2

A lot of sites have separate views for desktop and mobile, such as example.com and example.com/m/.

Almost no one redirects desktop users to desktop if they somehow end up clicking mobile link. Is there specific reason why not, and are there any minuses if done so?

Example: some users tend to share mobile link on Facebook, cause they are copy pasting it from mobile, and it results in serving mobile views to desktop users.

4

Bidirectional redirects are good user experience

I would go ahead and implement the redirects, it seems like good user experience to me. I suspect that it isn't always done because:

  • Mobile sites work on desktops even if they aren't the ideal experience. As opposed to the other way around where a desktop site is often nearly unusable on mobile.
  • Your redirect rules will probably need to be kept up to date in two places. If you have separated URLs and code bases for mobile and desktop you will probably have duplicated lists of user agents between the two.
  • There may be some user agents that are ambiguous. You may not have any data on whether some user agents would prefer the mobile or the desktop versions and maybe you shouldn't redirect those either way. In other words your rules for redirects from mobile to desktop may not be just the negation of your rules for redirecting from desktop to mobile.

Bidirectional redirects are OK for SEO

From an SEO standpoint, Google is fine with bidirectional mobile redirects. They specifically say so in their separate mobile URLs documentation:

Different websites implement different redirection policies. Some websites only redirect mobile users visiting a desktop page to the mobile page (“unidirectional” redirects), and some websites redirect both mobile and desktop users if they visit pages on, respectively, the desktop and mobile sites (“bidirectional” redirects).

For Googlebot, we do not have any preference and recommend that webmasters consider their users when deciding on their redirection policy. The most important thing is to serve correct and consistent redirects, i.e. redirect to the equivalent content on the desktop or mobile site. If your configuration is wrong, some users may not be able to see your content at all.

Also, we suggest giving users a way to override the redirect policy, i.e. allowing mobile users to view the desktop page and allowing desktop users to see the mobile page if they so choose.

Implementation

This WebmasterWorld forum thread has several rewrite based implementation suggestions for bi-directional mobile redirects.

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Why Not Redirect to Desktop

It depends a little on how the redirect is set up, but essentially the rules on a website are If the user is on mobile, direct them to m.google.com, you could just as easily go the other way around.


Why Use M.site.com

Most sites now use a responsive design that solves this issue.

What you describe in your example assumes that this rule does not exist and there is a dedicated mobile version of the same website.

For those that still use a dedicated mobile site, there are usually a lot of legacy issues or the website wants to show a super fast version of their website. This is very important in countries such as Africa where internet speeds are slow.

  • I do not think those are legacy issues. Facebook itself does not redirect back to desktop, and some of the strongest news portals in my country. That's why I am wondering is there any reason behind it. – Robert Jun 5 '18 at 9:56

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