Firstly, for those who don’t already know, what is responsive web design?
A responsive website responds to the size of the web browser that is viewing it and delivers the appropriate output for that browser size. Rather than a having a separate site designed for mobile devices, this approach uses one site but specifies how it should appear on varied devices.
Sound good? That’s because it is! Not just from a user’s point of view either. If you currently have a mobile site it could also be affecting your SEO. Before we move onto why responsive web design is awesome, I have listed below some disadvantages of having a dedicated mobile website.
Most mobile websites have similar content to their full blooded desktop counterpart. Unless the web pages are canonicalized correctly this can cause duplicate content issues with Google. This would make your website content much less valuable in search and can have a negative impact on organic ranking.
In a nutshell search engine ranking is largely determined by links and social shares (as well as content and other metrics). If you have 2 versions of a web page people will link to and share both pages dividing the power that could have been applied to a single more powerful page.
As we mentioned earlier Google will read canonical tags to determine how to share Authority between similar pages. Unfortunately other search engines don’t play as nicely. Duane Forrester at Bing said outright about dedicated mobile sites, “most of them will never accrue any value and rarely, if ever, rank in any form of search“. This should be ringing alarm bells if you care about your organic search results on multiple search engines.
If you have access to the analytics on a reasonably popular site, you’ll have seen the number of visitors visiting your site on a tablet skyrocketing. The problem with modern tablets is that they can just about display a desktop website usefully, but are used in a similar way to mobiles. A mobile site would often be too basic for a tablet user so what is the answer? Do you create a third site only for tablets, which adds to all of the points above? User experience also effects your organic rankings so letting them put up with the desktop version isn’t an option.
I hope that after reading the above you can see the pitfalls that are all too easy to fall into. So how does a responsive website solve these issues?
A responsive website has only one URL per page. Duplicate content is no longer issue.
Now that you only have 1 URL for each page, all links and social shares are pointing to the same page maximising your ranking efficiency.
Similarly to the above. There are no longer any authority issues as there is only 1 version of each piece of content. You no longer have to worry about your mobile pages appearing in search results, even on Bing!
Because a responsive site caters for screens of all shapes and sizes, tablet users get as good an experience as a mobile or desktop user.
If you are serious about your organic search results and you want to give all of your users an awesome experience regardless of the device they are using, talk to us today about Responsive Web design.