Today at SMX Advanced during the iSEO panel, Pierre Far, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, announced clear guidelines and recommendations on mobile SEO. In short, Google recommends you go with a responsive design when possible, otherwise you can use device-specific HTML but Google asks you to take certain steps to communicate when you are using device-specific HTML.
Google has been known to offer contradictory advice on mobile SEO thus far and Google wanted to take a watch and listen approach to see how webmasters were implementing their mobile web sites. Now Google has come out with their official recommendations on how to build mobile web sites that work best for users and at the same time work well for Google.
In December 2011, Google introduced a new mobile user agent for Googlebot-Mobile Smartphones, which was responsible for detecting mobile content. Now Google is offering specific recommendations on which way to build your mobile sites.
Three Methods of Smartphone Mobile Site Design
Google says there are three basic configurations when going mobile, however they do seem to strongly recommend going with the responsive design approach.
- Sites that use responsive web design, i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.
- Sites that dynamically serve all devices on the same set of URLs, but each URL serves different HTML (and CSS) depending on whether the user agent is a desktop or a mobile device.
- Sites that have a separate mobile and desktop sites.