When you are using a traditional search engine on your mobile, it will transcode the pages automatically so that it can be displayed properly on your browser. This is done by using proxies. Google, Yahoo!, and Live Search are all providing this functionality. For example, if you use Google on your mobile, and choose to see “Web Results”, the page you’ll be viewing will look like this.
If you do have a mobile friendly version of your site, you can tell Google and others search engines not to transcode your page and to direct users to your mobile site instead.
This can be achieved by simply adding this link element in the head of your pages:
<link rel=“alternate” media=“handheld” href=“http://www.yourmobilesite.com/” />
Now, while Google does follow this link and skip the transcoding, I’ve noticed that Yahoo! and Live are behaving differently. For example, if you use Live Search on your mobile, all the results will be showed from a proxy server ( notice that urls start with http://mobrender.com/proxy.aspx?s.) whether you’ve specified a link to the mobile version of your site or not.
What annoys me is that some sites that I manage do have the link element to their mobile versions, but both Live Search and Yahoo aren’t supporting that. Instead, they will force the transcoding. I’ve tested that with many handsets, either XHTML or WML capable, but it was always the same. I’ve notified Yahoo! about this problem but they haven’t got back to me yet. I will also let Microsoft know about that. If you know of other ways to tell them not to use transcoding proxies, please let me know.
UPDATE: (03/06/07) I’ve received a response from someone at Yahoo! who told me that they are investigating this issue.