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Faulty redirects

The Faulty redirect error appears in the URL Errors section of the Crawl > Crawl Errors page under the Smartphones tab.

Some websites use separate URLs to serve desktop and smartphone users and configure desktop pages to direct smartphone users to the mobile site (e.g. A faulty redirect occurs when a desktop page incorrectly redirects smartphone users to a smartphone page not relevant to their query. A typical example of this occurs when all desktop pages redirect smartphone users to the homepage of the smartphone-optimized site. In the figure below, the redirects shown with red arrows indicate faulty redirects:

This kind of redirect disrupts users' workflow and can cause them to stop using the site and look elsewhere, so when our systems detect that smartphone results redirect to a homepage instead of a relevant URL, the Search results provide a note to the user:

May open the site's home page.

A user can still access the link by clicking Try Anyway. Even if a user perseveres and finds the correct page on the smartphone-optimized site, an irrelevant redirect makes them work harder to find your page on a slower mobile network. In addition to frustrating users, faulty redirects can cause problems with our crawling, indexing, and ranking algorithms.

Following are some tips to help you create a mobile-friendly search experience and avoid faulty redirects:

  • Do a few searches on your own phone (or set your browser to act like a smartphone) to see how your site behaves.
  • Use the example URLs provided in the report as a starting point to debug exactly where the problem is with your server configuration.
  • Set up your server so that it redirects smartphone users to the equivalent URL on your smartphone site.
  • If a page on your site doesn’t have a smartphone equivalent, keep users on the desktop page, rather than redirecting them to the smartphone site’s homepage. Doing nothing is better than doing something wrong in this case.
  • Consider using responsive web design, which serves the same content for desktop and smartphone users.
  • Finally, read our recommendations for having separate URLs for desktop and smartphone users.
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