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Mobile Pages

With importance being placed on mobile-first indexing in search engines, ensuring a website is mobile-friendly and provides a positive experience is essential. Our SEO Office Hours notes below compile key insights from Google Search Central around mobile-friendliness, along with best practice guidance to ensure your website is set up for mobile success.

For more about mobile websites & SEO, check out our additional resources:

The Ultimate Guide to Google’s Mobile-first Index 

An SEO’s Guide to Mobile Site Speed & Performance

Google Will Only Use Content From Mobile Pages if Mobile First

Google will only use the mobile version of content when a site has been moved to mobile first. If your mobile pages have less structured data or images than your desktop pages, Google will not use the content from your desktop site. Google will continue to crawl your desktop pages about 20% of the time to make sure they are not missing any new pages.

6 Mar 2020

Google Recommends a Single Site for Mobile First Indexing

It’s OK to have a separate mobile website for mobile first indexing, provided it’s correctly linked from the desktop version with a mobile rel alternate and a canonical pointing to the desktop page, but Google recommends having a single URL for each piece of content with responsive design or dynamic serving in the future.

6 Mar 2020

Google Determines Mobile Usability Based on The Ability to Render the Page

Google determines mobile usability results based on the ability to render pages in a way that matches what a user would see on their device. Sometimes they may face issues when fetching the CSS or JavaScript files and this will display a small number of issues, with regards to mobile usability, in Google Search Console. However, John advised these are usually based on temporary fluctuations in Google’s ability to fetch individual files, but it will not affect the indexing of these pages.

26 Nov 2019

Google Advises Against Using Separate Mobile URLs

Having separate URLs for the mobile and desktop version of a site adds more complexity for website owners to manage, so Google recommends switching to a responsive setup.

4 Oct 2019

Google Uses the Viewport Tag to Understand the Mobile-friendliness of a Page

The viewport tag is used for scaling a page for devices, and Google will use this tag to understand whether the page is mobile-friendly or not. Google won’t automatically categorise a page as a mobile version if it has a viewport tag.

4 Oct 2019

Implement Redirects From Mobile Pages to Desktop Pages For Desktop Users

If you have a separate m-dot site, Google will usually pick this as the preferred canonical version after mobile-first indexing and the m-dot site will be shown in desktop search results. To avoid negative UX, implement redirects to the desktop version for desktop users.

3 Sep 2019

Mobile-friendly Test Doesn’t Respond to Robots.txt Rules

The Mobile-friendly test uses the same version of Chromium that is used for rendering so shows an accurate version of what Google will be able to index. However, the Mobile-friendly Test doesn’t follow robots.txt rules so won’t be able to show if certain JavaScript files are being blocked. Test for this in the URL Inspection Tool.

9 Aug 2019

When Changing a Favicon Ensure All Pages Are Updated to Display the Change

When updating a favicon for mobile search, John recommends ensuring all pages are updated and the favicon is consistent across the site, in order to display a clear signal to Google when they re-crawl the pages.

14 Jun 2019

New Sites Will be on Mobile-first Indexing by Default

Google is now switching to mobile-first indexing by default for new websites.

31 May 2019

Favicons Now Appear in Mobile Search Results

Favicons are now shown in mobile search results in Google. They don’t require any changes from webmasters as they are updated automatically.

31 May 2019

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