Considering the fact that Web-enabled smartphones represent 75% of the total “active” smartphone population in the U.S., there is a gigantic need for business owners to work together with web developers to make sure that their smartphone-optimized websites are configured in a way that allows searchers on their mobile devices to find the information they’re seeking and be able to consume that information without issue. Simple as this may seem, there appears to be a number of common issues related specifically to smartphone-optimized websites. Google addressed the topic in a blog article posted to Webmaster Central earlier this month, and used the opportunity to promote their new Crawl Errors feature in Webmaster Tools.
Here are the eight crawl concerns and other errors that trends analysts at Google have found to be most disruptive to search results and website viewing experiences on smartphones:
- Server errors or “HTTP Error” status notices during page crawls
- Blocked URLs—where crawling by Googlebot for smartphones was interrupted by the website’s robots.txt
- Unexpected 404s and other “Not Found” errors experienced by Googlebot for smartphones
- Videos that won’t play due to format issues (use of Flash vs. HTML5)
- Faulty redirects that were smartphone-specific and resulted in the desktop version of the site redirecting smartphone traffic to a page that’s irrelevant to their original search
- App download interstitials that result in indexing issues with smartphone-optimized content
- Page load speed issues with smartphone-optimized websites (lengthy loading times)
- Cross-linking that’s irrelevant to search interests (linking to desktop-optimized version of a page instead of mobile-optimized or the reverse)
Obviously, fixing any or all of these errors and concerns will do a wealth of good for your mobile search results and mobile web user experience. And, if you’re planning to build a smartphone-enabled website at any time in the near future, this is a list of items to keep handy when talking to your developer.
In the end, it should be known that building smartphone-optimized websites is a design and development effort that’s become so much more than simply altering the size of the website and making orientation adjustments so that it loads fast and makes use of the native screen resolution on any given smartphone. The new Crawl Errors feature in Google Webmaster Tools is a great means for helping identify errors and concerns with mobile-optimized pages on your website. You can find the smartphone errors tab in Webmaster Tools by logging in at any time.
This article is brought to you by Rank Fuse Interactive, which serves both businesses and agencies alike. We specialize in all things related to mobile marketing, including Mobile Site Design, Mobile SEO, and Mobile App Development.