Isn’t it annoying when after clicking on a search result on your smartphone, you land up on the site’s homepage instead of the page you were expecting? Google calls this “faulty redirects” and says this happens because the website is not optimized to handle requests from smartphones.
To help webmasters fix these faulty redirects and prevent users from landing on irrelevant pages, Google has provided a list of guidelines in its Webmaster Central Blog. Now whenever it finds out smartphone users are redirected to the site’s homepage rather than the desired page, Google will display an annotation just below the result. The note will indicate clicking on the result might take you to the site’s homepage. If you still wish to continue, you can click on “Try anyway.”
To help webmasters direct their users to the page they are looking for, Google has also provided a list of guidelines. Here’s the rundown:
- The best way to understand more about the user experience on your mobile site, says Google, is to conduct a couple of searches via your own mobile phone or a browser which is designed like a smartphone. This will let you see how your site behaves for mobile based searches.
- Whenever Google detects a particular page of your website is directing users to the homepage, it sends you a message. It also displays the number of faulty redirects detected in the Smartphone Crawl Errors section of the Webmaster Tools. Therefore, it is recommended to keep a regular track of your Webmaster Tools.
- To investigate and fix faulty redirects Google recommends using the example URLs provided in the Webmaster Tools to identify the problem with your server configuration.
- Set up your server so that it redirects smartphone users to the equivalent URL on your smartphone site.
- If a particular page on your website does not have a smartphone optimized version, then rather than directing the users to the site’s homepage, it is better to keep them on the desktop version of the page.
- You can also try using the responsive web design. It serves the same content to both desktop and mobile users.