Webmasters, Beware: Google Now Looks Closer at Deceitful Mobile Redirects

Imagine yourself searching for a local plumber. You look it up on Google to get hold of someone nearest your home to fix your pipes ASAP. The results are out, but after clicking the first site, you find yourself staring at a catalog of modern sinks. You go back, click the next one, then a toilet ad pops up. You hit close, but it takes you to a collection of discount bathroom fixtures anyway. It’s frustrating, obviously. But apparently, more and more of these instances take place, winning the attention (and most likely the ire) of Google as of late. In less than two months, the Internet giant delivered two warnings to webmasters about the use of deceptive mobile-based redirects, specifically mobile affiliate traffic driving networks. As an experienced SEO company in Colorado, C1 Partners know what this means—war; and you don’t want to be at the opposing side of Google.

Bane and Boon

Nobody says redirecting is forbidden. As a matter of fact, doing so makes your pages SEO and user-friendly. Whenever you make URL changes, a simple redirection lets you preserve the value of all the links pointing to your page. Redirecting is even more beneficial in improving user experience, like bringing visitors to the mobile-friendly version of your pages when they initially click the URLs meant for desktop in the SERPs. However, a redirect can take a visitor to a completely unrelated location, which has a direct and grave effect on user experience. Such occurrence clashes with the mission and vision of the guardian of the Web that is Google.

Intentional or Not

Be it a computing oversight, a sly ad, or a case of hacking, the means is never an excuse to justify the end. Guilty or not, Google would penalize the sites in the wrong. From Google’s point of view, webmasters are solely responsible for anything that’s happening to their website. You ought to know how every single page performs and how exactly visitors react when navigating through your pages. Any redirect that compromises user experience is an absolute no-no, meriting a rightful punishment in Google’s book.

Detection as Protection

Despite its low tolerance on deceptive mobile redirects, the search giant is never unreasonable. Google knows spotting such illicit activities is not a walk in the park—and definitely not a job for them alone. To give you a hand in detecting unhealthy redirects, Google has three simple steps you should follow:
  • Browse through your site using a mobile device several times a week, and check for any redirection.
  • Keep an eye on user complaints about your site all the time. And,
  • Track any unusual change or behavior of users using your site’s analytics data.
This way, you yourself can find out when you fell victim to hackers or dishonest advertisers. Not only do these practices allow you to keep valuable traffic within your site, they also help you constantly improve on your site’s user experience—which is the most important thing in today’s SEO. If you suspect someone’s bouncing your visitors off your site, don’t hesitate to contact us. Get in touch with us now, and we’ll help redirect your users back to their desired pages.0