Mobile SEO for other devices

Tablets

When thinking about how to configure your website for mobile users, it’s common to think about visitors using tablet devices to access your site. Although we do not have specific recommendations for building search engine friendly tablet-optimized websites, there are some tips for building websites that serve desktop, smartphone and tablet users.

Responsive Web Design

Our general recommendation is to use responsive web design. This means that your website serves the same HTML code to all devices along with different CSS style rules to optimize the site’s interface on desktops, smartphones, and tablets.

If your website uses responsive web design, test it on a variety of tablets to make sure it renders correctly as, just like for smartphones, there are a variety of tablet sizes and screen resolutions.

Device-specific content

A website can return different pages (different HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc) for different devices. These pages can be served on the same URL (a configuration called dynamic serving) or on separate dedicated URLs.

If your website has different pages to serve desktop and smartphone users and does not have tablet-specific pages, in our experience tablet users usually expect to see your desktop site rather than the site’s smartphone pages.

If your website has tablet-optimized sites, these guidelines can help you configure your site:

  • Dynamic serving: Here the same URLs serves desktop, smartphone, and tablet users by serving different HTML (and CSS) depending on the user-agent. As described in our smartphone website recommendations, we strongly suggest using the Vary HTTP header.
  • Separate tablet-dedicated URLs: In this case, we strongly suggest you allow Googlebot to crawl the tablet URLs and use a rel=”canonical” on each tablet URL to point to the equivalent desktop URL.

Feature phones

Our recommendation for sites serving smartphone users is to use responsive web design if possible. However, since feature phones do not have the capability to follow CSS media queries, webmasters wishing to serve feature phones would need to configure their sites to either use dynamic serving or separate URLs to serve the feature phone content.

This section demonstrates how to implement each of these configurations.

Dynamic Serving

Configuring your server to dynamically serve feature phone optimized contents on the same URL that serves other devices uses the same implementation as when serving smartphones: The server should include the “Vary: User-Agent” HTTP response header, and you should also be aware of the common pitfalls when detecting user-agents.

Separate URLs

Webmasters have three supported configurations when serving desktop, smartphone, and feature phone users on different URLs. These configurations use the annotations we’ve previously described for building feature phone and smartphone optimized sites.

Dedicated URLs configuration

In this configuration, the setup would be like this:

  • http://www.example.com/page-1 serves desktop users
  • http://m.example.com/page-1 serves smartphone users
  • http://phone.example.com/page-1 serves feature phone users

In this configuration, we recommend to add the following annotations to help our algorithms understand the relationship between the equivalent pages targeting different devices:

On www.example.com/page-1 add:

<link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" href="http://m.example.com/page-1" />
<link rel="alternate" media="handheld" href="http://phone.example.com/page-1" />

On m.example.com/page-1 add:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/page-1" />

On phone.example.com/page-1 add:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/page-1" />

Desktop and all-mobile URLs configuration

In this configuration, a website would serve desktop devices on one URL and all mobiles, i.e. both smartphones and feature phones, on a separate URL. For example:

  • http://www.example.com/page-1 serves desktop users
  • http://m.example.com/page-1 serves both smartphone and feature phone users

In this case, the annotation on http://www.example.com/page-1 would be:

<link rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" href="http://m.example.com/page-1" />
<link rel="alternate" media="handheld" href="http://m.example.com/page-1" />

On the m.example.com page, include:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/page-1" />

This rel="canonical" needs to be included regardless of if they are feature phone pages or smartphone pages or not.

The server should include the HTTP Vary: User-Agent header in its response. This sends a signal to Internet caches and Googlebot that the server’s response may differ depending on the user-agent. Googlebot will use this signal for crawling.

Separate feature phone URLs configuration

In this configuration, a website serves desktops and smartphones on one URL using responsive web design or dynamic serving, and feature phones on a separate URL. For example:

  • http://www.example.com/page-1 serves desktop and smartphone users
  • http://m.example.com/page-1 serves feature phone users

In this case, the annotation on http://www.example.com/page-1 would be:

<link rel="alternate" media="handheld" href="http://m.example.com/page-1" />

And on http://m.example.com/page-1 would be:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com/page-1" />

Redirects and the HTTP Vary header

Please note that if your site automatically redirects mobile visitors coming to the desktop site to the mobile site, or vice versa, please be sure to configure your server to include the Vary HTTP header.

Sitemaps

Our recommendations for using feature phone sitemaps, and sitemaps for smartphone alternate URLs remain unchanged.