November 23, 2013
Mobile websites have gone on to become an indispensable part of SEO, which makes it essential for business owners to have a mobile version of their websites, specially adapted for small screens, and with fast load times. Responsive web design offers business owners the advantage of having a website that is tailored to small screens, without actually having to create a separate website.
The first question that arises when business owners consider responsive web design is what exactly it is and how it differs from a mobile site. Responsive web design simply means a web design that works totally fine whether you load it on a desktop or through a mobile browser. With responsive web design, your website automatically rescales as per the required page size. A mobile website on the other hand, despite being a lightweight version of the site does not have most of the elements included on the actual web page.
Another common doubt is whether opting for responsive web design over a traditional mobile site leverages a high SEO value in the eyes of Google. When both these options are compared from an SEO point of view, responsive web design scores above a mobile website. This is primarily because of the multiple issues that can possibly arise in the SEO strategies of your website when creating a mobile version of the page. This could happen if you do not apply the rel=canonical and other such technical aspects on your mobile website correctly.
On the other hand, when it comes to a website that adopts responsive design, you have a lot less to worry about from the SEO perspective, since the website retains the same URL on all devices. This is contrary to a mobile website which has a different URL, such as mobile.example.com or m.example.com, which increases the chances of the PageRank getting divided between those two URLs. With responsive web design, you are working with the same URL all through, eliminating the possibility of the PageRank getting divided.
As a conclusion, it is evident that there are fewer chances of having to face SEO-related issues when adopting responsive web design, as compared to opting for a lightweight mobile version of the site. However, having said that, a website’s mobile version can work just as well, without impacting the SEO strategies of the business, as long as the webmaster applies the tools provided by Google for mobile websites, to ensure that they are safeguarded from issues like duplicate content and split PageRank.