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We have a site with both a desktop version and a mobile version. Most of the content are the same and both versions have the same URL, but the HTML generated is device specific.

Looking at Google's recommendations for smartphone-optimized sites, one could get the impression that the mobile xml sitemap is only for sites with different URLs.

Will ranking be affected - negatively or positively - if we add a mobile xml sitemap that effectively will be a duplicate of the desktop sitemap?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A Sitemap, mobile or otherwise, won't directly affect rankings in any case. The main problem you face is the wrong content getting into the wrong Google index (i.e. mobile/desktop). As per the recommendations you've read, the Vary HTTP header is important if serving different content on the same URLs.

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I've ran into that same issue, where my template will change depending on the user's device that is being used to browse the site. And from my experience Google will only acknowledge one sitemap if they look very similar in Google Webmaster Tools, you may not even need a Mobile XML Sitemap because your viewers will automatically be taken to the mobile page when click on your listing in a search.

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Thanks for your feedback. Did you see any affects on you rankings? –  Emil Rasmussen Jun 25 '12 at 7:00

My web site has a similar situtation:

  • I have one set of URLs for both mobile and desktop users
  • I use user-agent sniffing to alter the layout for mobile devices (but the content is the same)

I created two sitemaps (mobile and desktop) and submitted them via Google Webmaster Tools. Google webmaster tools reports that none of my mobile pages have been "indexed":

webmaster tools mobile sitemaps graph

My pages are shown to mobile visitors when they use Google search. So I know that my content is "indexed" for both mobile and desktop traffic. It appears that submitting a mobile sitemap with the same content as my desktop sitemap did not give Google any useful information. I'd like it to say to Google - "These pages on my site have been specifically optimized for mobile".

Bottom line: submitting a mobile sitemap that is the same as the desktop sitemap doesn't seem to help, but it doesn't seem to hurt.

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