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I notice that Yahoo and Bing have started indexing the mobile version of my website, which is located at /mobile from the root. All of the mobile content is just a reduced layout version of the real site.

Is it going to negatively affect my SEO if the crawlers are seeing two locations that essentially have the same content?

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8 Answers 8

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Have you thought about using a mobile sitemap?

Here is an article:

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It could cause duplicate content issues, particularly with Google. If the content is exactly the same I'd block the mobile content from crawlers.

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Stick in (mobile) or some other indicator into the title of each page and Google should be able to figure out which site people want.

Google has people that check over the content of search results that should appear so they should be able to distinguish between standard and mobile websites.

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It sounds like your implementation is quite flawed. You should research best practice methods for serving mobile optimized content (using device detection - not cloaking, canonical link element) etc, rather trying to band-aid your current situation.

Try looking at:

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I read those three articles, I am not sure why you think my implementation is so flawed. –  Jack B Nimble Apr 12 '11 at 16:39
Apologies if I offended - I meant that creating alternative mobile content under a different address (/mobile) is an edge-case approach that I haven't seen before. Given the amount of advice that is readily available in methods of providing mobile content for both consumers and search engines, i was surprised by your approach. –  Mike Hudson Apr 12 '11 at 22:13

i would consider adding a rel canonical tag to the mobile pages which points back to the main site.

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Apparently earlier this month at SMX Advanced Google officially said(paraphrased by author):

don’t block Googlebot from your mobile site and smartphone Googlebot from your desktop site.

See under the "Don’t Block Mobile Sites With Robots.txt" heading for that particular bit, though there's a lot of other stuff at that article.

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No problems unless you add rel canonical to point to main website.

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Can you explain why this would be the case? Do you have personal experience or links to references that you could share? –  Stephen Ostermiller May 30 at 23:24
  1. Definitely do not block any of Google's crawlers from accessing any version of your site. There are certain edge cases with ad bots and others but in this specific example, you wouldn't want to block.
  2. Use an XML sitemap to add an alternate tag linking your mobile pages to your desktop equivalent pages OR add the canonical and alternate tags to the mobile and desktop pages, respectively. This will explicitly tell Google the 1:1 relationship between both versions.
  3. Housing your mobile site in a directory like /mobile is, in both Google's and my opinion, the least favorable method. It is still ok, but using is better and still the best method is making the entire site at responsive.
  4. If you still want to stay with /mobile or move to, I recommend adding this location to a new profile in GWT so you can track crawl activity and other performance data on its own. Then, you could be able to assess the damage and see if this is an issue.
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