Recently, we launched separate URL site m.example.com for mobile users. That was a mistake because we don't have corresponding pages on mobile for every page on the desktop version. We have fewer pages on the m.example.com website compared to www.example.com.

Google started to index our mobile pages. This causes keywords for desktop to disappear. To recover from this problem we thought to put rel=alternate and rel=canonical but as I said we don't have all pages on mobile. Some products are not available for mobile so we don't have these pages for mobile.

I thought to make responsive version, but it would take too much time. What can I do?

  • Can you add all the pages to your mobile site? – Stephen Ostermiller Dec 6 '18 at 14:04
  • No, we can't add all the desktop pages to mobile, because many products are only available for desktop users. – sahilseo Dec 6 '18 at 14:18
  • Why would a product only be available to a desktop user? Like Windows software? Even then, I'd think somebody could buy it on mobile to use it on their computer. – Stephen Ostermiller Dec 6 '18 at 14:30
  • These are some games actually, different for pc and mobile users. but the main thing is: in this situation how to optimize it for SEO. – sahilseo Dec 6 '18 at 14:37
  • Put up the page for the game on the mobile site, but say that you have to be on a PC to play it? – Stephen Ostermiller Dec 6 '18 at 15:32

The best recommendation that I have is to be as explicit as possible for when you do have a mobile URL and for when you do not. The best method for this is to state this in your sitemap as is indicated in the official Google documentation here: https://developers.google.com/search/mobile-sites/mobile-seo/separate-urls#annotation-in-sitemaps.

Per the Google documentation your sitemap URLs should look like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<urlset xmlns="http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9"
media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)"
href="http://m.example.com/page-1" />

For pages where you have both desktop and mobile versions of the page:

  • On your example.com page, put a canonical pointing to the example.com page and an alternate pointing to the m.example.com page.

  • On your m.example.com page, put a canonical pointing to the example.com page.

For pages where you have only a desktop version:

  • On your example.com page, put a canonical pointing to example.com page and do not use an alternate tag (because there is no alternate representation).

  • Leave your m.example.com page nonexistant.

This setup ensures that Google will always index your example.com pages as canonical pages and won't get confused and index any m.example.com pages, because it will see them as an alternate resource representation.

When a visitor visits your example.com page, detect if they are on a mobile device. If they are both on a mobile device and you also have a mobile representation of the page they are viewing, redirect them to the m.example.com version of the page.

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