Net66: Google Updates Guidelines on “Sneaky” Redirects

Page redirects have long been a form of “cloaking”. Which is bad in terms of Google. The reason why, because when you cloak a page, you’re effectively showing Google one page and the user a different page.

The reason this is so frowned upon is because the website could show Google a nice, relevant, high quality page full of great tips and advice, and then show a regular user a page of adverts. Bad idea.

This has been taken to an extreme where people will rank a page for the desktop, but when a user tries to access that page on a mobile device, they’re redirected to a completely different domain. Google had added the following into their webmaster guidelines to clear up exactly what is deemed outside their webmaster guidelines:

> Search engines shown one type of content while users are redirected to something significantly different
> Desktop users receive a normal page, while mobile users are redirected to a completely different spam domain

Google takes issues like this very seriously and will take manual action against your website if it does believe your website is violating their webmaster guidelines. Penalties can be a drop in your rankings and in rare cases it can involve the de-indexing of your whole website.

They also updated their terms on hacker websites that have redirects on them with the following:

“Hackers might inject malicious code to your website that redirects some users to harmful or spammy pages. The kind of redirect sometimes depends on referrer, user-agent, or device. For example, clicking a URL in Google search results could redirect you to a suspicious page, but there is no redirect when you visit the same URL directly from a browser.”

Blog Post by: Greg McVey