Does Google allow cloaking on mobile?

Thu 19 November 2009 14:45, Editors

Does Google allow cloaking on mobile?

Cloaking is not done with Google, that's something everybody will know. A post on the Google Webmaster Central Blog however does point towards cloaking being a possibility. You just have to be careful.

In the post Google says "make sure that the content on the corresponding mobile/desktop URL matches as closely as possible." They address the topic of sites having the same URL on both mobile and web. They warn for cloaking, but n a way they are saying you can cloak a desktop site to your mobile site.

They talk about switching content based on User-agent:

"However, note that if you fail to configure your site correctly, your site could be considered to be cloaking, which can lead to your site disappearing from our search results. Cloaking refers to an attempt to boost search result rankings by serving different content to Googlebot than to regular users. This causes problems such as less relevant results (pages appear in search results even though their content is actually unrelated to what users see/want), so we take cloaking very seriously.

So what does "the page that the user sees" mean if you provide both versions with a URL? As I mentioned in the previous post, Google uses "Googlebot" for web search and "Googlebot-Mobile" for mobile search. To remain within our guidelines, you should serve the same content to Googlebot as a typical desktop user would see, and the same content to Googlebot-Mobile as you would to the browser on a typical mobile device. It's fine if the contents for Googlebot are different from the one for Googlebot-Mobile.

One example of how you could be unintentionally detected for cloaking is if your site returns a message like "Please access from mobile phones" to desktop browsers, but then returns a full mobile version to both crawlers (so Googlebot receives the mobile version). In this case, the page which web search users see (e.g. "Please access from mobile phones") is different from the page which Googlebot crawls (e.g. "Welcome to my site"). Again, we detect cloaking because we want to serve users the same relevant content that Googlebot or Googlebot-Mobile crawled."

Google_mobile_diagram
Let us know what your take is on this.


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  • Tell-a-cowboy

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  • This worked perfectly.

    Wo 8 okt 2014, 09:08

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