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Ensuring Your Site is Indexed in Google’s Mobile Search

Don't Forget Google's Mobile Search is Separate

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In this day and age, you pretty much can’t ignore mobile users. The rate at which consumers are accessing the web via mobile devices is growing rapidly, largely thanks to the increasing popularity and production of smartphones.

Just having a mobile site isn’t even enough. Sure, it’s a great start, but you have to start thinking about a mobile site just as you would a regular site. Can people find it? Just because you have a good ranking in Google does not mean that your mobile site has a good ranking in Google’s mobile search engine, or is even indexed at all.

Google recently shared a few important tips for making sure your mobile site is being indexed in Google’s Mobile Search.

1. Create a mobile sitemap and submit it to Google so Google knows it exists. This can be done using Google Webmaster Tools, just like with a regular sitemap.

2. To make sure Googlebot-Mobile can access your site, allow any User-agent to access it.

"You should also be aware that Google may change its User-agent information at any time without notice, so it is not recommended that you check if the User-agent exactly matches ‘Googlebot-Mobile’ (which is the string used at present)," says Jun Mukai, a software engineer on Google’s mobile search team. "Instead, check whether the User-agent header contains the string ‘Googlebot-Mobile’. You can also use DNS Lookups to verify Googlebot."

3. Check that your mobile-friendly URLs’ DTD (Doc Type Definition) declaration is in an appropriate mobile format such as XHTML Mobile or Compact HTML.

If you run both a regular site and a mobile version of it, there is a possibility that the wrong version will show up in the wrong search results. There are ways you can prevent this.

Getting Indexed in Mobile Search

"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," explains Mukai. "Google notices the relationship between the two versions of the URL and displays the standard version for searches from desktops and the mobile version for mobile searches."

If you do use a redirect, you should make sure content on the corresponding URL matches as closely as possible, because Google finds sites that abuse the practice in order to try and boost their rankings. Google says this should be avoided at all costs, so you can probably expect to be penalized for such an action.

Another way you can make sure a user is pointed to the right version of your site is simply to provide a link. In fact, that is what Google itself does. If you access the mobile version of Google, you will find a link to the desktop version.

Another way still, is to switch content based on the User-agent, so mobile users automatically see the mobile version and desktop users see the desktop version, even though both are accessing the same URL.

Google warns, however, that if you use this method, there is a chance that if you fail to configure your site correctly, it could be mistaken for cloaking, which you can be penalized for.

"To remain within our 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," says Mukai. "It’s fine if the contents for Googlebot are different from the one for Googlebot-Mobile."

Have you taken the necessary steps to ensure you are being indexed in Google’s mobile search engine? Have you been left out due to cloaking-related confusion? Discuss here.


Related Articles:

> Google Launches Custom Search For Smartphones

> Google Gives Mobile Searchers More Options

> Google Revamps Mobile Local Search Experience

Ensuring Your Site is Indexed in Google’s Mobile Search
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  • http://ww.gengtang.net phpmysql

    really need?mobile users are play more important role

  • http://www.harleytourism.com Harleytourism

    Thank you for good article. Some Questions are left Un Answered for a person with little Knowledge of Web Development.
    How Can I redirect My Site to Google Mobile?
    Will I have to change the design of my site?
    What will the contents will look like?

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