New Google Mobile Search Feature Warns Users About Broken Sites

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If your brand has been slow to give your customers, fans and users a great mobile experience, Google is going to start calling you out on it.

In a recent blog post, the Google team described the mobile nuisance known as a faulty redirect. These faulty redirects occur when a mobile user taps on a Google search result expecting one thing, but ends up on the brand’s mobile homepage. This usually occurs because the brand’s site isn’t set up to accommodate smartphones and other mobile devices. In order to cut down on these issues, they’ve begun serving warnings in their search results, like the one seen below. They’ve also begun notifying webmasters off the issues that searchers are running into when trying to access their mobile site.

search result redirect

What does this mean for my brand?

In short, it means that mobile should rank high on your brand’s list of digital priorities. Adam McCrimmon, Director of Digital Strategy & UX at HY Connect, explains, “When creating websites, there seems to be this misconception that the mobile site can be less robust than its desktop equivalent. Usually this is done through limitation of content or features and the inclusion of the lackluster ‘view full site’ link. Somehow, the investment in making a full featured mobile version is often labeled a luxury. While that may have been true in 2007; in 2014, a robust mobile experience is no longer a luxury. It’s a requirement.”

The numbers don’t lie.

“Most sites are now seeing at least 15-30% of their traffic from mobile devices,” McCrimmon details. “Not giving those users an optimized experience is equivalent to telling those people that you don’t want their business.”

And that is exactly how snubbed mobile users interpret it. Nearly half of consumers say they won’t return to a website if it doesn’t load properly on their mobile devices, and 57% of users won’t recommend a business with a poor mobile site.

Mobile is the present and the future.

Mobile is predicted to overtake desktop Internet usage this year, and more and more brands are recognizing mobile as the future of digital marketing. “Over the last five years at HYC we’ve seen the number of mobile inclusive projects go from 25% up to around 95%,” McCrimmon reports, noting that consumer behavior and forward-thinking client brands have both contributed to this dramatic increase. As a result, this Google mobile search feature could be seen as just the beginning of a much larger mobile optimization effort.

“It’s likely this update from Google is just the first step in their attempt to help people navigate the rocky landscape of the mobile web,” McCrimmon predicts. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see a future update that warns a user if the mobile version of a site has different content or features than the non-mobile version.”

Looking for ways to make your brand’s site mobile friendly? Check out our mobile optimization tools here.