|Could my Mobile site be impacting my real site?|
Visits to home page declined ever mobile was launched...
I hope someone with some good to expert knowledge in SEO can help me with this. It is a little complicated, so it could pose a challenge for some to answer:
The basic question is: could the new mobile version of my website be impacting my SEO? Let me give you some basic facts around this:
-My website often ranks first in its niche on Google, and has been online since Mar. 1999
-In March 2009, I introduced a new mobile version of my website, and created a subdirectory for it (m.mysite.com)
-Now, a year later, when I search for my niche on Google, I get some strange and different results. For example, I may see the mobile version of my website as one of the results, but not the actual website.
-I may see the music section of my website on the first results page, and my actual website as a sub-result of the music section.
-Looking at Google Anaylytics, you can clearly see an almost 10% decrease from the week before to the week after the mobile site was introduced, in the number of visits to my home page. And it is on almost constant decline.
I am not sure if there is a third factor to account for this, and if there is, then the mobile version is just a coincidence, and has nothing to do with the declining number of visits to my home page.
Can anyone help, or suggest anything from the facts I stated above please?
Your mobile pages should not be indexed. I believe it is good practice to either use robots.txt to ignore them, or put the "no index, no follow" in the header of your mobile pages.
This is my understanding, since it might create duplicate content issues.
But I have no real world experience to back this up. Just from what I remember reading.
If mobile versions of your pages are not blocked for the search engines, they can outrank the normal pages because they are often lightweight with mainly text, and not much other information which may give problems for the search engines to parse and index them. They work as unintentional doorway pages, although real visitors with large-screen computers may be more interested to view your real site than the mobile version.
We went through the exact same thing. Site up since 1999, created a mobile version on the m.example.com subdomain, and watched traffic decline on the main site while Google put the mobile pages in its main index.
This was very frustrating, because I figured Google would know to put mobile pages in its mobile index and keep them out of its main index, but they just don't. I never got a good answer from Google on this - more along the lines of "It should work OK," and I think for some sites it does - there are plenty out there that don't seem to have this problem.
Our solution was to do as what's been suggested here - use robots.txt to take the mobile content out of the index. So our mobile efforts were not just a waste of time and resources, but did some harm to the main site. In our case, I think they whacked our page rank (cut it in half), although traffic is still OK. Get those pages out of the index now. Mobile devices use apps anyway.