Updated: Google penalizes mobile sites using sneaky redirects

Google takes action on mobile sites that trick users into being redirected to an unwanted website from the mobile search results page. This Twitter post was just to remind webmasters not to use sneaky redirects.

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In October 2015, Google warned webmasters not to trick mobile users by redirecting them to an unsuspecting website. Well, today, Google announced on Google+ and Twitter that they have been “taking action on sites that sneakily redirect mobile users to spammy domains.” Google issued a correction with Search Engine Land that they did not issue any new manual actions recently, that this post on Twitter was just to remind webmasters not to use sneaky redirects.

Google wrote, “As mentioned in Webspam Report 2015, spam reports from users are an important part of our spam-fighting efforts. They often help us surface issues that frustrate users — like the trend of websites redirecting mobile users to other, often spammy domains.” Google added, “to combat this trend, we have been taking action on sites that sneakily redirect users in this way.”

Sneaky redirects are never a good thing, and Google has penalized websites for directing users to a site they do not expect to go to from the search results. The same for those using a mobile device and searching on Google’s mobile results. Google wants the user to land on a site they expect to land on based on the snippet Google shows.

Here is an illustration of that behavior:


Google added that “if your site has been affected, read this Help Center article on detecting and getting rid of unwanted sneaky mobile redirects.”

We are in the process of getting more details from Google on this announcement.

Postscript: Google has updated us, telling us that this an old notification, and no new manual actions have been sent out today.

About the author

Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz is a technologist and a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics.

In 2019, Barry was awarded the Outstanding Community Services Award from Search Engine Land, in 2018 he was awarded the US Search Awards the "US Search Personality Of The Year," you can learn more over here and in 2023 he was listed as a top 50 most influential PPCer by Marketing O'Clock.

Barry can be followed on X here and you can learn more about Barry Schwartz over here or on her personal site.

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