Get rid of unwanted mobile redirects – Update from Google

Sometimes it is fine if different content is shown on different devices. This includes modification of images or optimization of the menus on your websites to make browsing much easier. These user- centric modifications should be implemented properly in order to be understood well by Google. This is similar to mobile redirecting which is done to improve mobile experience of the users. But this turns out to be bad if the users are redirected towards the wrong content and goes against Google’s webmaster guidelines. A number of cases have been reported where the same url opens the correct page on desktop, but leads to an unrelated url when opened through mobile.

In some cases, the webmasters knowingly implement redirection rules for mobile users. Also, there are other situations in which the site owners are not aware of the ‘mobile – only sneaky redirects’ happening. This can happen through two ways – firstly through the advertisement schemes and secondly because of the site being hacked. In the former case, a script that displays ads might also be redirecting the users to a different site and the webmaster might not even come to know of it. In the latter case, if the website has been hacked, the users can be redirected to malicious domains.

The question is how do you detect these sneaky mobile redirects on your site? You can always try navigating through your site on mobile and see if any of the links redirect you elsewhere. While debugging you can go for mobile emulation in browsers since it allows you to test for a number of devices. Always listen to what your users have to say as they see your site with a perspective different than yours. Paying attention to any user complaints can make you aware of any mobile UX related issues.

Go through your website’s analytics data. It could reveal any unusual user activity. Google Analytics alerts can be set up any if you want to receive alerts informing of any big changes in the user activity. However, Google says that such sharp changes might not always mean that sneaky redirects are taking place on your website.

Oops! You detected sneaky redirects on your site. What to do now?

The ‘Security Issues tool’ can reveal some information if your website has been hacked. If no hacking is involved, then Google suggests you investigate any third-party elements installed on your site to see if they are causing redirects. Make sure you choose advertisers who follow a transparent advertising scheme.

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