Nowadays, when choosing the graphic configuration of a website, the most popular choice is undoubtedly the responsive design . Google’s John Mueller said in a Google Webmaster Central hangout that if you plan to migrate from an m-dot (for example, http://m.domain.com) to a responsive mobile-friendly design, then you’d better do this before starting Mobile-first indexing .
There is no rush, we have time but he rightly said that the sooner you migrate the better. As always , prevention is better than cure .
Many webmasters ask technical and practical questions about correctly migrating from separate mobile URLs “URL m.” To a responsive site. Google recently posted some recommendations on how to switch from separate URLs to a responsive URL so websites can have (and maintain in some cases) the best chance of preforming well in Google search results.
Migrating a site m. towards responsive in a Googlebot-friendly way
Once your new responsive design website is ready, moving is something you can do relatively easily, based on your knowledge of redirection rules and any regular expressions, called RegEx .
Assuming that your website URL structure remains the same for the desktop version , all you need to do is configure 301 redirects from mobile URLs to responsive web URLs. The process is simple:
- Prepare the responsive site to go live, scan it and check for broken links with 404 errors. The two separate websites you had until now will become one, the mobile URL structure will be abandoned as the following image shows.
Mobile to responsive migration
- Configure 301 redirects on old mobile URLs to indicate responsive URLs. These redirects must be set up for each m. Site URL, individually from each mobile destination URL to responsive URLs. If you redirect all the old mobile pages to a single responsive page you are making a big mistake.
Mobile URL redirects
- Remove any specific configuration for mobile traffic that you previously implemented, such as any rel = alternate between desktop and mobile, conditional redirects or a different HTTP header (HTTP Vary?).
- As a good practice, implement the rel = canonical tag on responsive URLs to point to themselves (canonical self-referencing).
Below I show you some examples of rewrite rules ( RegEx / Regular Expressions ) to redirect domain m. (mobile) to the www (desktop) domain to be included in the .htaccess file.
If you currently use a mobile website with dynamic content (also called an adaptive mobile website ) and want to move to a responsive project, you don’t need to add or edit any redirects. Remove old configurations dedicated to user-agent or media query detection.
Some benefits of migrating to responsive design
Switching to a responsive site should make maintenance and routine management much easier for the webmaster. In addition to no longer having to manage separate URLs for all pages, it will also be much easier to adopt new practices and technologies such as the hreflang tag for internationalization , the AMP format for better speed , structured data for advanced search functions and even more.
As always, if you need more help you can ask a question in the comments.