You’re using your smartphone on the commute to/from work, you see an interesting link on your social network of choice and so tap on it, however instead of a funny cat gif you see the homepage of the mobile version of the website.
I am going to go out on a limb and assume that pretty much everyone who uses a smartphone has had a near identical experience to this one.
It is an unfortunate reality that many websites have not adapted to the multi device world and have created many bad user experience patterns – see wtfmobileweb.com for examples of how bad it can get for users – you’ve probably come across quite a few of them.
Thankfully the future is not looking so bright for those sites that are ignoring the multi device web and are providing users with poor experiences. Why? Because Google are going to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.
What do Google mean by misconfigured site?
Simply a website that fails to deliver the content a searcher was promised to get.
There are many ways in which websites do this, common ones are:
- the bad redirect described above
- mobile only error pages – page works fine on desktop but shows error on mobile
- “door slamming” – blocking access to the content by inviting users to download the mobile app or asking them to complete a survey
Fortunately most of them can be avoided by building a mobile-first responsive website. Those that can’t, like door slamming, are a symptom of what happens when you put your own needs and wants ahead of the users. For more on this, you could do worse than reading a reader first internet.
The main take away from all this is that you should be making your website future friendly; don’t make it for today, make it for tomorrow. Think how outdated and broken all those mobile sites that mimic the look and feel of iOS as it is today will look once iOS 7 is out.
So respect your users, remove friction, and remember that content is king; otherwise, you will be hit by a double whammy, those who find your website won’t come back and Google will ensure that less people will find it.