How to avoid duplicate content issue caused by mobile website

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Is Google seeing your mobile website as duplicate content to your main website?

Many of us believe that the future of the internet is in mobile devices, such as cell and smart phones, PDAs, and more. It has become very necessary to have a mobile-friendly website as mobile website is gaining a lot of popularity in the online market and increases your overall audience base.

Although Google is smart enough to figure out your mobile content is not duplicate to your main content - because they are smart enough to know when to show you the mobile content versus the normal content. But you feel Google is seeing your mobile website as duplicate content of your main website, and it is affecting your search ranking.

How to avoid duplicate content issue caused by mobile website

You can use your CSS - Cascading Style Sheets to leverage user agent detection. This is one of the best practices for mobile website design. Essentially, instead of creating secondary website, a secondary CSS file can be added to a website specifically for mobile devices.


<link rel=”stylesheet” type=”text/css” media=”handheld” href=”mobile.css” />

This CSS file is recognized by mobile device browsers and is used instead of the primary CSS file. You can code your mobile CSS file to reformat the website content and can strip out heavy elements on the page which are too large for an average mobile device. This result in greater user experience and faster loading, simplified version of the same webpage at the same URL.

Also in case you have two different websites, one mobile website ( and one main website ( where you are redirecting your users depending on their USER-AGENTS (Firefox, Chrome, IE, iPhone etc).

You can block Google Bot crawler from crawling your mobile website via your ‘robots.txt’ file.


User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /

And similarly you can block Google Mobile Bot crawler crawling your main website via your ‘robots.txt’ file.


User-agent: Googlebot-Mobile
Disallow: /

Please do share your idea(s) you can think of to overcome this kind of situation.


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Joydeep Deb

experienced in Online Marketing, Web Technologies, Search Engine Optimization, SEO, SEM, SMM, Web Master, eMail Marketing, Web Analytics, MIS Reporting, Web Design and Development.

Lives in Bangalore, Karnataka - India and working as an Program Manager SEO.

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