Given a site which is not optimized for mobile (and not responsive), Google's new ranking algorithm, which is set to go into effect April 21, 2015, will result in a lower ranking.

If the site does not currently have an "m dot" site (m.example.com), would introducing a new site at the new domain solve the SEO problem? Or would it cause another one? Wouldn't that the pages to be indexed twice?

Responsive design is clearly the best solution for maintainability and certainly solves the "mobile-friendliness" problem, but I'm curious if introducing a mobile-only site would also solve the problem.

  • It seems to me that the OP is under the impression that there is something to fix, when in reality, very little actually changes and that no matter how a site become mobile friendly will only effect a small segment of search. To answer the question responsive or mobile only site, I am sure that is answered here also. It generally does not matter with caveats.
    – closetnoc
    Mar 9, 2015 at 22:29
  • 1
    I don't think this is a duplicate the other question asks about the existence of the penalty. This question is asking about a method for avoiding it. Mar 9, 2015 at 23:31
  • @StephenOstermiller You are right. Hence my second comment. I seem to remembering a question regarding static verses responsive design that would have been closer. Both answers would have done it- I think. I leave these up to y'all. You can take my suggestions with salt sometimes.
    – closetnoc
    Mar 9, 2015 at 23:40
  • @closetnoc I would no longer describe mobile as a small segment of the traffic. For my largest site, it is nearly half the traffic now: i.stack.imgur.com/mON97.png Mar 10, 2015 at 12:43

1 Answer 1


Google allows three different mobile configurations:

Although there are many advantages to responsive, Google allows any of the three. If Google is telling you that your site is not mobile friendly, separate m. URLs are a perfectly valid way to make it so.

The short version of Google's guidance about how to make m. URLs search engine friendly is:

  • Signal the relationship between two URLs by tag with rel="canonical" and rel="alternate" elements.
  • Detect user-agent strings and redirect them correctly.

If you are having doubts about whether it is worth optimizing for mobile, mobile use is exploding. Here are two years of device stats for my largest site. For the first time, mobile usage has surpassed desktop usage:

two years of mobile through 2015

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