There are things that we put on web sites that we know annoy users. We know they annoy users because they annoy us as well.
But it can be hard to convince your boss or your stakeholders that they shouldn’t do something that is annoying when so many other sites are doing it.
That’s why it is so encouraging when Google decides to penalize sites that utilize these practices. Now you can say to your stakeholders:
- So you want to add a full screen ad to encourage people to download your app before they can read your content? Go ahead and do it if you want to decrease your search rankings. Oh and by the way, people really hate these download my app pages.
- So you’re going to redirect mobile users to your mobile home page? Ok, but you’re going to piss people off, and it is going to affect your search engine rankings. And really, URLs should just work no matter what device someone happens to be using at the time.
- Oh hey, you’ve got a mobile design, but it is still downloading all of the desktop assets? Well, now not only will people never see your wonderful design because it will take too long to load, but you’ll also be penalized by the search engines for serving such a slow site. As I’ve said before, the first thing you should do to optimize your desktop site for mobile, is make it fast no matter how it looks on a phone.
In general, I think people spend too much time focusing on search engine optimization hacks and not enough time on writing and producing compelling content or products. But in this case, Google is changing their algorithms that penalize bad practices and create more better sites for users and we’d be foolish not to use this to try to win arguments.
So the next time you’re in a debate with someone who wants to put a big ad on every page to get people to download their app, appeal to their humanity. Remind them that they are hurting people.
And if that doesn’t persuade them, appeal to their wallet. Tell them that they will be shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to search engine rankings.