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Mobile version and Google SEO?

   
2:34 am on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



We've just released a mobile version of our website.

The system detects the browsers user agent and serves the most relevant version of the website.

The URL's are the same for both mobile and main website.

We added Googlebots mobile user agent, (compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html) however using instant preview in GWT, it's not showing the mobile version. Though I switched my user agent in Firefox, to Googlebot Mobile, and the mobile version of the website is displayed.

I'm not even sure, if this is the best practice?

One major concern, is not all pages are available via mobile. If a mobile phone manually visits a page that doesn't support mobile, an error will be shown.

Will Googles mobile user agent try to crawl every page indexed, or will it only crawl pages that are linked via the mobile version?

Are there any other SEO considerations with the mobile version?

Thanks a lot.
10:39 am on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Perfect: "The system detects the browsers user agent and serves the most relevant version of the website."

Perfect: "The URL's are the same for both mobile and main website."

Googlebot craws with several mobile user agents that simulate different phone types. They crawl with feature phone and smart phone variants and possibly expect different layout (certainly different adsense ads) for different phone types.

I wouldn't give an error message for a page not available on mobile. The full site is better, some users still may be able to use it.
2:46 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Yea; a third to half of my visitors are mobile now, and my sites are structured very similar to yours. I serve on the same URL based on user agent, while all of the site is visible in mobile, I don't actually include everything in the mobile menu. I don't even worry about the mobile bot, truth to tell, and I seem to be doing just fine. Everything is twice what it was this time last year.
5:51 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Hi Deadsea, the error isn't by design, just the CMS throws an error, due to the missing template. However I am going to ensure the rest of the site is mobilised asap.

Thanks Netmeg, I'm hoping I'll have the same tale to tell this time next year.

Thanks for the info. :)
7:45 pm on Apr 13, 2012 (gmt 0)



I also setup my mobile exactly like this. Works great. I think once the 3 mobile crawlers in WMT all successfully pull the mobile version, while the regular crawler gets the full version you're fine.

I've never come across that problem with Instant preview. The plugin I use doesn't specify a mobile agent for Googlebot, just a list of the various mobile devices.

Maybe you should try removing the mobile agent you added for Googlebot and let them detect on their own.
3:51 am on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Hi Klark0, I believe that the way my CMS works, unless I specify the Google user agent to be served the mobile skin, it would by default, force it to view the main one.

Only user agents that are specified, will be served the mobile version.

(compatible; Googlebot-Mobile/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html) is the one I added, but perhaps there are more? I couldn't find anything solid online.

When searching via my mobile, and I click preview, it also shows me the full version.

Not quite sure what I'm not doing correctly. I'm guessing the instant previews, are generated on the fly, so if the mobile UA isn't showing the mobile version, it's because for some reason, it's not being detected properly.
10:47 am on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Here is Google's official post about how it crawls with different Googlebot mobile user agents and how it wants you to treat them: [googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...]
3:28 pm on Apr 14, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



Thanks dead sea. So it appears google should be able to pickup the iPhone user agent yet it's not.

My iPhone detects it fine. So I could only imagine that something is overriding it and forcing the bots to view the regular theme.
9:08 am on May 7, 2012 (gmt 0)



I've got a question on this matter. I'm about to develop a mobile version for some sites of mine too, but my idea was to show less pages than in the desktop version. The reason is that I believe that some of the pages currently present on the desktop version are 'too much' for mobile navigation. Are there some SEO downsides on this 'idea', aside from the fact that the mobile version will have less pages indexed?
Thanks in advance
2:28 pm on May 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I use a shortened menu for my mobile users, but I don't submit any mobile sitemaps or do much of anything SEO-wise for the mobile version, and as far as I can tell, it's working just fine. Traffic on the main site is almost double what it was last year, and the mobile traffic is up more than double.