Welcome to your guide on the best practices for search engine optimization (SEO). We will be covering how you can guide mobile users effectively through your web site.

Running desktop and mobile version of your site

A common complaint for webmasters attempting to make a website compatible across all devices is the type of version that appears when users attempt to access it. Often a mobile user will be sent to the desktop version while the desktop user will be sent to the mobile version. When this occurs, there are a couple realistic options for fixing the problem:


Redirect mobile users to the correct version

Start by adding a redirect to the correct version of your site that is available when Googlebot-Mobile, or other crawler or user attempt to access the desktop version. Google can track the relationship between different version of a URL and will present the standard version used for that type of access. This way, you will see the correct version when you attempt to access it, whether on a desktop or a mobile device.


However, you also need to be careful in making sure that the content matches when the redirect occurs. If a user is navigating a website on a mobile phone, you want the redirect to point them to the corresponding page on the desktop-version URL, not back to the home page.

Some websites redirect to the home page deliberately, attempting to capitalize on the extra visits for a search ranking boost, but this strategy can backfire. When users have to spend additional time navigating through a website, they are less likely to stick around and make a purchase.

To copy Google’s method, you can provide link for users to choose which will redirect them to the desktop version. If your mobile version is lacking functionality, this link will let a user make a choice about which version they wish to use.

Switch content based on User-agent

You can also set up your URL so it changes format depending on the User-agent. For example, while the URL would be the same for both desktop and mobile users, the format and content of the website would appear slightly different to the user’s view.

In order to do this correctly, you need to make sure your site is properly configured. Cloaking is a problem Google attempts to prevent, and poorly configured websites may appear to fall into this category. Some websites try to increase their ranking in search engines by changing the type of content they provide to Googlebot and to regular users. When this occurs, websites may initially appear to be relevant but the content on the actual page is not.

To prevent Google from levelling cloaking charges against your site, make sure the content reflected on your desktop and mobile sites lines up with the content Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile see, accounting for the different versions. If your site is correctly configured, unintentional cloaking problems will not occur.


Next, learn how to promote your website in the right way or click here to learn about SEO on mobile devices or here for the introduction to SEO Best Practices.

If you are struggling with your SEO:

  • Determining if you need to be on search engines
  • Getting found on search engines
  • Getting phone calls and emails leads from your web site
  • Where to start with your web site

Stay in touch with us

If you have questions or want to know more about the services we offer, please call us at (613)627-3926. Salient Marketing is located in Ottawa, Ontario and has a 12-year reputation for helping local businesses improve their websites with SEO-based marketing solutions. Let the experts at Salient Marketing put their experience to work for you and your company.