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Is Responsive Design Better for SEO?

20 Apr 2013

Yes. A responsive web design is experienced optimally on all devices. The site adapts to the screen size that it’s viewed upon. Navigation elements, images and text resize and reformat based upon the size of the viewing device. Visitors will be able to see all of your content without having to maintain separate versions of your site for mobile and desktop visitors.

The search engines can determine if your site has quality content. If they show your website for a given search, and someone clicks on your site then clicks the back button, they get the impression that the visitor did not engage with your content. In mass over millions of searches this data helps search engines like Google to determine which sites have quality content and which do not. Search engines look for sites with a “long click” – where users click a result without immediately returning to the search page to try again.

If you have a mobile site, visitors can get frustrated that they cannot get to all of your content that is on your full website. If you don’t have a mobile site at all the visitor’s experience can be especially poor. Either way, many visitors will return to Google to find one that is easily readable and your search engine rankings will decline.

Google has said that they will rank mobile friendly websites higher than non-mobile sites when mobile searches are performed. Google reports that mobile search volume is up 130% year-over-year. By 2014, it’s predicted that mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop Internet usage.

Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device. – Google

Having a responsive web design is better for link building purposes. Any links that are built will point to your responsive site. They will not be split amongst multiple different sites (mobile and non-mobile). Having all of your link equity in one place will give you an added edge over your competitors.

Check out which is a tool that can show you how your current site looks on a smartphone, while this Mobile-Friendly Test by Google provides a report on what’s working and what you can do better.

Typically when companies have a mobile website, a JavaScript is used to redirect mobile visitors to the mobile site when they attempt to access the non-mobile site. Using JavaScript to redirect visitors causes a problem with Google Analytics. Source data is lost in the process of the redirect. This makes your Analytics reports less accurate. Having more accurate Analytics will give you the ability to make more informed decisions about your search engine optimization campaigns.

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