Managing Mobile Sites

Managing Mobile Sites

Mobile Sites


Search engine optimization, known as SEO, denotes guidelines that enhance a website’s ability to respond to search engines.  Many of the same techniques used for desktop SEO apply to mobile websites, however, there are some considerations to ruminate when working towards mobile SEO.  One of the most important notions to recognize is that mobile SEO targets a different audience than desktop SEO, because mobile searchers are generally looking for very specific information.  It’s also important to remember that mobile search engines focus results in relation to location, and therefore, when users begin typing a search request, the search engines suggest terms and phrases based upon location (as well as previous search requests).

Other key features include the fact that search engines such as Google will attempt to provide searchers mobile-specific content first, however, if a searcher is looking for the exact name of your application but Google isn’t aware that a mobile website exists, the searcher will be automatically redirected to the desktop website or to a transcoded mobile version of the desktop website that is constructed by a Google server.  Furthermore, if a mobile website emerges in a search engine’s databases, it will also appear using the native applications that many search engines are creating, which includes, but is not limited to voice-powered search applications.


However, before allocating too much time to mobile SEO, it’s first necessary to ensure that a website is known and retrievable by search engines, which can be vary in relation to whether or not the desktop website has already been crawled.  If a user already has a desktop website, they can give search engines the URL of the mobile site using the alternate link method:

<link rel="alternate" media="handheld" href="" />

Users can also manually add a mobile site using the following URLS:

  • Bing (
  • Google (


Mobile Sitemaps


Mobile Sitemap is an extension to the sitemap protocol,, which Google has created for mobile web content discoverability.  Users possess the ability to add mobile sites to the Google database by creating an account in Google Webmaster Central, (, and then verifying ownership of the website by inserting a Meta-tag, HTML file to the site or adding a TXT record.


Mobile Site Miscellaneous


Googlebot-Mobile uses the Accept HTTP header for determining whether or not a site delivers mobile content types. If users wish to ensure that the bot has the capability to access a site, users should check that the User-Agent header contains Googlebot-Mobile in it. Many sites will only allow access to mobile devices, and although Googlebot-Mobile attempts to mimic a mobile device, it is not always successful in gaining access unless it is specifically permitted.

Once a site has been validated, users can submit their Sitemap for it. If the mobile site is targeted to a specific country using a non-country top-level domain (like .com or .mobi), users can additionally add parameters to define the geographic target for which the mobile site is prepared.

Users can check the Sitemaps documentation at for complete tag and option support.


A Mobile Sitemap is an XML file based on the Sitemap standard, which lists the mobile URLs for the site (XHTML, XHTML MP, WML, cHTML). Users can provide URLs for both mobile and non-mobile versions depending on the headers, but need to take caution not to list non-mobile-only URLs. A sample Sitemap file looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?> <urlset 

Users should provide one URL element for each mobile URL and webpage, including the mobile:mobile empty tag. If versions using different URLs (for iPhone, WML, etc.), are present, it’s necessary to provide them all in the same file.


To check whether a website is listed in Google Mobile, visit while utilizing a mobile device and use the search operatorsite:your_domain.


The Google Webmaster Team also suggests detecting Googlebot-Mobile in the desktop site and redirecting it to the mobile-specific version of the same page. Otherwise, Google will use a transcoder on the desktop page.

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