Join David Booth for an in-depth discussion in this video Configuring your site for mobile, part of SEO Foundations.
- From a technical standpoint, there are really three types of configurations to consider for serving your mobile web content. Which configuration your business chooses will depend upon both what your organization can support, and what you're trying to accomplish for the mobile device. It's also important to note that we're only talking about mobile web right now, and not the apps that are downloaded and run as applications on mobile devices. Your first option is to use Responsive Web Design. This is very common these days, and it allows you to basically build one site serving the same content from the same URL, no matter what device the user is on.
Responsive designs will use CSS media queries to indicate how the content should be rendered on the different screen sizes it detects, automatically adapting things like fonts and images to the most appropriate layouts. Google has expressed their preference for this configuration, and it has the advantage of only needing to maintain one codebase as you create new content, and optimize existing content. On the downside, you may find that you actually do want to alter the mobile experience to match mobile intentions. These same advantages can quickly turn into limitations.
The second option is to dynamically detect and serve content based on the user agent that is sent through the browser. The web server will identify users on mobile devices and return the appropriate content. While this option can give you quite a bit of flexibility in how you choose to treat mobile visitors, from a search perspective, you run the risk of search engine crawlers seeing different content as they examine your pages. You'll also likely be on the hook for maintaining more complex code. A third option is to maintain a completely separate site that will serve mobile content on a separate URL.
that will serve mobile content on a separate URL. Traditionally, these have been located on subdomains, like m.yourdomain.com, and the server would be responsible for detecting a mobile device and re-directing the user to the dedicated mobile site. You might also recognize these by that little link at the bottom that says something like, "View desktop site," that will offer the user a chance to go back to the regular site. Of course, you'll have the ultimate level of flexibility to customize the mobile experience and cater to the mobile users intentions with this option.
But, you'll also need the resources to now maintain yet another website. The other thing to consider is that because this is a totally separate website, a search engine will typically treat it as such. One thing to note is that you can use what are known as Switchboard Tags, to tell the search engines about the equivalent desktop versions of the mobile content. And these work kind of like the canonical tags we looked at earlier in the course. Each configuration has their pros and cons, as well as their limits and uses. What it really comes down to is how much you want to cater to the mobile intent, and what your business can realistically support.
and what your business can realistically support. Whatever you decide, providing a mobile visitor with an optimized site will in turn provide you with the competitive edge, and the knowledge that your efforts are increasing your visibility across an ever-expanding set of new devices and channels.
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- What is SEO?
- Understanding how search engines index content
- Researching keywords
- Using SEO tools
- Optimizing pages for keywords
- Optimizing code and site structure
- Building links to your content
- Optimizing nontext components of a webpage
- Analyzing content quality
- Defining your audience, topics, angle, and style
- Promoting your content via social media
- Measuring SEO effectiveness
- Setting up Google+ Local
- Optimizing ecommerce sites for search
- Configuring sites for mobile