SEO for Mobile Sites
You need to configure mobile sites so that they can be indexed accurately and then verify that your mobile site is indexed by Google.
For Example, If a search for a Website on Google’s desktop search and mobile search. Mobile search results are built for mobile devices and are different from “standard” desktop results.
Be sure your mobile site is properly recognized by Google so that searchers can find it. It seems the world is going mobile, with many people using mobile phones on a daily basis, and a large user base searching on Google’s mobile search page.
Be aware, as a webmaster, if you are running a mobile site and tapping into the mobile search audience, it isn’t easy. Mobile sites not only use a different format from normal desktop sites, but the management methods and expertise required are also quite different.
This results in a variety of new challenges. While many mobile sites were designed with mobile viewing in mind, they weren’t designed to be search engine optimization friendly.
Here are some troubleshooting tips to help ensure that your site is properly crawled and indexed by Google.
How to Make Sure Your Mobile Site is Indexed Properly
If your web site doesn’t show up in the results of a Google mobile search even using the site: operator, it may be that your site has one or both of the following issues.
Googlebot may not be able to find your site Googlebot must crawl your site before it can be included in our search index. If you just created the site, we may not yet be aware of it. If that’s the case, create a Mobile Sitemap and submit it to Google to inform us of the site’s existence. A Mobile Sitemap can be submitted using Google Webmaster Tools, just like a standard Sitemap.
Googlebot may not be able to access your site Some mobile sites refuse access to anything but mobile phones, making it impossible for Googlebot to access the site, and therefore making the site unsearchable. Our crawler for mobile sites is “Googlebot-Mobile”. If you’d like your site crawled, please allow any User-agent including “Googlebot-Mobile” to access your site. You should also be aware that Google may change its User-agent information at any time without notice, so we don’t recommend checking whether the User-agent exactly matches “Googlebot- Mobile” (the current User-agent). Instead, check whether the User-agent header contains the string “Googlebot-Mobile”. You can also use DNS Lookups to verify Googlebot.
Verify that Google can Verify Your Site
Once Googlebot-Mobile crawls your URLs, Google then checks for whether each URL is viewable on a mobile device. Pages Google determines aren’t viewable on a mobile phone won’t be included in a mobile site index (although they may be included in the regular web index).
This determination is based on a variety of factors, one of which is the “DTD (Doc Type Definition)” declaration. Check that your mobile-friendly URLs’ DTD declaration is in an appropriate mobile format such as XHTML Mobile or Compact HTML. If it’s in a compatible format, the page is eligible for the mobile search index.
Running Desktop and Mobile Versions of your Site
One of the most common problems for webmasters who run both mobile and desktop versions of a site is that the mobile version of the site appears for users on a desktop computer, or
that the desktop version of the site appears when someone accesses it on a mobile device. In dealing with this scenario, here are two viable options:
When a mobile user or crawler (like Googlebot-Mobile) accesses the desktop version of a URL, you can redirect them to the corresponding mobile version of the same page. Google knows the difference between the two versions of the URL and displays the standard version for searches from desktops as well as mobile version for mobile searches.
If you redirect users, please make sure that the content on the corresponding mobile/desktop URL matches as closely as possible
For example, if you run a shopping site and there’s an access from a mobile phone to a desktop-version URL, make sure that the user is redirected to the mobile version of the page for the same product, and not to the homepage of the mobile version of the site. We occasionally find sites using this kind of redirect in an attempt to boost their search rankings, but this practice only results in a negative user experience, and so should be avoided at all costs. On the other hand, when there’s an access to a mobile-version URL from a desktop browser or by our web crawler, Googlebot, it’s not necessary to redirect them to the desktop-version.
Google doesn’t automatically redirect desktop users from their mobile site to their desktop site; instead they include a link on the mobile version page to the desktop version. These links are especially helpful when a mobile site doesn’t provide the full functionality of the desktop version allowing users to easily navigate to the desktop-version if they prefer.
Switch content based on the User-agent
Some sites have the same URL for both desktop and mobile content, but you need to change their format according to the User-agent. In other words, both mobile users and desktop users access the same URL (i.e.; no redirects), but the content/format changes slightly according to the User-agent. In this case, the same URL will appear for both mobile search and desktop search, and desktop users can see a desktop version of the content while mobile users can see a mobile version of the content.
However, you should note that if you fail to configure your site correctly, your site could be considered to be cloaking, which can lead to your site disappearing from Google search results. Cloaking refers to an attempt to boost search result rankings by serving different content to a Googlebot than to regular users.
This causes problems such as less relevant results (pages appear in search results even though their
content is actually unrelated to what users see/want), so Google takes cloaking very seriously.
So what does this mean? “the page that the user sees” means if you provide both versions with a URL? As I mentioned in the previous post, Google uses “Googlebot” for web search and “Googlebot-Mobile” for mobile search.
To remain within Google guidelines, you should serve the same content to Googlebot as a typical desktop user would see, and the same content to Googlebot-Mobile as you
would to the browser on a typical mobile device. It’s fine if the contents for Googlebot are different from those for Googlebot-Mobile.
For an example of how you could be unintentionally detected as cloaking, is if your site returns a message like “Please access from mobile phones” to desktop browsers, but then returns a full mobile version to both crawlers (so Googlebot receives the mobile version.
In this example, the page which web search users see (i.e; “Please access from mobile phones”) is different from the page which Googlebot crawls (i.e. “Welcome to my site”). Again, Google detects cloaking because they want to serve users the same relevant content that Googlebot or Googlebot-Mobile crawled.
There is quite a lot of difference between Mobile Search and Desktop Searches with Google algorithms, so you must understand; what Google looks at may not be the same as what you intended!