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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

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Google On Designing Mobile Friendly Websites

Pierre Far from Google wrote a blog post on how to design mobile friendly websites while considering Google’s webmaster guidelines and best practices.

I’ve pulled out the key points from this post in bullet format:

  • Google differentiates between traditional mobile phones and smartphones.
  • Google has two bots: Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile. Googlebot crawls desktop-browser type of webpages and content embedded in them and Googlebot-Mobile crawls mobile content.
  • Currently only traditional phones are supported with special useragent strings within Googlebot-Mobile, not smartphones (this may change)
  • Google said they “expect smartphones to handle desktop experience content so there is no real need for mobile-specific effort from webmasters.
  • It does not mean you can’t serve a special style sheet to smartphones, Google said, “the decision to do so should be based on how you can best serve your users.”
  • URL structure: For Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile, it does not matter what the URL structure is as long as it returns exactly what a user sees too.
  • Using the same URL “is not considered cloaking by Google.”
  • Mobile sitemaps: you should include only mobile content URLs in Mobile Sitemaps, even if these URLs also return non-mobile content when accessed by a non-mobile User-agent.

This blog post was in response to a question I had in regards to a video Matt published, which is below. But make sure to understand that you do not need to use a mobile specific URL, you can serve up mobile content on the same URLs you serve up to desktop users. In addition, it is important to note that smartphones like iPhones and Android phones are not necessarily and currently considered “mobile” devices to Google or Googlebot-Mobile.

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