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I have a responsive site that adjusts itself for mobile viewports. Google comes along and looks for /m/ or /mobile/ from time to time. I don't like the 404 errors, so I'm redirecting those URLs back to the base URL like so:

(.htaccess)
# Mobile pages Google is checking
RewriteRule ^m/$ / [L,R=301,NC]
RewriteRule ^mobile/$ / [L,R=301,NC]

Is this the right thing to do to let Google know my site is mobile-friendly?

  • Is this the right thing to do to let Google know my site is mobile-friendly? Probably not. 404 errors are not a problem unless of course there is supposed to be a page there. ;-) By redirecting, you may be telling G that these are valid URLs which of course they are not. You and I cannot say how G works on these matters, however, I would be so interested in confusing G further. I would just let the 404s happen. Why should you care that you see them?? It is not a problem if it is not a problem. Get what I mean? Cheers!! – closetnoc Aug 11 '16 at 2:48
  • @closetnoc It's an effort to minimize 404 errors – Drakes Aug 11 '16 at 3:13
  • 404 errors for pages that do not exist are perfectly fine. Afterall, that is what is supposed to happen. People have to learn to only pay attention to 404s that are an indication of an actual problem. We get tons of questions about 404s and the consensus among them is that 404s should not happen. However, 404s are perfectly normal and something you want. Only fix 404s for pages that should exist. Cheers!! – closetnoc Aug 11 '16 at 3:28
  • @closetnoc Your point, of course, makes sense. I'll remove those lines from the htaccess and just disallow them in robots and see what happens. Thank you. – Drakes Aug 11 '16 at 3:32
  • Ah! The robots idea may be interesting!! Not sure what will come of it though. Just remember that G only checks the robots.txt once in 24 hours (according to G). However, we have heard here that is not always the case. So keep that in mind and do not let it frustrate you if it happens. Just crack open a beer. It will happen eventually. – closetnoc Aug 11 '16 at 3:35
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Did you used to have those in your URI? If not, I don't understand why Google would be searching for them. If so, and recently, then I would redirect them.

Google does not determine mobile friendliness based on URIs. It does so based on your response to a mobile device, such as speed, size inside a mobile viewport, etc.

  • Event on virgin sites Google is known to check for both m/ and mobile/. I'm not the only one: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/95953/… – Drakes Aug 11 '16 at 3:10
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    @Drakes I'm sure you can find lots of people who say so but that doesn't tell us anything. You didn't answer the question, did you ever have those in your URIs in the past? I looked at my logs going back to February and don't see any such thing among four sites I checked. – Rob Aug 11 '16 at 3:17
  • Apologies for implicitly answering your question, but no, those URLs have never existed. They show up in several of the logs in my other sites too, though. – Drakes Aug 11 '16 at 3:29
  • We have had stories here of G probing for mobile - though only here and there. So I assume it is really happening - though only here and there. ;-) Cheers!! – closetnoc Aug 11 '16 at 3:29
  • @closetnoc Not here. Only there. – Rob Aug 11 '16 at 3:30

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