|Checklist for Mobile Site Optimization?|
I am new to Mobile Site Optimization.
I have e-commerce desktop website xyz.com now i want to go with mobile site with domain mobile.xyz.com
Can any one provide me the SEO checklist for mobile website and what are the major factors i have to consider when optimizing the mobile site.
When I create a mobile version of a website my primary goal is to help usability which boost profits. I do not create a mobile version just to gain mobile SEO advantage. Actually the sites I have made more mobile friendly have become less dependent on SEO since the amount of direct traffic from mobile users greatly increases.
If you are going to create a mobile version you should pay attention to your content. Be aware about possible duplicate content issues. Also make sure your mobile version does not suppress the helpful unique content of your pages when you slim down the pages for mobile users.
How to avoid duplicate content issues?
When you write mobile are you referring to high-end phones or tablets since most well-constructed sites will render perfectly on 7/8/10" tablets and netbooks.
It may sound stupid but have you checked what your site looks like?
Even though I have dedicated mobile versions for my most popular sites the volume of users is extremely low, of the 19.2% for December users of mobiles and tablets practically all used my desktop sites.
Google published some guidelines a few months ago. Although they prefer a responsive design, they do support and recommend "Separate URLs for mobile".
On the desktop page, add a special link rel="alternate" tag pointing to the corresponding mobile URL. This helps Googlebot discover the location of your site's mobile pages.
On the mobile page, add a link rel="canonical" tag pointing to the corresponding desktop URL.
|Although they prefer a responsive design, they do support and recommend "Separate URLs for mobile". |
klark0 - Thanks for the link to the Google smartphone recommendations. I'm about to re-say what I know you were intending to say, but I think there's enough chance for misunderstanding the above that I'm going to say it differently... at least to provide different emphasis.
|We recommend using responsive web design because it has many good aspects: |
- Using a single URL for a piece of content makes it easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to your content, and a single URL for the content helps Google's algorithms assign the indexing properties for the content....
About "Separate mobile URLs", if you use separate mobile urls, Google says...
|In this configuration, each desktop URL has an equivalent different URL serving mobile-optimized content. A common setup would be pages on www.example.com serving desktop users having corresponding m.example.com pages serving mobile users. Google does not favor any particular URL format as long as they are all accessible to both Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile.... |
...and Google then goes on to recommend under these circumstances also using the rel="alternate" tag on the desktop page and the rel="canonical" tag on the mobile page, with additional specific syntax for them.
The web developer we hire for our site never put the rel tags in when they set up our mobile site on m.sitename.com. What they did do, is put links on every page of the site saying essentially, "view mobile site" (on the standard web version) and "view traditional site" on the mobile pages. For whatever reason, they used a tracking link (ie, /?source=mobile) to link back to the main site from the view traditional link.
Google (and presumably other search engines) is now seeing all those pages (the whole site) linked with ?source=mobile as duplicate content. How should the link be set up so real world visitors can choose to move between mobile and traditional views if they want, but the search engines won't see the linked pages as duplicate content? Do we need a no follow tag or something on the links, in addition to setting up those rel canonical and rel alternate tags on the appropriate places?
|What they did do, is put links on every page of the site saying essentially, "view mobile site" (on the standard web version) and "view traditional site" on the mobile pages. For whatever reason, they used a tracking link (ie, /?source=mobile) to link back to the main site from the view traditional link. |
LuckyLiz - The links back and forth between versions and the ?source parameter are often elements used when you have a mobile site on an "m" subdomain. Generally, the two-site approach is used in conjunction with user agent-based redirection (browser sniffing) to decide on the most appropriate version for the user, depending upon the size of the viewing device. It's got some advantages as well as disadvantages compared to the responsive design approach. Eg, if the desktop version of the site is too elaborate or might require too much bandwidth, a responsive design site might end up being slow on a mobile device. There are a lot of variations in how sites can be adapted to different sized screens.
The links between "Mobile Site" and "Desktop Site" are to allow the user to navigate back and forth between versions. If the user doesn't like the version he/she's on, say the mobile version, the ?source parameter prevents automatic redirection back to the mobile version after the "Desktop Version" link is used... and vice versa.
|Do we need a no follow tag or something on the links, in addition to setting up those rel canonical and rel alternate tags on the appropriate places? |
I haven't been involved with the situation you're in, but offhand I would not use a nofollow tag. I think Google will sort it out much better by spidering both versions.
I would follow Google's recommendation regarding the appropriate use of the rel canonical and rel alternate tags. Also from the Google developers page...
|This two-way ("bidirectional") annotation helps Googlebot discover your content and helps our algorithms understand the relationship between your desktop and mobile pages and treat them accordingly. When you use different URLs to serve the same content in different formats, the annotation tells Google's algorithms that those two URLs have equivalent content and should be treated as one entity instead of two entities. If they are treated separately, both desktop and mobile URLs are shown in desktop search results, and their positions may be lower than they would otherwise be. |
This assumes, btw, that the content is roughly equivalent. I'm not sure how to treat situations where content has been dropped from the mobile version... but I'm guessing that Google would figure things out better with these tags than without them.
Here's an excellent article on choices to be made among interface types and device destinations, and it covers some aspects of what your developer may have done.
The article also contains much food for thought about factors that might affect what type of mobile site you build....
Do Mobile And Desktop Interfaces Belong Together?
Smashing Magazine - Mobile
July 19th, 2012
My emphasis added...
|...This article looks at how a typical responsive website is targeted to mobile handsets and tablets, contrasting it with its desktop-facing sister website. It considers how such a website might also be deployed as a cached HTML5 Web app, and why you might want to do that instead. For various reasons, discussed here, you might decide to target your responsive design more narrowly as a hybrid for smartphones and tablets, keeping it separate from the desktop interface.... |
Some of the information on that smashingmagazine article is already obsolete (links to apple icons). I would recommend following the HTML5 Boilerplate project as it is continuously being improved by folks employing responsive design. And there is a fella that has created another project based on the HTML5 boilerplate that actually gives you some sample code to start.
I responded to a similar thread a bit back with more information and links. If you are serious about mobile development you may want to read my response in that thread as it contains links to the projects I mentioned here.