Mobile redirect is a code that redirects a mobile visitor to a different page from the page that is shown to users of desktop PCs and laptops.
Google employees once again reported that they would take action against webmasters who intentionally or accidentally put mobile redirects on their sites.
Back in 2014, Google clarified its position on malicious redirects on mobile devices, but now it has announced an even deeper look at this problem. Webmasters should understand that the search engine notices more and more unwanted and misleading redirects.
Google Vincent Courson and Badr Salmi El Idrissi from the search quality improvement team noted:
"Redirecting mobile users to improve their perception of information (for example, redirect from example. Com / url1 on the mobile version of m. example. com / url1) is most often useful for them. But the fraudulent substitution of one page for another with completely different content negatively affects the quality of web surfing and goes against Google’s principles. "
The situation is extremely unpleasant for the user. For example, when the same URL is in mobile and desktop delivery, and it opens in different ways in a portable device and a PC (completely different and often irrelevant content), a frustrated person leaves the page. Search quality is declining, so Google is struggling with such redirects pretty hard.
Employees emphasize that sometimes redirection occurs against the will of the webmaster. Most often, this happens due to the placement of bad ads or hacker attacks.
Google makes recommendations to identify such redirect cases:
Here’s another tip from Google about this problem:
"Redirecting users to a page different from the one available to the search engine. This is a violation of Webmaster Recommendations. To ensure the quality of its output, the Google team takes action against violators, to the exclusion of URL addresses with a mobile redirect from the output.
When we notice a violation, we send a message to the site owner through the tools for Webmasters. Therefore, make sure that your site is added to this service.
Check that you have selected "transparent" advertising systems for publishing ads on the site. This will help avoid redirecting smartphone users to other sites without your knowledge. "
This topic was touched on in Yandex’s blog back in 2011. Employees of the Russian-language search engine believe that any doorways do not carry value for the user, and therefore should not appear in the issuance. They note that anti-virus programs easily detect malicious code, just like browsers with the Safe Browsing API. As a result, the flow of visitors to an infected Internet resource sometimes decreases several times.
Yandex strongly advises to abandon mobile redirects and not to participate in affiliate programs that offer monetization of “pocket” users in this way.
For a webmaster, the time-detected malicious code becomes a big problem: much of the traffic is wasted, negative attitudes of visitors appear, potential customers are often redirected to a competitor's site. For example, in million-plus cities (in St. Petersburg or Moscow), up to 40% of people cannot reach the infected site. In medium and small locations, the site loses up to 25% of potential customers. In addition, a malicious redirect causes poor indexing.
Analysts from Morgan Stanley note that, presumably in a year, 87% of all devices accessing the Internet will be handheld computers and phones. This means that the problem of mobile redirects will take on enormous proportions.
Unfortunately, the recommendations given by the employees of the Yandex and Google search engines to webmasters do not always help to solve the problem. Modern viruses use the ip address of smartphones to detect new visitors to the site. On repeated visits, they react by slowing down the redirect, from which the user believes that some kind of error has occurred, and leaves the site.
Tricks used in malicious code also allow you to bypass anti-virus protection and hide the presence of a virus from the site owner for a long time.
In one of the Russian studies, it was noted that Google detected malware only in 20% of cases from 300 thousand analyzed sites, Yandex - in 33%.
Meanwhile, viruses with redirects steal personal data of smartphone users, withdraw money from accounts, offer to upload questionable applications, redirect obscene content to websites. It can be good for the reputation of the site owner, especially if the latter is owned by a large company.
Manual monitoring and anti-virus software does not always work effectively, so it’s advisable to think about connecting online services that check for mobile redirects around the clock.