Google Mobile Sitemaps
A couple of posts ago I began to discuss the Google sitemaps feature they had introduced to help their crawling efforts, save site bandwidth, and allow them to keep a more current index. Well, recently when I logged in to update the stats on my sitemap I noticed that they have added mobile sitemaps, and are pushing for mobile search services. I have to say that in my experience, Yahoo's mobile offerings have been by far the best. Google's efforts to match all of Yahoo's offerings are interesting. It does appear that they are reversing much of their thinking on web portals.
What the mobile sitemap seeks to do, I'm not sure I understand fully. It can be used as a method to prevent Google's general webcrawler from going through that site when it sees the sitemap, or encounters pages with the WML doctype. It seems more likely however, that they will use it for their mobile search site. One of the coolest features of Yahoo's mobile search is that it will dynamically convert well-written web pages into pages suitable for mobile consumption. I have not used the Google search enough to know whether they are doing this too or not. Still, even with the conversion, the pages are often slow to load, or the dynamically resized images slow down the connection. On my mobile site for example, I have removed any div tags or images so that it will load quickly. Even my more lengthy blogs load in a second or two. As a wireless internet user, I know that I appreciate quick loading pages. Hopefully Google will only index WML based pages so that they can be sure they are optimized for mobile devices.
The final thing that would be great is if I could use my adsense account to include ads that were formatted for wireless. I am sure Google is heading down that path. If I could generate clicks and page views from the mobile site, as well as from the website it could significantly increase my traffic. Another benefit to having my site indexed on Google for mobile is that there are fewer sites out there, this increases the possiblity that my site will appear for a given keyword. So to all the developers out there, enable a wireless version of your site and use the Google mobile sitemap feature. It is a way to get a leg up in an exploding area.