablet

On February 26, 2015, Google announced changes designed to “help users discover more mobile-friendly content.” The company stated that the changes would help Google adapt to what its users expect from a mobile search. If your business website isn’t mobile-friendly, you could start paying for it in the search results. Fortunately, you have until April 21 before the changes go into effect.

If you’re not sure how to address these and other SEO issues, Topseos.com can help you access the best SEO companies on the Web that can help.

How to Make a Mobile-Friendly Website.

If you use a content management system like WordPress, you probably use a theme that incorporates responsive design. Responsive design adjusts a website’s appearance based on the type of device being used to browse it. It can also make adjustments based on device resolution.

Some businesses create separate websites for desktop and mobile devices. For example, if a tablet user navigates to a URL (yourbusiness.com), your website will redirect the device to a mobile version of your site (m.yourbusiness.com). However, according to Google’s Matt Cutts, having separate URLs, if you don’t use rel=canonical and other best practices to connect both sides, can end up splitting page traffic between your mobile and desktop sites. Because responsive sites have the same URL, traffic never divides up and hurts search rankings.

In addition to its search ranking benefits, responsive design maintains a consistent brand message across devices. No matter how the screen size changes, visuals, including image and typography, remain consistent. In fact, many designers start with a mobile website design and then expand their designs to include a desktop version. In most cases, it’s easier to expand designs than to shrink a desktop site into a mobile configuration.

Common Mobile SEO Mistakes.

Google lists seven problems that most commonly hurt mobile websites in the search rankings:

Problem 1: Blocked CSS, JavaScript, and Image Files.

Some mobile sites block Googlebot from crawling certain JavaScript, CSS, and image files. Google recommends using Google Webmaster Tools to check your website to see whether some of these files are blocking Googlebots. Then, edit the robots.txt file to remove code that looks like this:

  • Disallow: /*.css
  • Disallow: /*.js
  • Disallow: /images/

Problem 2: Unplayable Content.

If you incorporate players that aren’t mobile friendly, such as Flash, or use proprietary video players, you could have video content that doesn’t render well on mobile devices. Use video-embedding that works on all, and make sure animations follow HTML5 standards. Also, consider adding video transcripts to make the site more accessible.

Problem 3: Faulty Redirects.

Businesses that have separate desktop and mobile websites must have ironclad redirects in place. For instance, a smartphone-using visitor who wants to see the home page must be redirected to the mobile home page and not to another page. Check the “Crawl Errors” section of Google Webmaster Tools to see whether Google has detected faulty redirects.

Problem 4: 404s for Mobile Only.

Some websites are set up to display content to desktop users but to show 404 pages to mobile users that want to see the same content. Use “Crawl Errors” to find these mobile-only 404s. If you can’t render a page to mobile users, point the redirect to the mobile homepage.

Problem 5: App Download Interstitials.

Instead of displaying an interstitial that asks your visitors to download your mobile app, create an HTML banner pointing to your app so that the visitor’s use of your site isn’t disrupted.

Problem 6: Irrelevant Crosslinks.

If you have a link on your mobile site that says “View desktop site,” you should link not to your desktop’s homepage but directly to the page that the user wants to view.

Problem 7: Slow-Loading Mobile Pages.

Google is starting to show warnings for slow-loading pages in its search results. These warnings could cause visitors not to click on your URL. Check your website using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and its PageSpeed Insights. These tools will uncover issues that could affect your mobile site’s load speed.

Make the Changes Soon.

On April 21, Google will start prioritizing mobile-friendliness — to a greater degree than it already does — in its search results. It’s imperative to fix these mobile SEO problems so that you don’t take a hit in the search rankings. Find an SEO agency that can help you make your website mobile-friendly.


Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.

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  • Krista Carter

    Yes in the recent post of Official Webmaster blog by Google they had announced that increased weight-age will be given for mobile friendly websites. This new change will effect mobile search in all languages. which will have a significant impact on the search results.