My Mobile Site Is Duplicate Content. Oh No!

Dec 30, 2008 • 8:38 am | comments (2) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization
 

A Google Webmaster Help thread has discussion around a webmaster who noticed Google is treating his mobile site as a duplicate site to his main site. This user has his mobile site on a subdomain of m.domain.com, where his main site is on www.domain.com. The issue is that the content is exactly the same on m.domain.com as compared to www.domain.com.

So what can you do to solve the duplicate content issue?

In my opinion, the best way to provide a mobile version of your site is to use CSS. As Phil Payne said in the thread, "code each page once (in valid XHTML Strict) and use CSS to format it for the device." But as Phil explains, Google still promotes the use of "separate mobile sitemaps but also separate mobile sites." Which steers webmasters into an issue of having duplicate content. I agree with Phil, Google should really speak up on this matter.

In short, you can always do user agent detection and force mobile users to m.domain.com, while forcing others to www.domain.com, including GoogleBot (using a 301 redirect). You can also make sure GoogleBot does not index the mobile version by disallowing it in your robots.txt file. JohnMu of Google lists out many duplicate content documents to help webmasters with the issue, plus we have covered duplicate content issues over and over again.

Google's documents:

Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.

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Comments:

eltercerhombre

12/30/2008 02:37 pm

This didn't happened to because I was enough, but it's still not clear (at least not for me) how to do it. Dedicated mobile sites are much better, IMHO, because you can serve low weight pages to these devies with a slow connections. Yes, you could also do that dinamically (fetching the UA), but I like giving the option to navigate the mobile if anyone wants to do it. However, I have blocked GoogleBot for my mobile version but allowed GoogleBot-Mobile. The result is that no page is indexed. Nothing, nada. ¿What are we supposed to do? I tried letting Googlebot index the whole and make it's own choice, just to find that some of my mobile pages were replacing the normal ones in the rankings/index. So I had to quickly block it again and let the mobile site be browsed, but not indexed. It would be nice if someone could clarify how to go about this.

No Name

01/08/2009 06:26 pm

I always have dupliate the webmaster tool shows me lots of link as doucle

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