Decision Making with Google’s New Recommendations
Last week Google finally published an official set of recommendations for building smartphone-optimized sites. The recommendations announcement was written by Pierre Far, who announced them during SMX Advanced and had already commented at SMX London a month ago about how responsive Web design was Google’s recommended option to enable an optimized, mobile targeted site.
Because of the impressive growth of smartphone usage is understandable that Google is focusing on smartphones when giving recommendations, as they have been already doing for a while now by introducing a smartphone googlebot at the end of last year, the mobile playbook and our mobile planet -which are mobile usage statistics and trends sites, focusing on smartphones- and the how to go mobile site -with a guide of good practices and criteria to take into consideration when deciding to enable a mobile version-.
Nonetheless, I think that the best way to choose the most appropriate alternative for your situation is by asking some questions at the beginning of the process:
As you can see responsive Web design is the best option if you want to provide the exact same information to your mobile and desktop users and it’s easy to redesign or adapt your site.
If you have different content and product offers or a more personalized set of services for your mobile users or you just can’t redesign and make your site responsive at the moment (and you won’t be able for a while) then dynamic serving with user agent detection would be the best option. You will still providing only one URL and you will show different HTML depending on the user agent -one version for desktop users and bots and another for mobile users and bots-.
If this this option is too complicated to implement, but you need to differentiate the content and you don’t have (and are not expecting) users coming from smartphone devices -so going responsive if not the first priority for you- the alternative will be then to enable a mobile version in separate URLs and redirect mobile users and bots there.
You can take a look at some of the best SEO practices for these options in this presentation about mobile SEO I did at a Spanish Web conference a week ago and read more in the development guide published by Google.
Now is your turn: Are you ready to go mobile? What’s your experience with mobile SEO?