Google Launches Mobile Sitemaps

    August 30, 2005

If you design web pages designed for mobile users or if you develop two versions of your web pages, one for the web users and one for the mobile users, then Google has a tool designed to make acceptance into Google’s mobile web index all the more easier.

Google’s newest launch is a derivative of their sitemaps service, an xml document placed on the web server that informs Google of alterations to your site. Sitemaps was developed to perhaps expedite the crawling process when these changes have been made. With the new version, Google Mobile Sitemaps, users will be informing Google when changes are made to their mobile content through the use of a mobile sitemap.

Google’s about page indicates mobile sitemaps will be used to “inform and direct” their crawlers to and of the content alterations have been made. Google uses the sitemap technology in order to keep their indexed content up to date and fresh. Mobile sitemap set-up and operation is done in the same manner as the web-based sitemaps, although Google does remind users to keep track of the following:

  • A mobile Sitemap can contain only URLs that serve mobile web content. Any URLs that serve only non-mobile web content will be ignored by the Google crawling mechanisms. If you have non-mobile content, create a separate Sitemap for those URLs.
  • You should submit separate Sitemaps for each markup language. If you have URLs that serve multiple markup languages, you should list these URLs in multiple Sitemaps.
  • Each mobile Sitemap must have a unique name.
  • If you are submitting a syndicated feed, you can submit it only as one type. If the feed lists URLs that serve more than one markup language, decide which markup language is most applicable and submit it using that option.
  • If you use our Sitemap Generator to create your mobile Sitemaps, you’ll need to create a separate config file for each mobile Sitemap.
  • They also remind users to only put mobile sitemaps on pages intended for a mobile audience because these pages will be put into the Google Mobile Search index.

    However, Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped presents a different perspective perhaps Google should consider. Because HTML has cross-media capabilities, developers shouldn’t have to make additional copies of their pages in order to make allowances for the mobile crowd. HTML documents work just fine in the mobile environment, so there shouldn’t be a pressing need for multiple pages of the same content in order to attract mobile users. Following Philipp’s rationale, one sitemap should work when populating both indexes.

    In Google’s eyes, it’s probably too late now, but Philipp has a point. Although, those that do make “mobile” pages, keep in mind Google Mobile Sitemaps support the following environments:

    non-mobile (this includes most content)

    XHMTL mobile profile (WAP 2.0)
    WML (WAP 1.2)
    cHTML (iMode)

    Chris Richardson is a search engine writer and editor for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest search news.