Separate mobile sites: the mobile
URL is used for indexing.
version is used for
AMP & non-AMP sites: the non-
AMP mobile URL is used for indexing.
Canonical tags don’t need to be swapped to
point to mobile. Mobile versions can be found
through the rel="alternate" tag.
The rel="alternate" tag will be more crucial
than ever for separate mobile sites.
IMPACT ON WEBSITE
EFFECTS ON SITE PERFORMANCE
Will keyword rankings be affected?
Yes, if your mobile content is reduced
and doesn’t contain terms the page was
previously ranking for on desktop.
The most important content must be on the
These need to be maintained across desktop and mobile:
These elements must also be crawlable and
Does internal linking need to be the same?
No, but internal linking on mobile needs to
be accessible for users and search engines.
INTERNAL LINKING ON MOBILE
Be mindful of orphaned pages, or
increased levels in site depth
which could be keeping search
engines away from your content.
Structured data will play a vital part in the
mobile-first world, and beyond.
STRUCTURED DATA ON MOBILE
“The biggest challenge for mobile-first will be understanding
the lightweight needs of the user and applying this via
condensed content. Structured data and markup allows for
disambiguation when content is not so prevalent on a page in
an unstructured form.”
MD, Move It Marketing
Be cautious of stripping back too far for the
THE IMPORTANCE OF
Content needs to be included for search
engines but also needs to be easily
accessible for users.
FOR RESPONSIVE SITES
Make sure important resources
aren’t being blocked e.g. images, JS
Check for legacy issues such as
existing dynamic or separate mobile
pages - these will be indexed
FOR DYNAMIC SITES
Check that the vary: user agent
HTTP header is in use.
Make sure the right user agent is
being served the correct version of
a page, whether that’s mobile or
FOR SEPARATE MOBILE SITES
Guide the mobile and desktop
user agents to the correct page
version with 301 redirects.
Make sure your servers have
capacity to handle increased
crawl rate from Googlebot
FOR ALL SITES
Test robots.txt files to make sure Googlebot
Smartphone can access your mobile setup.
Check your mobile configuration for any display
or UX issues.
Test mobile-first readiness by using SEO tools
that support mobile crawling.
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR
These are the key differences you’ll need to look
out for when comparing desktop and mobile:
1. Pages missing on mobile
3. Click depth
If you want to learn more about mobile-first...
Read our comprehensive white paper:
Thorough testing is crucial to be sure your mobile
configuration is set up correctly.
Run dedicated crawls of separate mobile sites. Use
a mobile user agent on responsive/dynamic sites.
Make sure everything you want to rank for is
included on mobile.
Desktop-first optimisation is now a thing of
Mobile should be your number one priority.
Any questions? Send me a tweet:
Technical SEO, DeepCrawl
Google Webmasters Twitter thread -
DeepCrawl’s Ultimate Guide to Google’s Mobile-first Index -
Google Webmaster Central blog post announcing mobile-first indexing -
John Mueller on mobile-first testing -
DeepCrawl separate mobile user agent feature release -