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    Question Transitioning from separate mobile site to responsive design


    Hi everyone, first time poster, so I apologize if this isn't the right forum for this question. I've tried searching this forum for previous threads regarding my question, but haven't come up with anything (maybe I'm not putting in the right keywords).

    For the past three years I've been running a separate mobile site for my company in addition to the default desktop site. The mobile site has its own domain: m.mycompany.com. Pages under www.mycompany.com have a <link rel="alternate"> tag pointing to the same page under the m.mycompany.com domain. And conversely, pages under the m.mycompany.com domain have a <link rel="alternate"> tag pointing to the same page under the www.mycompany.com domain. This setup has been working well for us and Google recognizes our mobile site properly.

    This year I've been working on responsive layouts for our site. Because there are so many different types of pages on the site, I'd like to roll out the responsive layouts incrementally. For example, I'd like to convert the product pages to responsive design first, then work up to the category pages, then the cart and checkout pages, and so on. From a technical standpoint the visitor will be switching between m.mycompany.com and www.mycompany.com on their mobile devices based on what page they are accessing.

    Does anyone have experience with this sort of transition? Any technical advise as far as how to handle <link rel="alternate"> or <link rel="canonical"> tags? Also did you notice any drop in rankings or google crawler issues?

    Thanks,
    Sridhar
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    Hello!

    Sorry for the late response. So as you've been working incrementally on this, how did you handle the fact that a mobile page and a responsive page would exist simultaneously? Did you redirect the mobile to the new responsive pages as they came into existence or something?

    I'm not an expert I'm afraid - just trying to stir the pot and get some more discussion going here.
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    Hi sridhar,

    Originally Posted by sridhar85
    I'd like to convert the product pages to responsive design first, then work up to the category pages, then the cart and checkout pages, and so on. From a technical standpoint the visitor will be switching between m.mycompany.com and www.mycompany.com on their mobile devices based on what page they are accessing.

    Does anyone have experience with this sort of transition? Any technical advise as far as how to handle <link rel="alternate"> or <link rel="canonical"> tags? Also did you notice any drop in rankings or google crawler issues?

    Thanks,
    Sridhar
    I assume you are some way along in your project by now, but in case you are not (and for other readers):
    I would - as Mark suggested - use redirects... So in your example, I would:

    Convert the product pages, then add 301 redirects for those pages on your mobile site, redirecting to the main site (and simultaneaously remove the rel="alternative" tag from the main site page).

    Then do the same with the category, cart and checkout pages.

    If you add 301 redirects as you go, you've no need for any "alternative" or "canonical" tags.

    If your sites are identical in structure, then once you've converted all your pages, you can replace your (huge number of) 301 redirects with a single "redirectmatch", making it really quick and easy to "forward" all traffic, bots, link-juice etc to your main domain and Google will be happy.
    Last edited by ClickyB; Oct 23rd, 2015 at 11:07 PM.
    ClickyB
    "The quality of the visitor is more important than the volume..." (Egol 22nd Feb 2008)
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