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07

Sep 2015

Mobile Websites: 5 Common SEO Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Mobile websites are here for quite a while. However, webmasters are still making those common mistakes particular to mobile websites. Here I have highlighted 7 of those mistakes that negatively impact mobile websites’ ranking:

1. Blocked JavaScript

Mistakes:

Many webmasters, intentionally or unintentionally, block Googlebot’s access JavaScript, CSS and image files. Contrary to popular belief, Google can index JavaScript files like any other website elements. Blocking your website’s robot.txt access to JavaScript can adversely affect your website’s rendering and indexing, consequently, affecting the rankings.

Solution:

Check Googlebots’ access to your website’s JavaScript using the “Fetch as Google” in Google Webmaster Tools. If there is a problem or an indexing issue, you can identify and fix it.

2. Unplayable Videos or animations

Mistake:

Many times a video, well playable on a desktop browser, may refuse to play on a mobile device. This could be because of license-constraint media or requirement of Flash or similar propriety players that are unavailable on mobile devices.

A user when visits such content on a mobile device, encounters an error message like the following.

video-paly-error

Such errors are frustrating for users and leads to high website bounce rates and lower conversion rates.

Solution:

To make sure every video on your mobile website is playable, favour HTML5 animations and videos over videos based flash and other proprietary technologies and video formats.

3. Wrong Redirects

Mistake:

In case of a separate mobile website, webmasters often redirects a desktop URL to the homepage of the mobile website when accessed through a mobile browser even when a comparable or similar URL is available on the mobile website. This is a malpractice and it confuses users.

Solution:

In case of a separate mobile website, properly map desktop website’s URL with mobile website’s URL. Fix any desktop URL unnecessarily redirecting to the homepage.

Faulty redirects are also visible under Smartphone Crawl Errors section of Webmaster Tools.

4. Mobile-only 404s

Mistake:

A perfectly looking page on a desktop website may return a 404 page on a mobile website. This is a bad user experience. To ensure the best user experience, redirect him to an equivalent page on your mobile website if available.

Solution:

If an equivalent page is unavailable, abort the redirection and keep the user on the desktop page.

If possible, implement a website wide mobile responsive web design and keep the hassle of managing redirects aside.

5. Interstitials

Mistake:

Websites showing interstitials, completely blanketing the content is annoying to the users. Interstitials are frequently used for promoting a website’s native app, mailing list sign-up forms, or some form of advertisements. A person who’s landed on your website to check an intriguing piece of content may get offended on finding it covered by an annoying pop-up. This is especially frustrating on, small-sized, mobile devices.

Solution:

Promote your native app inline with the page content. In addition, use mobile browser specific banners: Smart App Banners for Safari or Native App Banners for Chrome.

By following these simple yet effective tips, your mobile website design will become clutter free and will have a rich user experience while your website will be seeing an improved visibility in Google SERP.

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