Mobile SEO Update Part 2

by Jim March 11, 2015

If you are in Melbourne this week, drop into the Ecommerce Conference & Expo at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre where we have a stand and say hello. Love to see you.

A lot of our focus at the moment is on mobile SEO as the update is looming large. As I first reported ten days ago, this mobile update could be catastrophic for a lot of businesses. There was some confusion during the week from viewers though after they read an article by Jennifer Slegg. In the article, which was a Q and A with Google’s Gary Illyes, It boldly stated that “Responsive does not have a ranking benefit” . Doesn’t this contradict what I have been saying in my last two seo videos? Not really, it’s all about context.

Degrees of Mobile Friendly / optimised

We used to talk about mobile friendly being a site that simply worked on a mobile device. We didn’t have the bar set very high.” Mobile optimised” was the term reserved for websites that almost looked app like on a mobile device. Today mobile friendly means the latter. There a different ways to achieve the goal of mobile friendly though and that was the context for the question regarding responsive design.

Google recommended last year to move to responsive design over having a separate mobile site at a subdomain, as it was finding a lot of businesses were implementing the subdomain badly. For instance you may remember the stories we did on faulty redirects and how we warned this update was coming. Both responsive design and a dedicated mobile site are mobile friendly techniques. The problem with having a subdomain is that it is usually a cut down version of the main site. This means if a mobile user finds a page in search from the desktop site, they would usually get redirected to the mobile version of the site. However Google found that for the most part, the user was not getting redirected to an equivalent page. This is because separate mobile sites are usually a cut down version of the main site . Those days are gone. You can still have a separate mobile site but it had better be an exact replica of the desktop sites’ content and users get redirected to the exact mobile version of the content they want. So as far Google is concerned, they are not saying responsive design will give you a ranking boost over say a dedicated mobile site but for most businesses the former is a much better option. It’s typically cheaper to implement and maintain as there is only a single site.

Google’s goal is all about the user. Give the user the best possible results and they’ll keep using the service which will in turn keep the Google customers happy. They’re not the one and the same.

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