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What is duplicate content and how can I avoid being penalized for it on my site?

My website exists at www.<site>.com for desktop browsers and m.<site>.com for mobile browsers. We are now seeing that for some Google searches, our mobile site outranks our main website; it doesn't seem to matter if the search is done from a desktop PC or a mobile phone.

Aside from that not being the desired behavior, we're concerned that Google is seeing our mobile site as duplicate content of our main site.

At this point we're considering an outright block of Google's crawler on the mobile site (via robots.txt). Is that the best approach? Is there a way to make our mobile site show up for mobile search, our main site to show up on desktop search, and avoid the present confusion?

Thanks!

-James

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marked as duplicate by danlefree Oct 14 '12 at 22:19

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1 Answer 1

Google lets you specify that one version of a page is the canonical one, and is the one that should be considered by their algorithm. That should avoid duplicate content problems, but it won't make the mobile site show up for mobile search -- you're probably best to set up redirects based on the user agent (but let people opt out and see the main site on their phone if they want).

Instructions here: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2009/02/specify-your-canonical.html

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