What’s the best mobile domain: m., .mobi or /m?
A client of ours was curious about mobile marketing for their plastic surgery practice. They have seen m.example.com and example.mobi and even example.com/m, but what was the best? And what’s the affect on SEO for their plastic surgery practice? For the sake of easy reading m. will be referred to as m-dot, .mobi is dot-mobi, and /m shall be slash-m.
BOTTOM LINE ON DIFFERENCE
Using either m-dot or slash-m will work as long as the media queries (the technical term for code that determines the type of device that is requesting access to the site) are up-to-date and redirect to the appropriate place.
Do NOT use a separate domain, like dot-mobi. Even if example.com redirected to example.mobi, it’s one more piece of “stuff” that you have to buy and maintain. Adding a dot-m or slash-m to your existing domain is free. And for that reason, everyone should do either the m-dot or slash-m.
IN-DEPTH EXPLANATION OF DIFFERENCE
m-dot is the most common mobile designation. It has been adopted by Facebook, Twitter, and Yahoo!. It is close to becoming as standard as a dot-com. If your average savvy surfer was looking for a mobile version of a site, they’ll try m-dot, because it’s that common a convention at this point.
Slash-m is not significantly different. It’s like a dot-org or dot-net in terms of popularity. But Google uses a variation, google.com/mobile/ios. This has a certain logic to it: as more devices emerge, the file structure can be anticipated. If Google had a specific tablet layout, I’m sure they’d use google.com/tablet/ios. It also allows them to precisely code for android or iOS, so their code stays lighter and the user-experience is specific to their device. This sort of file structure is currently in vogue with search engines as it is easier for a computer to map the site and experience, but there does not appear to be any SEO advantage for one over the other.
An m-dot has logic as well, like the upside down ! mark at the beginning of Spanish sentences that lets you know the sentence to come is an exclamation. It’s very obvious what is going on and very common.
Dot-mobi is like dot-net in terms of popularity and utility. Dot-net was supposed to be for networks, dot-org for organizations and dot-com for commercial properties. But today, those distinctions have blurred. And for that reason, purchasing an additional domain does not make sense when a sub-domain or directory is free.