I’ll start my blog with very interesting news for mobile users using Google. Ok, not so interesting news for mobile users, but for me as an web analyst this is a big thing. Starting from November I noticed big change on our company’s different mobile sites. We use Adobe SiteCatalyst, but this issue surely concerns every analytics tools. On our mobile sites traffic from Google started to increase very strongly, but at the same time traffic from our site’s web-version started to decrease.
First I thought that there was something wrong with our mobile redirect. I started to test different scenarios. I loaded web-version from my mobile phone and it went normally to our web-version and then the browser asked if I want to go mobile version of the site -> Everything ok and this way the traffic source is “other company sites” aka our web-version of the site. After that I started to do Google searches on my mobile phone and when clicked links on Google’s search result to our web-version of the site I was redirected directly to our mobile site. Wow, what happened!? I clicked links to our web-version and Google moved me to our mobile site without the normal question from the browser “would you like to use the mobile-optimized site”? My first reaction was that Google knows from cookies I like to use mobile site with my mobile phone. I deleted cache and cookies from my browser on the mobile phone and tested again with the same result, Google redirected me again to mobile site directly from search results. I asked my colleagues to test this too and they had the same result.
I still wanted some kind of fact from Google and started to search from Google “why Google redirect mobile users directly from search results” etc, but couldn’t find any information related to this. I did Google searches about one hour until I found one article about this and got my confirmation that I interpreted the situation correctly. Seoroundtable.com had noticed this already on January, but strangely this news hasn’t go big on our industry or then I’m blind, deaf and don’t no how to find information with Google search. Anyway, since there aren’t much information about this or at least it’s hard to find I realized that I need to do my own article about this. Oh, almost forgot the link to the original article that is on Seoroundtable.com and here is the link: http://www.seroundtable.com/google-skip-redirect-16208.html (there is also link to some discussions about this issue)
Is this good or a bad thing? Well, I guess this is a matter of opinion and don’t now what to really think of it. We tend to hate if we are not able to choose our self what to do in this situation, but of course most people want to use the mobile-optimized site and that’s why the change is user-friendly. As an web analyst I’m not so happy about the change, because if I have to analyze how well our mobile site is optimized for Google searches then it’s little difficult, because now I don’t know has mobile user from Google seen and clicked link for web-version or mobile version of our site. Or is there a way to analyze this, any ideas? I mean, of course we can still see different rankings for mobile site, but if we have e.g. 1000 weekly visits from Google to our mobile site – the question is how many have really clicked link to mobile site and not for web-version? In short and simply asked, what is the normal amount of mobile traffic that we get (without web-version)?
Or any other comments about this matter? You are free to comment anything related to this, thanks.
UPDATE eighth of January: Searchengineland.com has a nice update to this issue. Nice to hear that in the future we can analyze this kind of traffic more detailed way with or without the mobile redirect: http://searchengineland.com/google-webmaster-tools-search-queries-adds-more-details-no-longer-rounds-data-181246