According to the W3Techs, 13.8% of websites are still running on Adobe Flash. Devices running on iOS or Android 4.1 or higher will no longer support flash-based websites and Google is going the extra mile to let mobile users know.
Google explained in a blog post that search results will attempt to forewarn users when a website will not function properly on smartphone. But if users still want to access the page, they can click “Try anyway” (see picture below).
Google wants website owners and web designers to adopt a website design that is modern—one that is created with HTML5 rather than Adobe Flash. According to a Report by Cisco, by 2017 mobile browsing is predicted to override PC searches by 20%! Now is not the time to fall behind on making your website compatible for mobile.
For instance, when we searched for architects in Naperville. A local architect that has a good looking site has his website flagged by Google because it was created with Flash.
Here is what flash websites looks like when viewed on an iPhone, iPad and Mac computers.
Why do we say flash sucks? Because Google can’t read flash sites. Users might be able to read a text on a flash site, but the text isn’t crawlable for search engines. Which is why HTML5 is a preferred method for creating search engine optimized websites. You can check if a website is made with flash by doing a right-mouse click on an image.
A second change Google has made towards improving mobile user search experiences is by identifying sites with faulty redirects.
Faulty Redirects for Mobile Search
A Faulty redirect happens when a smartphone user is lead to a page different from the page showing in the search results. This happens because a webpage is not set up to handle search requests from smartphones. According to Google, a typical example is when all pages on the desktop site redirect smartphone users to the homepage of the smartphone-optimized site.
So, let’s say that a user sees a search result to webpage that reads: www.mysite.com/how-to-create-a-responsive-website.html
If that webpage isn’t supported, they will be redirected to: www.mysite.com
Therefore, that mobile user just experienced a faulty redirect.
How to Diagnose a Faulty Redirect
The simplest way to see if your website is misconfigured on a smartphone is to view your website on a mobile phone.
Fortunately, website owners can identify pages that are being redirected with Google Webmaster tools. You can also view other crawl errors under the smartphone category.
How to Fix a Faulty Redirect
There are a few ways that Google explains how to fix faulty redirects.
If a page doesn’t have a smartphone page that is equivalent, website owners can direct users to the correct desktop page, rather than having google guess what the right page is. The next option is to create a mobile-friendly website.
Google’s Recommendations for Creating Smartphone-optimized Websites
- Responsive Web Design same HTML on URL and CSS renders the site. *preferred method by Google.
- Dynamic Serving: Different HTML for one URL.
- Separate Mobile URL: Redirects users to a different URL.
The Big Question: Does having a mobile-friendly site impact your SEO efforts?
The short answer is: Yes. Why? Google has been working towards developing an algorithm that addresses bad mobile experiences. Providing smartphone users with a smooth mobile experience will determine a page’s ranking. Site owners can potently see a decrease in click-through rates for sites that are not-mobile friendly.
It’s best to create a website that is responsive than to worry about creating an an additional site for a different mobile experience. Google appears to encourage brands to use responsive design for mobile and tablet users rather than using an m. subdomain name. What site owners should consider is whether they need to provide an entirely different experience for mobile users. If not, then upgrading to a website that is responsive is good for now.