Chapter 6 : SEO for Mobile Phones
Topics covered in this snack-sized chapter:
Configure mobile sites so that they can be indexed accurately.
Mobile sites not only use a different format from normal desktop sites, but the management methods and expertise required are also quite different.
This results in a variety of new challenges while many mobile sites were designed with mobile viewing in mind.
If web site doesn't show up in the results of a Google mobile search even using the site: operator, it may be that site has one or both of the following issues:
Googlebot may not be able to find site
Googlebot must crawl site before it can be included in search index.
Googlebot may not be able to access site
Some mobile sites refuse access to anything but mobile phones, making it impossible for Googlebot to access the site, and therefore making the site unsearchable.
The Google crawler for mobile sites is "Googlebot-Mobile".
Once Googlebot-Mobile crawls URLs, it then check for whether each URL is viewable on a mobile device.
Pages that are determined aren't viewable on a mobile phone won't be included in mobile site index.
This determination is based on a variety of factors, one of which is the "DTD (Doc Type Definition)" declaration.
Check that mobile-friendly URLs' DTD declaration is in an appropriate mobile format such as XHTML Mobile or Compact HTML.
If it's in a compatible format, the page is eligible for the mobile search index.
An example of DTD for mobile devices is shown below:
Verify that Google can recognize mobile URLs
One of the most common problems for both mobile and desktop versions of a site is that the mobile version of the site appears for users on a desktop computer, or that the desktop version of the site appears when someone accesses it on a mobile device.
In dealing with this scenario, here are two viable options:
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//WAPFOLUM//DTD XHTML Mobile 1.0//EN"
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="application/xhtml+xml; charset=Shift_JIS" />
Redirect mobile users to the correct version
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.
For example, if you run a photography site and there's an access from a mobile phone to a desktop-version URL, make sure that the user is redirected to the mobile version of the page for the same product, and not to the homepage of the mobile version of the site.
On the other hand, when there's an access to a mobile-version URL from a desktop browser or by a web crawler, say Googlebot, it's not necessary to redirect them to the desktop-version.
Switch content based on User-agent
Some sites have the same URL for both desktop and mobile content, but change their format according to User-agent.
In other words, both mobile users and desktop users access the same URL (i.e. no redirects), but the content/format changes slightly according to the User-agent.
In this case, the same URL will appear for both mobile search and desktop search, and desktop users can see a desktop version of the content while mobile users can see a mobile version of the content.
If you fail to configure site correctly, the site could be considered to be cloaking.
In other words, Cloaking refers to an attempt to boost search result rankings by serving different content to Googlebot than to regular users.
Google uses Googlebot for web search and Googlebot-Mobile for mobile search.
- This causes problems such as less relevant results (pages appear in search results even though their content is actually unrelated to what users see/want).