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Is it going to affect my ranking in google search if I dont have a mobile version of my site?

Posted on 2013-10-23
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Last Modified: 2013-11-16
Hi experts,

I wonder if it would be negative for my site in the google search results/ranking if I dont have or offer a mobile version of my site. I personally dont like this mobile versions and always switch to the normal site since modern cell phones anyway display any site without a problem. How ever I see that more and more users come with mobile phones.

I was thinking about to NOT create a specific mobile version of my site but automatic detect mobile browsers and in this case just switch certain more heavy things in my layout off during I show everything else normal.

The result would be a much faster site on mobile browsers BUT I would not have a specific mobile version running either.

Would this somehow negative affect my google ranking and search results. I read some where that google want to push that mobile content is more supported but I wonder what this exactly mean.

Thank you for all comment in advance
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Question by:Oliver2000
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Gary earned 500 total points
ID: 39595557
Not having a mobile version will only affect smartphone search results.
So it won't affect the desktop version of your site showing in results, but if you don't have a mobile version then you are less likely to show up in searches from a smartphone where other relevant sites are mobile friendly.
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Author Comment

by:Oliver2000
ID: 39595613
Hi GaryC123,

Let me just repeat and understand. If somebody with his ihpone searches google is not going to present my site in the results? Important tip....

But how they determine if my site is not mobile friendly or not? If i don't create a specific mobile version of my site but auto detect and switch unnecessary content of the site is in the end mobile friendly but not a dedicated mobile version. I try to understand WHAT does make the site actually mobile. (speed, kb?)

for example I detect a mobile browser and kill all heavy things to display the articles fast... would this count as mobile version even if other sites still would be normal as before. For example I dont change really ALL pages but the pages with articles etc.

thanks for your tips, i apreciate it
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Author Comment

by:Oliver2000
ID: 39595631
Additional question: If I create a mobile version don't I have trouble with double content later when google crawl my content? If I stop google from crawling my mobile content I fear it would not count again as mobile content and considering your first reply there for not appear in search results. but if I leave google crawling my mobile version I would have in the end double content in index. (www.domain.com and m.domain.com for example)
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Expert Comment

by:Gary
ID: 39595636
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Expert Comment

by:Gary
ID: 39595664
You can add a canonical link to the main site if you are creating a separate site.
Most sites use a responsive template for mobiles so the url structure never changes.
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Author Comment

by:Oliver2000
ID: 39595668
Okay, I know the canonical link technique and use it anyway already.

Now I did the test with google pagespeed (I knew it from before but I did not know the mobile test there as well.

My results are 83/100 mobile and 84/100 for desktop. But what does it mean... this sounds to me not like a bad result considering we talk about a really big site with lots of ads etc.

If I understand this correct they test there the site with mobile browser version so if my theory it correct and I switch things from the site offline in mobile version I would gain speed here and there for google would be happy with me.

I am sorry if I am a little bit confused here.

thanks again
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Expert Comment

by:Gary
ID: 39595690
Basically yes, does it look ok in the preview window?
Check the recommendations there and try and implement them. I aim for scores above 90.

They are checking things like how fast does it load, how heavy is the page, is there media queries (not sure about this) etc.
I doubt they will tell anyone exactly what they are looking for but just keep following standard SEO procedures
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Author Comment

by:Oliver2000
ID: 39595710
Well, the things pagespeed dont like are mainly things I cant change because they complain about their own google scripts for example. My site appear in all mobile and desktop normal without problems.

my main question remains open.
Is it positive if I auto detect mobile browser and present less heavy content but dont create a dedicated mobile version of my site. I prefer to just switch things of in mobile versions instead of running some subdomain with mobile copy of my content.
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Expert Comment

by:Gary
ID: 39595718
Google wants to see -
Fast loading
Lightweight pages
No redirects
Responsive design/Mobile version of the site i.e. not a site that is 1000px wide trying to fit on iphone in portrait mode
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Expert Comment

by:helpchrisplz
ID: 39596623
as GaryC123 said in his last post...

i think that's all we have to work on unless google has some seo specific guidelines for this?
I know they look at page load time but not sure what else a mobile site would need to be found in google serps. (other than the normal desktop stuff)

some tips for fast loading on mobile verions:

take a look at adaptive-images.com for automated image down sizing. (reqires media query's - no fixed width wrapper)

use modernizr to detect mobile browsers and turn off adds / heavy stuff.

use
$(window).load(function() {
and not
$(document).ready(function () {
 this will make any javascript load after page load.

use Lazy Load Plugin to load in images after page load:
http://www.appelsiini.net/projects/lazyload

if you can get away with it: move all javascript out of the head and put it just before your </body> tag this will make your page load first and then your javascript.
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Author Comment

by:Oliver2000
ID: 39596714
this is a nice list of tips. I tested already some things and it isn't a problem to switch heavy things of on mobile sites, my doubt was mainly if this is enough or if I should have some subdomain with the mobile version of my site.

I have mainly two options I guess.
1. I add a script to check if the user visit with mobile browser and if this is the case I switch just some things of to keep the site run faster.

2. I check if the browser is mobile right at the top of the script and redirect to mobile version of this page. BUT google dont like redirects, so what I do in this case.
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Expert Comment

by:helpchrisplz
ID: 39596780
if i had time myself i would:

use media query's but also have a link that would redirect to m.domain where you can have some php code to load a different style sheet without the media queries and use canonical

So by default people will see desktop version on desktop and by default see mobile version if on a phone. then if they dont want to see the mobile version user can click the link to go to m.domain.com where some php code loads in a duplicated version of your css just without the media queries:

<?php
if($_SERVER['HTTP_REFERER'] == "m.domain.com") { // check  url
    print("<link rel=\"stylesheet\" type=\"text/css\" href=\"noMediaQuerysHere.css\" />");
}
?>

Open in new window


not sure if this is overkill?
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Expert Comment

by:helpchrisplz
ID: 39596794
you can always use a nofollow on your link to the mobile version:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nofollow
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Expert Comment

by:helpchrisplz
ID: 39596822
actually you would have to see if the url contains m.domain like this:

$url = 'http://' . $_SERVER['SERVER_NAME'] . $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'];

if (false !== strpos($url,'m.domain')) {
    print("<link rel=\"stylesheet\" type=\"text/css\" href=\"noMediaQuerysHere.css\" />");
}

Open in new window

<Link removed  - GaryC123>
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Expert Comment

by:Gary
ID: 39597303
Redirects are fine. i.e. Someone arrives at your site and you redirect them to the mobile
version
From there you should then make sure all links point to a mobile version and not keep doing redirects though Google says they are ok with this (but that could change in the future)
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Expert Comment

by:helpchrisplz
ID: 39597551
oh no what have i done! noooooo! lol
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Author Comment

by:Oliver2000
ID: 39601083
Hi everybody,

Well, I found a pretty good site with lots of scripts to detect a mobile browser. I decided to use a PHP snippet to define if the user is mobile or not and depending on this I present this user the site as mobile version or desktop version. PageSpeed Inside seems to like it because it works well and the tool detect the faster and slimmer mobile version.

how ever it seems my mobile 83/100 and desktop 84/100 are pretty high already since not even google.com / microsoft.com or youtube have this high ratings. I compared with all my competition sites which are all huge portals with millions of users and NONE had higher ratings like my portal in most cases even less than 70/100. I believe it is  almost impossible to get a score of 90 with a big portal site. There are just to many things to be loaded from ads to scripts etc. which you cant really load at the bottom of the page or without blocking browser. In my case I have one browser blocking CSS and one JS which keep my score under 90 the rest is all perfect.

Resume: I see I have to have a mobile version. there is no way around this but I also see my PageSpeed score is already pretty good. I keep it in mind and still tweak it.

I appreciate all the nice tips so far.
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Expert Comment

by:helpchrisplz
ID: 39601106
what platform you run your website on? or is it handcrafted?
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