Mowser: Stop letting Google transcode your content!


I'm going to try to explain this as clearly as possible. Right now the most popular search engine for mobile phones, by far, is Google. But they don't just search for mobile websites, they actually have a "blended" set of results which includes regular PC web content in addition to sites that are meant just for mobiles. What this means is that a normal user searching for some sort of content using their phone can find your site, regardless of whether or not you have a mobile version.

Follow me so far?

Okay, so when a mobile user decides to follow a link from a list of search results to your site, Google will first look at the destination page to see if it's a mobile version or not, and if it isn't, will transcode that page for you into a mobile version. And their transcoder, for lack of better words, generally sucks.

Now you can easily tell Google not to do this, but instead to redirect to a dedicated mobile site (if you have one) or to another content adaption service instead (like Mowser!) using some HTML I'll explain below. If you have a mobile version, then great, no reason to let Google munge your site for no reason. But if not, then I believe you'll want to use Mowser to automatically mobilize your site, as its better at adapting web content in general (and I wrote the code to do it, so of course I'm completely impartial on this).

Since you might be a bit curious about what your site looks like before you decide, I've created a new page on the Mowser Publisher site which will help you compare yourself:

The Mowser/Google Comparison Page.

Try it out and tell me what you think. There's no magic, you simply enter a URL at the top, and it'll pull that URL up in two frames below so you can see Mowser adaption process side by side with Google's transcoder. Remember that Google's version is the *default* for their search results, and unless you actively choose otherwise, their version is what any mobile users will see, so take a good look. I'm pretty confident you'll see that Mowser wins 95% of the time - the pages are just smaller, cleaner and more usable in general.

Now if that wasn't enough, there are a couple other *very* good reasons for you to use Mowser instead:

* Your AdSense ads will automatically be converted to Mobile AdSense ads so that you will actually earn money from your blog's mobilized content. (Or if you want you can insert AdMob ads as well.)

* You can customize the look and feel of your mobilized pages to YOUR liking using a handheld stylesheet. Think the menu is too long at the top of your mobilized blog? Well, Google hides it sometimes, which is sort of nice if you don't mind them cutting your site up without your input (and if they guessed right), but with Mowser your handheld CSS is passed along, so you get to decide what your page looks like.

Are you convinced? Great!

Now the way to tell Google to use Mowser (or your dedicated mobile site) instead of their transcoder is to simply include an additional Link tag in your site's HTML Header section. It's just one line of text and should look like this:

<link rel="alternate" type="text/html" media="handheld" href="" title="Mobile/PDA" />

Obviously you'd want to replace with your site's URL. If you have a PHP site, you can use something more elaborate like:

<link rel="alternate" type="text/html" media="handheld" 
href="<?=urlencode($_SERVER['HTTP_HOST'] . $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI'])?>" title="Mobile/PDA" />

Which will insert the exact URL of the page, and is preferred so the mobile searcher isn't bounced back to your home page each time. There's a lot more information on the Mowser Publisher Wiki about adding this header, and the stylesheets, etc. If you happen to be using WordPress to power your blog, then its even easier as Miker has updated the Mowser Plugin. It'll add in the headers for you automagically, and detect mobile phones as well to redirect direct mobile traffic in addition to search traffic.

In Summary:

Do you have a blog? Do you have a mobile version? If not, then do you like what Google is doing to mobilize your site? Well, if not, simply add the one line of markup above to your site and use Mowser instead! It'll look better, be more customizable and will be monetizable as well.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment, join the Mowser Network on Ning, or email us at



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