If you have faulty redirects appearing in Google Webmaster Tools (GWT), now is the time to fix them! Faulty redirects DO impact rankings and now they’ll also impact CTR. Google just released an update to their SERPs which will notify users that they might be redirected to a page they didn’t intend to go to. What exactly is a faulty redirect, you ask? It is when you re-route mobile traffic headed to a non-mobile optimized page to your mobile-optimized home page. This often occurs when only the home page and a select few highly valuable pages are mobile-optimized, usually due to lack of immediate resources. How might this have happened? Your analytics probably demonstrated that a significant amount of mobile traffic visited your desktop-optimized website only to quickly bounce off or have low engagement compared to your desktop-device users. You realize something should be done to stop the bleeding, but instead of fixing the problem the right way, you select only a handful of pages to optimize due to lack of resources instead of optimizing the whole site. Yep. So while everyone is jumping on the mobile bandwagon, you, for whatever reason, think mobile is just a fad that will soon go away (hint: mobile is here to stay). You still need to appease those demanding C-Level Execs as well as your mobile-savvy visitors so you decide that, instead of creating a mobile-friendly experience for your entire site, you’ll take a shortcut and only optimize the homepage, redirecting all mobile traffic to that one page. Here’s essentially what you’re saying: “Hello there, mobile user! I see you’re looking for a page on my site. I’d love to give you EXACTLY what you’re looking for but since I’m lazy and haven’t taken the time to implement a mobile-ready site, I’ll just simply redirect you to my homepage which is mobile-ready – cool shortcut ey?” NOT! Why would you FORCE a potential customer back to the beginning of the conversion funnel? Why would you not give the best experience to your potential customer? You are trying to make money here, right? Have you ever called a customer service line (remember, these lines are there to serve the customer, much like your site) and after selecting your option, are dropped from the call? I know! It’s like, WHAT just happened? So what are your options? You can do one the following:
- Best Option - Create a fully mobile optimized website, preferably using responsive web design. This method serves the same content for desktop and mobile users on the same URL.
- Lazy Option - Just remove the redirects to the homepage and serve users the same content they would see on the desktop.
- Even-Lazier Option - Do nothing. Faulty redirects will continue to impact your rankings and will now have a lower CTR due to this hideous warning notification.