Google recently warned about mobile affiliate networks that bounce users to landing pages they were not aware of and ruining the experience of using mobile devices to search online. The site could end up hurting your site’s search rankings.
What is the Issue?
While many mobile affiliate networks are legitimate and clicking on them will take you to the advertised page, some of these ads use redirects that take users to an entirely different website. Sometimes they even bounce users from one site to another. This can be frustrating for the end user, especially when using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. The website publisher, and even the advertiser, may not know about code added to redirect mobile users to other sites. The deceptive redirect usually targets mobile devices because clicking on the same ad on a desktop will open the site normally. Not only is being redirected to a totally unrelated site frustrating for the mobile user, but they could be redirected to a site containing malware, which could infect their device.
Since many webmasters have no idea if they have a deceptive mobile affiliate ad on their site, they should take steps to make sure they don’t by frequently checking the ads. This can be done by using a smartphone to click on ads and see where they are redirected. If the ad takes them to a totally different site than advertised, the ad should be removed from the site.
Look at the reviews for your website to see if users are complaining about being redirected elsewhere by ads on your site. In addition, webmasters should monitor site analytics for any unusual user behavior or changes in patterns of use. Sometimes these deceptive redirects are the result of your site being hacked and not intentional on part of the advertiser.
Consequences of Ads
The only real recourse Google, and other search engines, have in situations like this is to downgrade your search engine rankings. This will make it more difficult for potential clients to find your site, which means your competitors will be able to get the clients you should have had. It is a direct violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines to use a redirect on a site that displays content that wasn’t made available to their search engine crawler.
Google did not specifically announce the consequences of using these ads, but they did say they are working diligently on the issue and taking action against deceptive mobile network affiliate ads. While using affiliate ads can be a good way to generate income on a website, unless your firm needs to do so, you shouldn’t put these sort of ads on your site. The potential consequences could undo all of the hard work to increase your search engine rankings.