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Making a site accessible for Google mobile search



1:31 pm on Jan 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Hi, i'm a big fan for mobile internet and i spended alot of time to made my biggest site accessible for mobile phones.

My mobile site is being used, and most of the users come direct to my .mobi domain. With that im very happy, but now i want to be the best in the mobile serps!

In my nice and language we are almost the first with a good working mobile website. Full content, Full content rss feeds everything.

We got for normal users: www.DOMAIN.com and for mobile mobile.DOMAIN.com. And i use DOMAIN.mobi to marked it... so DOMAIN.mobi is just a 301 to mobile.DOMAIN.com

Now, when i do a search with my Nokia N95 on google, most of the sites or not made for mobile web and it looks like it are just the normal SERPS! I can't understand that, Google has a whole team for Google Mobile, but the SERPS are just rubbish.

Intresting statistics are that my users stay longer (sometimes 30 minutes) on my mobile site. That numbers proof me, mobile web is starting to go boom! Like other numbers, it will be bigger than the normal web, but google isnt helping the early guys.

And yesterday i had a record with Google Adsense for mobile. Yeah!


6:55 am on Jan 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Good post.

Was your expectation that Google would realise searches were coming from a mobile and then return mainly mobile oriented sits in their serps?

Do your visitors come via the .mobi site mainly or the mbile.domain.com one?


8:06 am on Jan 16, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Just to confirm your findings. I typed in a few Google queries using my lap top and then my mobile, the serps are the same. Weird if Google want to promote surfing from mobiles.


4:24 pm on Jan 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Dear renzo008,

We're doing the same as you with the domain.com and domain.mobi.
There is a whole different set of pages for the mobile user.
I can't do the mobile.domain.com with my hosting company.

Google does not find the mobile designed pages now.
We are thinking of hosting the .mobi content elsewhere so we can submit a separate sitemap to Google. But I'm worried about duplicate content penalties at Google.

What does everyone else do to avoid the duplicate content problem and still get Google to accurately find the mobile designed pages?

Best Wishes,


8:01 am on Jan 25, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

One solution is to have all your .mobi pages with the noindex meta tag. That will stop Google indexing the pages, although some of the lesser search engines may still index them.

Then at the top of all of your normal pages you insert a section of code which identifies that the viewer is using a mobile or whatever. If from a mobile you redirect them to your relevant .mobi page.


1:44 am on Feb 4, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It is getting intresting..

I did some more investigation and testing. About the noindex thing, i made a dynamic robots.txt file. Anyway 1 for www. and 1 for mobile. the funny thing is: when i disallow Googlebot on my mobile.DOMAIN it can't access my mobile sitemap!

This is in my opinion a bug or a stupid rule in the Google system. They have to change the Googlebot spider for mobile sitemaps to Googlebot-Mobile spider..

For me its more worse or funny now, even my mobile pages are in the normal SERPS! I'm talking about valid mobile pages, i mean with the XHTML-mobile profile tag on top. So the normal Googlebot can see it is a page for mobile use but it is still in the normal SERPS.

This is also my answer to dvdtvshows.. Yes you're right, it is no answer. I understand alot of the 'new' and old web, but the normal/mobile thing is a difficult thing in my mind. I have to think hard! haha.. hope you get it, but noindex is not the answer! Especially not with the actual googlebot configuration.

If your pages are good, with XHTML and XHTML-mobile-profile tag on top, it is Google his? / her problem. In my mind you don't have to be afraid for a duplicate penalty. (There is a help page at Google where they say, there is no duplicate penalty like we talk about..)

Maybe Google wants to see 'normal' and 'mobile' pages on 1 subdomain, so both on www.DOMAIN , but that is not the right way in my opinion, because everybody is using: domain.MOBI , m.DOMAIN , mobile.DOMAIN etc.. (even miss google)

(Update: Importent thing is i got in my google.com/webmastertools both subdomains: www.DOMAIN and mobile.DOMAIN, but when you take a look at the webmastertools site you will notice, Google can have mobile and normal on 1 subdomain.... What should we do?)


5:38 am on Feb 6, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Renzo, it's good to hear of your success. Sadly, our mobile site has been a disaster as Google smacked us for duplicate content. The dismal adsense earnings were certainly not worth this.

It's clear that Google hasn't figured this out yet, and maybe never will, since phones have evolved and many mobile users are looking for wide pages or apps.

We tried restricting the Googlebot in our mobile subdomain (m.example.com) and allowing the Mobile Googlebot, using robots.txt like this:
User-agent: googlebot-mobile

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

This helped, but Google still has a bunch of our mobile pages indexed, and won't let us add a mobile sitemap. So now we're trying this:

User-Agent: *
Allow: /mobilesitemap.xml
Disallow: /

User-Agent: Googlebot-Mobile
Allow: /mobilesitemap.xml
Allow: /

This doesn't seem to have much effect either. I would take down the mobile site, but it seems like such a waste, since it works really well. I think our next step will be to NoIndex the pages in an attempt to convince Google it doesn't exist.


9:22 am on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Disallow Googlebot to pages will end with a removal for that page in the SERPS.

So i think you did a good job. I never thought about the Allow: /mobilesitemap.xml one, thats a nice option.

But it always takes some time.

I'm thinking about drop my mobile.DOMAIN subdomain.. when i look at google webmasterstool i notice this on diagnostics:

'Mobile crawl

See errors and problems encountered by Google's crawlers while accessing pages on your site created specifically for viewing on mobile cell phones.'

UPDATE: 1 hour later... I forwarded every mobile sub/domain i had to just the normal WWW.

on WWW. i have a check for Googlebot-mobile and Phones.. If they want XHTML for mobile, they get it automaticly.

I think according to Google's webmastertools this is the way it has to work, no duplicate content, just another template..

I hope i keep my visitors.. :/


2:10 pm on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

Do we assume that you are constructing .mobi compliant sites?

It's clear that Google hasn't figured this out yet

Hmmm...must disagree with you here, I do not have any problems, in fact I have .mobi sites in the top 10 of the regular SERPs for my trade widget competitive terms.


5:48 pm on Feb 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I should specify that our site is a database of information, and these seem to be the ones that get hit with the duplicate content penalties. It is fully mobile compliant, but Google still does not understand that these pages should not be considered duplicates.

Note in the Google Webmaster Guidelines:

Avoid having pages from subdomains and the root directory (e.g. "domain.com/page.htm" and "sub.domain.com/page.htm") access the same content.

Well, that's exactly what we're doing with our mobile site: presenting the same content from our database in 2 different formats. Great for the user, horrible for our Page Rank.

Trying to solve the problem with user agents might work, but there's some debate now as to how users feel about the sites choosing for them. I think we'll let users go to m.example.com if they want our mobile content, but NoIndex the pages so Google doesn't know they exist (and hopefully gives us our Page Rank back).


9:54 am on Feb 8, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Musicarl, is i wrote already; yesterday i changed everything.

All content is hosted on 1 domain, www.MYDOMAIN and i just made a script to detect mobile phones and googlebot-mobile. When they try to access a page i just give that page but with my mobile template.

After that i redirected my .MOBi domain, the m.MYDOMAIN and the mobile.MYDOMAIN to the www version.

In my opinion this is what google wants, and what is after a lot of thinking the most logical solution. But your CMS or system need a template system with a mobile user agent detection.

There is just 1 little 'negative' thing. When other webmasters are looking for mobile webpages to place on their mobile startpage or something it is a little bit difficult to find the mobile version of your webpage because you have a mobile phone detection. So if they are searching with just a normal browser, my detecttion will serve the 'normal' webpage. So in my opinion it is important to have a .MOBi or a m.DOMAIN redirect, and you have to tell everyone you have .MOBi domain. But that is just marketing.

I'm happy i changed everything. Now everything is on 1 domain. I got a cool template system and i even can change content on the same page within another template. So i can make articles shorter for mobile use etc..

Still i hope Google Mobile will having other SERPS in the near future. When i do a search (at google mobile) on one of my keywords my site pops up with the www.DOMAIN version, and there is a little icon of a mobile phone behind the result. All other results don't have a little mobilephone icon.


5:45 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

We just run one version that is simple enough to be viewed on both mobile and non-mobile browsers.


7:11 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I got an iphone, and would think that other smart phones will follow suit and faciliate navegating normal sites rather than mobi sites....


7:58 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I got an iphone, and would think that other smart phones will follow suit and faciliate navegating normal sites rather than mobi sites

Exactly our stance. Technology has already reached the point where separate sites are no longer necessary. A year or two from now it won't matter as long as you keep your site design simple enough.


11:26 pm on Feb 9, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I use CSS and according to the browser that loads the page I would deliver a different CSS style that fits. Normally one of mobiles and one for normal size screens.

Works really well and no worries about duplicate content etc...


9:44 am on Feb 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I use CSS

seems like a sensible solution.

I get the impression that due to the explosion in use of smart phones, its page loadin times that have become an issue again. Light weight pages are once again coming back into fashion.


9:12 am on Feb 12, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

We just run one version that is simple enough to be viewed on both mobile and non-mobile browsers

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