We’ve been running an AdMob.mobi site for a while, it’s been up for a few months now. It’s basically just brochureware, info about how to contact us if the only way you can get to info is from a mobile. This is the case in some areas of the world, and particularly true in some of the places we get a lot of traffic from.
While I was fooling around with Google mobile search, I realized that AdMob.mobi actually doesn’t appear at all if you do a “Mobile Web” search from Google. I thought maybe somehow the Googlebot had missed it. Not the case. There are plenty of Googlebot hits against that website. So then I did a web search via the mobile interface. Our normal website is right up at top, everything okay. It turns out the AdMob.mobi version does appear in the web search, as result number 156. Wow that’s really far down the list. And when you click through from a phone you go to a Google transcoded version.
When I hopped online and started talking to some folks there were a lot of reports of the same kind of thing. Google doesn’t rank .mobi sites very high cause it takes domain registration length into account when figuring out how to weight sites. It also doesn’t really pay much attention to the variant of markup that a site uses, and has been just shoving everything through the transcoder.
That’s really kinda disappointing. With all the current push in mobile – from mobile browsers finally starting to support sane markup languages and palatable variants of CSS up through tools like the Mobi Ready Report and the machine readable mobileOK effort going on at the W3C – it feels like we’re generally getting to a state where site owners can put up a mobile version without too much effort and in a format they find appealing and consistent. But one of the main avenues through which people should be able to find this mobile stuff has actually turned out to be something of a blocker.