jQuery Mobile head section meta tags and data-role="page"

Curiously, there is sparse information on this subject on the Web and none (at least, that I can find) in the jQuery Mobile documentation or the four books I have specifically on jQuery Mobile. Curious, because it is a very important question where good search engine page ranking is concerned.

After the first page is loaded, jQuery Mobile will grab the unique title from the head section of any subsequent page, when that page is a separate URL entity. However, everything else in that head section is ignored. You can programmatically change the meta description in the DOM, but I don't think a Search Engine bot is going to see it at that point.

This is an important concern, as that description is what search engines show to attract people to your site. I have spent hours searching for reliable information.  A couple of people have mentioned that the problem is non-existent because the search engine bot is going to read all the text on the page and recognize the header information on that particular page. I am not so certain that is correct, as I believe (correct me if I am wrong) the bot is going to see what the page displays  and what the page is going to display is the head section of the first file opened on the site - NOT that of the current file.

This is pretty important to me. I have a client loosing faith in me because his SEO people don't understand JQM at all and are at odds with me on this mobile version of the site.
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RationalRabbitAuthor Commented:
Any comment at all would be good :0)
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
It is my understanding that the bot indexes the normal page and if a mobile version of the page is available it increases its ranking or the converse if no mobile version of the page is available it decreases its ranking
RationalRabbitAuthor Commented:
That would certainly solve the problem if it is true. Sounds like you may be a little uncertain, though.
I've done this, as Google suggests:
In the head of each mobile page:
   <link rel="canonical" href="{desktop url}" >

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and in the head of each desktop page:
   <link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" href="{url to mobile page">

Open in new window

but I'm not sure I'm doing that right, either, as, if the bot doesn't see the individual mobile head, its going to look like all pages are pointing to the desktop index, which is a bad thing.
Then, also, there is a redirect at the top of the desktop pages, so I don't know whether the bot is going to see the canonical link.
I'm quite perplexed that I can't seem to find more definitive information.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
Google changes things so often.  You do realize that Google is an advertising company everything else is secondary to their goal of selling ads. That being stated, they've had a reduction in their mobile revenue (in the order of 15%) so they are yet again tweaking their algorithms to give mobile ready sites preference, with everything else being equal. SEO is a high stakes game between the Search Engines and the Website owners. SearchEngineLand has a good article on what you should/can do

Use the fetch as Google feature in Webmaster Tools and select the “Mobile Smartphone” option to see how Google’s smartphone crawler sees your most important pages. Ask yourself:

    Is it accessing to the right version, or is it being redirected to a non-relevant page?
    Is the content accessible?
    Are the relevant SEO elements, such as the title and meta description of each page, being discovered?
    Are the site pages set up correctly (including the relevant annotations, http status, user agent detection, etc.) based on your chosen mobile site configuration?

Perform this analysis on a site-wide basis by using crawling tools like Screaming Frog or DeepCrawl, which allow you to select the smartphone Googlebot as your user agent.

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RationalRabbitAuthor Commented:
Although this was not really a direct answer, the references to Screaming Frog and DeepCrawl are very valuable, and appear to provide a very good reference to my question, as well as other very vital information. Thank you.
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