SMX Overtime: Learn the difference between mobile-first indexing and mobile-friendly SEO

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General Manager of Perficient, Eric Enge, explained how to construct a mobile-friendly SEO site with good UX during the “Mobile First Indexing & Mobile Friendly SEO” session at SMX West. Attendees wanted to know about page speed, ranking, interstitials penalties and how SEO for the mobile-first index is different from traditional SEO.

Doesn’t designing a responsive site to the best of the search engine guidelines do away with building a site for “mobile first?” Aren’t we just building “sites” now?

Enge: It is true that with a responsive site you’re seemingly building a single site. But, that’s not entirely true. Most likely, you’ll be creating three different sets of style sheets. These enable you to deliver a different version of the site for desktop, tablet and smartphone users.

How you manage and display information within these style sheets is actually very important. For example, your content font size may be too small, or links too close together so they are not easily “tappable.” You may also want to take large blocks of text content and implement tabs, accordions or drop down boxes to manage how they display on a smartphone device.

So there are many things that still need to happen to be mobile first. Simply being responsive is not enough!

In the case of a dedicated mobile website, passed in mobile-first, is it relevant to keep canonical from mobile to desktop as usually done? And do we change the instruction (from mobile to desktop)?

Enge: You should still leave the rel=alternate and rel=canonical tags in place. I think it’s still useful. However, Google has stated many times there is no need to reverse them in the mobile-first world. From their perspective, while they could ask webmasters to change the direction of these tags, the reality is that it would take publishers years to switch them correctly.

In case all our desktop pages are not available in mobile, do you think it is more relevant to create them in AMP instead of a…

 

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