Do you link building for your mobile website?


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Over the past couple of years, since the Google Penguin updates started, link building has had a bit of a bad press and fewer businesses are throwing their resources at this area because of the risk.

Google’s advice about building links is pretty straightforward: Don’t build links.

They suggest that you should concentrate on making great content for users that adds value to your proposition and encourages users to treat you as a resource. This is valid advice. In an era when the majority of users have social media accounts sharing great content is easy, particularly on mobile devices, where sharing to any one of your native app social networks is as easy as touching the screen.

So, do you need to link build differently for a mobile website?

To a degree, mobile specific websites were once a stepping-stone to a responsive web. Before the days of fully featured browsers on mobile devices, it wasn’t really practical to deliver a unified experience to a user that was device independent. 

If you are in a position where a single, responsive website isn’t a possibility – either for development or technology reasons, then link building becomes an important factor.

In theory, the only link you really need to have for the mobile version of your website is this one:

<link rel=”alternate” media=”only screen and (max-width: 640px)” href=”” >

Breaking this down:

  • Link – this advises that the element refers to a specific URL and is a link from this page.
  • Rel=alternate – this advises that the link provided refers to an alternative version of the same page.
  • Media – this advises that the relationship is only applicable to certain devices – in this case touch screen with a maximum width.
  • Href – this specifies which page serves as the alternate in this particular case.

You can specify multiple alternate URLs to account for a variety of different devices and input methods, however in most cases, only a single alternate URL is necessary.

Having this on every page of a desktop website with a mobile optimized alternative tells Google that there is an alternative page that they should serve up for users of specific devices.

What about Reciprocity

Although we don’t talk much about reciprocal links in SEO these days, mobile optimization is one area where they’re important, although they’re not quite the same as they were back in 2005 when they were used to build link popularity by linking between websites.

When you’re advising search engines about alternate URLs for different device types, it’s always important to provide information about which page is the default version for users. You can do that with rel=”Canonical”:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”” >

This element breaks down as follows:

  • Link – the element is a link.
  • Rel=canonical – the page being linked to is the primary version which users should see.
  • Href= – this is the link that is referred to.

The two elements work in collaboration to ensure that:

– _Search engines know which page is the version that rankings should be based on (canonical).

– _Search engines know which page users should see, dependent on their device.

This approach should be used in any case where a mobile user is directed to a different URL to a desktop user. If it is correctly implemented, users will have a seamless experience and rankings will be consistent across multiple devices.

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The use of rel canonical / rel alternate can be difficult to manage, however, Google do provide some resources in their webmaster help at the following location:

Provided you are explicit in declaring the relationship between the desktop and mobile versions of your pages, you do not need to build links specifically to your mobile content.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Patrick Murphy
SiliconCloud provides high-quality, customized solutions to satisfy business objectives by leveraging the online space to drive leads and nurture customer relationships. SiliconCloud's integrated solutions of Web Creative, Analytics, Search Marketing & Social Media is designed to elevate your image, inform sales strategies and drive business. SiliconCloud means having a clear vision. Dozens of organizations in B2B and B2C arenas have counted on SiliconCloud to pave their road to the future by securing their online presence


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