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Mobile Optimisation - Techniques that won't hurt rankings
Simsi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4536168 posted 12:47 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Hi,

I found a couple of mobile threads here that date back a bit but neither really form any conclusions so I have a question I am hopeful someone can assist with.

My site works fine on PC, iPad, android etc etc so general design is sorted but now I want to prioritise and re-organise content and flow for mobile users. Using a subdomain or seperate directories isn't a solution I favour unless absolutely necessary because it over-complicates a fairly simple change.

What I aim to do is to sniff the device and if mobile then firstly re-organise the links in the menus so those relevant to the mobile users are prioritised and secondly, re-arrange the content blocks. The latter is as much for relevancy as reacting to the fact that mobile users probably spend less time "reading" so the main effect of this is that text is moved down below the more visual elements, including calls to action.

And by the by, if I'm really honest, the text is only really there because the site struggled to gain positions without it and it only really says what the visual content conveys already anyway.

So my question is: the site ranks pretty well - will this affect it's rankings on Google.com for PC users? Or put another way, do Google's spiders emulate and differentiate mobile content from PC content where it is specifically delivered? I don't want these changes to hurt it's current PC rankings (yet, anyway!).

Many thanks,

Simsi

 

HuskyPup



 
Msg#: 4536168 posted 1:51 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

What I aim to do is to sniff the device and if mobile


I hate it when sites do that and especially so when there is not a clear desktop link.

Assuming something is mobile, presumably because it is on Android etc, I feel is a big mistake however I do appreciate others feel and experience differently.

FWIW my B&M sites all have dedicated mobile sites yet hardly anyone ever uses them simply because, like yours, my sites already work perfectly on them.

I do not do any ecommerce which may probably change my opinion on the smallest devices.

goodroi

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4536168 posted 3:02 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I do not do any ecommerce which may probably change my opinion on the smallest devices.

I was a bit surprised to find my mobile users converted at nearly the same rate as desktop users when using my main sites (non-mobile optimized). Also I have seen a large number of mobile users prefer main sites vs. the mobile versions. It is making me think that mobile optimized sites aren't as necessary as I once thought.

Of course every situation is different so you may have different results for your keywords/industries.

klark0



 
Msg#: 4536168 posted 3:02 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

I think what you're describing is what the kids call Responsive design, today.

Google has guidance on it:
[developers.google.com...]

The mobile Googlebots crawl with user-agents of actual mobile phones (the iPhone, a Samsung, etc ). So if you serve mobile content, they pick it up and treat.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4536168 posted 3:24 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

My sites are all responsive design and I have never suffered any ranking loss. More than half my traffic is mobile now (at peak) too. A few of the sites have different themes and shortened menus for the mobile options (in order to deal with ads that aren't responsive yet), and it doesn't seem to have caused any problems.

Simsi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4536168 posted 5:33 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks - and for the link Klark0.

The site is responsive and has been for a while. I agree with goodroi that it doesn't need massive changes - especially where tablets are concerned - because it's relatively straightforward to do one-design-fits-all.

The key is whether dinking around with the content and even dropping elements that are less likely to appeal to mobile users - most notably text paragraphs - will hurt the existing (desktop) rankings. The design itself is dealt with.

So Klark0's post probably answers my question: if Google has a mobile bot and what that finds will only affect the rankings on mobile searches, that is what I was hoping to hear :)

not2easy

WebmasterWorld Administrator 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4536168 posted 5:53 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

The one change I have done on a few sites that had header graphics across the top was to add a line to the css for #header:
img {
max-width: 100%;
}
This lets the image adjust to the size of the screen.

netmeg

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4536168 posted 8:08 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

The key is whether dinking around with the content and even dropping elements that are less likely to appeal to mobile users - most notably text paragraphs - will hurt the existing (desktop) rankings.


It hasn't for me. I really like responsive design, but I think it's only a partial solution, because I'm pretty sure that mobile users use the web significantly differently than desktop users (and there's probably differences between phones and tablets, too) At least, my users do. So a responsive design is great for getting your entire site into more formats that can be easily read, but it doesn't really take into account the differences in the ways that users read and navigate your site. So I ended up with two themes anyway.

Simsi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4536168 posted 8:15 pm on Jan 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

because I'm pretty sure that mobile users use the web significantly differently than desktop users


Exactly the reason I want to do this. For me, "mobile" doesn't necessarily just mean "on the move", nor even "restricted viewing area" anymore but it does probably mean "less time", "more impatient" or "slow connection" lol.

sbook



 
Msg#: 4536168 posted 3:22 pm on Jan 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

As i see in mobile serps PC desktop websites still takes the biggest part, does not matter if this website has mobile version or not, mobile version is not shown in the results.
So mobile search results are in creation level?

When can we expect to have only mobile websites in mobile serps?

In this case PC version would not make any influence for mobile visitors and opposite.

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