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What should I watch out for if I redirect mobile visitors?

What should I watch out for if I redirect mobile visitors? - answered by Matt Cutts

Matt's answer:

CUTTS: All right, we have a question from Chris A. in Erie, Pennsylvania, and it’s one about mobile, which is pretty interesting. “I have a server-side script that automatically redirects visitors to a mobile version of a site if they are using a mobile browser. My question is: What are some things to watch out for, if any, when serving different content based of the visitor?” Great question. So, a lot of people think just because they changed what’s happening, if it’s a mobile browser that’s coming that they’re worried they might be cloaking. And let’s just go back and review the definitions. Cloaking is showing different content to users than it is–a typical user–than to Googlebot. Well, a typical user is going to be browsing using a desktop browser. They’re not going to be using a mobile browser. So, whenever a Googlebot comes, don’t do anything special, don’t do any, you know, hard-coated if you are Googlebot, and so what will happen is you’ll just flow through into what the typical user gets. So, Googlebot will get what the typical user gets. Now, if you have someone who visits with an iPhone or with Android or some other mobile browser, it’s totally fine to check is this mobile browser, you know, something that’s a completely different kind of client and show up a different page. And that’s not serving up different content for Google than to a typical user, so you’re totally fine on the cloaking and yet a mobile user will get mobile content, a desktop user will get desktop content, everybody is happy and you don’t need to worry about any sort of risks. So, if you want to be, you know, really ambitious, in theory, you can serve up the same content to desktop and mobile users and you can just be really careful with the content that you generate that will work on a smaller mobile screen as well, but checking for mobile browsers and serving up mobile content is totally fine. The only thing to be careful about, and it’s the same rule as always, is treat Googlebot like you would treat a typical user, which in this case is just a desktop user. So, give Google bot the exact same content you would give someone surfing, you know, in Firefox or Internet Explorer, not in an iPhone or an Android sort of capability. As long as you do that, you should be totally fine and mobile users will be happy and your desktop users will be happy, too.

by Matt Cutts - Google's Head of Search Quality Team


Original video: