Another day, another Good Guy Google announcement (even if it was yesterday): everyone's favorite search giant just announced that it's really tired of mobile web pages that do this (click, read, sympathize immediately).

If you really don't want to click that link (you should, it's hilarious), allow me to explain. Ever notice how when you search the web on your smartphone, and you click a search result for a specific page or section of a website, sometimes it'll just throw you back to the mobile homepage, with no respect to the page you actually asked for? Of course you have. It's happened to everyone, and it's absolutely infuriating, especially if the page you're looking for isn't even available on the mobile site. Here's a nice illustration of that kind of "doing it wrong" behavior:

N1 redirects

Google, like you, is really tired of this. They're so tired of it that they're hanging the threat of reduced mobile search rankings over the heads of websites that do it. There are reasons some sites do this - mostly laziness - but the fact is it creates a really terrible user experience. And Google isn't stopping there with the demands. Oh yes, it gets better. Here are other behaviors Google is targeting as a basis for downrankification (in mobile searches):

  • 404ing or "soft" 404ing visits from smartphones to desktop pages - Google wants a redirect to the equivalent mobile page to be served.
  • Giving errors on a mobile web page stating the content is not available on mobile - you must provide the equivalent desktop page to the user if that page is not available on your mobile site.
  • Flash or other unplayable video embeds on mobile web pages.

Overall, Google wants web pages to stop being annoying and misdirecting smartphone users to useless mobile homepages, error pages, or video they can't watch. It wants the web to be a mobile-friendly sort of place. To be clear: Google is not requiring anyone to actually have a mobile site, but it wants those with them to behave in a way that will not provide dead-ends or useless redirects, or give users the runaround on what is or isn't available on mobile.

And that's just fine with me.

Google Webmaster Central Blog