Separate Mobile Sites

A separate mobile version of a website will generate an additional URL for the site, typically this is and allows the website to be responsive on a mobile device. However, there are a number of issues which can arise when using a separate mobile site, we cover these within our Hangout Notes, along with insights and recommendations from Google.

There Isn’t a Separate Index for Mobile and Desktop Indexing

July 26, 2019 Source

Google have one main index where either the mobile or desktop version of a site is contained, this is the version which will then be shown in search results. However, if you have a seperate mobile site, Google will always show this version to users on a mobile device.

Mobile-friendly Errors on Desktop Page Could Mean Google Doesn’t Understand Connection With Mobile Version

March 8, 2019 Source

If mobile-friendly errors are reported on for the desktop version of a page which has a rel alternate to a mobile version, this could mean that Google doesn’t have a clear understanding of which pages belong together and they could be indexed separately.

You Don’t Need to Submit Separate Mobile URLs in Sitemaps

August 21, 2018 Source

URLs for separate mobile sites don’t need to be submitted in their own sitemap. If the rel alternate tags are set up correctly then Google will be able to find these pages through their connection to their desktop equivalents.

Poor Internal Linking on Mobile May Impact How Google Indexes and Ranks Pages

July 27, 2018 Source

Poor internal linking on the mobile version of a site could impact the way Google index and rank the site after it has been switched over to mobile-first indexing. You can use tools like DeepCrawl to crawl your site with a mobile user-agent.

Move Disavow File to Your Separate Mobile Site for Mobile-first Indexing

July 10, 2018 Source

In the same way that you should move the disavow file across after a domain or HTTPS migration, you should upload the disavow file on your separate mobile site if it was previously uploaded just on your desktop site.

Sites Without Equivalent Mobile & Desktop Content Won’t be Switched to Mobile-first

April 6, 2018 Source

If Google judges that a site’s content isn’t equivalent on mobile and desktop then it probably won’t be switched to mobile-first indexing.

Desktop Search Results Will be Generated from Mobile Pages with Mobile-first

April 3, 2018 Source

Desktop users will see relevant desktop pages, but the search results will be generated from content crawled from mobile pages after mobile-first indexing. Desktop ranking will be impacted if you have reduced content on your mobile pages as that is where Google will be sourcing content from.

Provide Desktop Version to Mobile User Agent if There is No Mobile Equivalent

April 3, 2018 Source

For mobile-first indexing, if there is no mobile version of a page it should not 404 for the mobile user agent. Instead the desktop version should be made available for Googlebot Smartphone.

Separate Mobile Sites Need to be Crawlable at the Same Speed as Desktop

April 3, 2018 Source

Separate mobile sites need to be able to be crawled at the same speed as on desktop so if your separate mobile site is hosted on a slower server then this will affect Google’s ability to rank it after mobile-first rolls out.

Related Topics

Dynamic Serving Mobile Mobile Interstitials Mobile-first Indexing AMP Responsive Design