A post on the Bing Webmaster Central blog is well worth reading if you optimize your website for both desktop and mobile users. The post discusses Bing’s preference for a single URL no matter what device a visitor is using to access your website. There are several points worth noting on the post, and while this post relates specifically to Bing’s approach, one wonders if the same issues exist with Google? Those points include:
- Mobile specific URLs rarely rank in search results since there are insufficient indicators to give the URL any value. This could actually be a negative and work against your website.
- The more URLs you have, the more search engine crawler you’re going to receive. A large site could see a lot of bandwidth being used, just by the search engines. If your website has only the one URL per item of content, then that will have less of an impact on your bandwidth.
- Single URLs are easier to manage. If you have multiple URLs for the same content, then that will create more work.
Bing’s preference is for websites to perform client browser detection and delivering content based on the outcome of that detection. If you must use separate URLs for the delivery of pages to mobile devices (particularly the popular m.website.com), then Bing suggests a search engine crawler block through your robots.txt file. Bing’s point about mobile URLs not appearing in search results is well noting, especially if separate URLs have the potential to harm your search engine optimization efforts.
The question that website owners and SEO specialists now need to look at is whether or not Google will follow suit, and whether or not some of these issues already affect current websites. Do your mobile specific pages appear in search results? If not, you may want to consider a different approach to delivering content to these devices.