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Google Warns Smartphone Users on Non-Functional Web Pages

Smartphone UsersSmartphone users browsing the Internet face problems when certain websites require browser technologies not supported on their device. When users try to access such web pages, the browser will show up a blank space or a page with incomplete content. Google has now added on a feature that can identify websites that will not run properly on some mobile browsers and warn smartphone users about these non-functional web pages. The feature is available for English search results in the United States.

What exactly is the warning that the search engine giant displays on sites that are not search-friendly? In their official blog post, the team talks mainly about the anti-flash player message. Adobe Flash is not supported on iOS devices or devices that use Android versions 4.1 and higher. If users access a page that contains mostly Flash content through such devices, Google’s algorithms will detect the pages that may not work on these devices and point this out with a warning message that says, “Uses Flash. May not work on your device”.

Example Website

To develop multi-device websites, Google says web developers can use HTML5 to design the websites instead of Flash as it is universally supported (at times exclusively) by almost all devices. One of the major reasons why HTML5 is a better choice for mobile devices is that HTML5 offers two things for online video over Flash — mobile capabilities and semantic markup. With semantic structures, it is possible to build HTML5 projects with multiple interrelated pieces that can be understood by web crawlers. Moreover, web crawlers and search engines cannot see inside of Flash so that Flash videos show up without any extra information. The other main benefits of HTML5 are:

  • It is comparatively cheaper and faster (reduces development time). This option supports modern browser support for visual styling so great-looking effects are possible without laborious image slicing techniques
  • There is no need to update HTML5 web apps manually as the updates happen automatically for users. Those who visit the app or use it will only see the app’s latest version. Therefore, the mobile app provider or developer does not have to provide support for multiple versions of the app
  • It can be used to create hybrid apps. No approval is required to publish these apps on application markets if they are HTML5 apps

In addition to the warning message, Google also provides two resources namely Web Fundamentals and Web Starter Kit to help build websites that work on all devices. The former is a curated source for modern best practices, with which you can build responsive design, while the latter is a starter framework that supports the Web Fundamentals best practices out of the box. However, the Google team recommends not blocking the crawling of any Googlebot of the page assets (CSS, JavaScript, and images) that use robots.txt or otherwise. The ability to access these external files, allows the search engine algorithms to detect the site’s responsive configuration and treat it suitably.

About Rajeev Rajagopal

Rajeev Rajagopal

Rajeev Rajagopal is the Vice President of Managed Outsource Solutions, a leading BPO company in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Prior to joining MOS, he worked as a physical therapist. Having worked in several rehabilitation clinics, Rajeev has learned the importance of good medical records for medical billing and liability issues and the importance of the good back and front office support. He has extensive knowledge in SEO, medical billing and coding, and medical transcription. He has worked with a number of large organizations to effectively manage and provide outsourcing solutions.