Google Adds New Smartphone Errors Report to Webmaster Tools

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Google is making it easier for webmasters to identify and address smartphone specific errors they might not have known about in the past. Previously, detecting and fixing errors that happen on smartphone errors was complicated, so the search engine added a section to the crawl errors report in Webmaster Tools that displays the more common errors Google sees webmasters make in regards to how mobile users access their site.

Pierre Far, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst announced the feature earlier today, saying that some of the errors may “significantly hurt your website’s user experience and are the basis of some of our recently-announced ranking changes for smartphone search results.” While Google is trying to help make it easier for webmasters to solve problems with their site, the search engine is also using this as another means to push webmasters towards making their sites more mobile friendly.

The new report for smartphone errors looks like this:

Smartphone Errors

Some of the errors included are:

  • Server errors: A server error is when Googlebot got an HTTP error status code when it crawled the page.
  • Not found errors and soft 404’s: A page can show a “not found” message to Googlebot, either by returning an HTTP 404 status code or when the page is detected as a soft error page.
  • Faulty redirects: A faulty redirect is a smartphone-specific error that occurs when a desktop page redirects smartphone users to a page that is not relevant to their query. A typical example is when all pages on the desktop site redirect smartphone users to the homepage of the smartphone-optimized site.
  • Blocked URLs: A blocked URL is when the site’s robots.txt explicitly disallows crawling by Googlebot for smartphones. Typically, such smartphone-specific robots.txt disallow directives are erroneous. You should investigate your server configuration if you see blocked URLs reported in Webmaster Tools.

Not only are these errors capable of ruining the user experience for visitors on mobile devices, they can severely damage your site’s visibility if you don’t resolve the issues quickly. At least now there is a convenient way for you to find the problems.

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