Does having Main & Mobile site mean i have duplicate content?

by MontyVeda 3 replies
I've been scouring the interweb and have found contradictory advice regarding this... so if in doubt, ask a Warrior!

Back in March we activated the 'mobile' version of our Volusion shop to try to keep google happy in time for its April Mobile Search Update.

All seemed well but today i noticed in Webmaster Tools that two pages have been flagged as having duplicate page titles.

mywebsite.com/gothic_t_shirts/1846.htm
and
mywebsite.com/mobile/category.aspx?id=1846

it's the same category but one is a stripped down version for mobile users, and the other is the category as it appears on desktops and tablets.

On the one hand we're getting a thumbs up from Google for having a mobile friendly version of our pages, but on the other, Google is telling me I've got duplicate page titles.

Since we're using a closed source shopping platform, I'm limited in what i can edit. I've got an HTML and CSS templates for the main site, but only CSS for the mobile version.

I'm not sure what to do, and i guess my options are...

  1. ignore it.
  2. do some canonical jiggery pokery
  3. sack the whole main/mobile thing and get a fully responsive template.
I'm not keen on number three as the available responsive templates aren't that nice and the support Volusion offer isn't that great. but saying that, i'm gonna have to learn about 'responsive' at some point.

Number one is the easiest option, and it could just be that Webmaster Tools is simply reporting a non-issue... but i really don't know.

As for canonical, letting Google know which is the main content and that the mobile pages aren't really duplicates would be ideal, but I'm not sure how to go about this.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
#search engine optimization #content #duplicate #duplicate content #main #mobile #responsive #site
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  • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
    Just check that your mobile site has canonical that points to the desktop version of the same document. If not, you need to ask your vendor to add it.

    I copied your example URLs to Google, and found a site that matches the description. That one seems to have the proper tags in the proper places.
    Signature
    Links in signature will not help your SEO. Not on this site, and not on any other forum.
    Who told me this? An ex Google web spam engineer.

    What's your excuse?
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    • Profile picture of the author MontyVeda
      Originally Posted by nettiapina View Post

      ...

      I copied your example URLs to Google, and found a site that matches the description. That one seems to have the proper tags in the proper places.
      Nice one... I tried to check the mobile template and didn't think to check the source code... thank you!

      It's still a bit worrying when Google Webmaster Tools is flagging it as having a duplicate page title though.
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      • Profile picture of the author SEO-Dave
        Originally Posted by MontyVeda View Post

        Nice one... I tried to check the mobile template and didn't think to check the source code... thank you!

        It's still a bit worrying when Google Webmaster Tools is flagging it as having a duplicate page title though.
        As nettiapina said as long as your mobile version has a canonical to the desktop version not only will it be OK duplicate content wise, but also SEO benefit flowing through the mobile site will be directed to the desktop site.

        Have you added a rel alternate tag on the desktop version to the mobile version?

        The word of G: https://developers.google.com/webmas.../separate-urls

        Since Google ranks poorly mobile optimized sites lower in the mobile search results it's important to set the rel alternate tag if you have two versions so Google knows to use the mobile version for mobile searches.

        David
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