Does your mobile site redirect to another URL? Well, that’s not ideal. It never has been.
Way back in the day – some folk used TEXT-ONLY versions of a website to produce content for users/browsers that didn’t support elements of their websites – in a (usually vain) attempt to make their content more accessible. The W3C/WAI even used to recommend it I think if all else failed:
A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with the provisions of this part, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The content of the text-only pages shall be updated whenever the primary page changes. SECTION 508
It’s ALWAYS been ideal to deliver one URL to a visitor for accessibility purposes, and there is no difference when delivering mobile or smartphone content if you are thinking about creating “a mobile” version of your site.
When Google is the ‘visitor’ it’s usually even more important to deliver just one URL because of canonical url challenges for search engines – and this has been the case before the implementation of the canonical tag some time ago.
So the ideal is - to deliver one url at all times.
Seroundtable picked this up from the forums from John Mueller (Google Employee) which confirms this:
John Mueller – @Paul If you have “smartphone” content (which we see as normal web-content, as it’s generally a normal HTML page, just tweaked in layout for smaller displays) you can use the rel=canonical to point to your desktop version. This helps us to focus on the desktop version for web-search. When users visit that desktop version with a smartphone, you can redirect them to the mobile version. This works regardless of the URL structure, so you don’t need to use subdomains / subdirectories for smartphone-mobile sites. Even better however is to use the same URLs and to show the appropriate version of the content without a redirect :).
In today’s world with smart phones – it’s not always necessary to have a mobile “site”. For me, the benefits of a smart phone when used, are usually for download speeds and easy access for mobiles and to bypass loading heavy, rich content some websites have. Not everone has 3g.
I am certainly going to take advantage of the benefits of a mobile theme. I’ve tested a few and I think i know which one i like. I’ll post a blog when I confirm.
Mobile use is picking up – it’s worth thinking about your mobile strategy, too, and that it needs to work with humans and search engines.