By: Sasha Moran
Are you ready for some jaw-dropping statistics? The mobile devices that are being activated every single day around the world exceed the number of babies being born 1 million. That’s pretty incredible, isn’t it? This statistic should be enough for you to realize that taking mobile design into consideration is more important than ever!
Website owners are now wondering about the best practices related to mobile design. There is a burning question on whether responsive web design is good for SEO, or if it should be avoided. Both sides can be represented with reasonable arguments, depending on the individual case. Responsive web design can create a real mess that can practically ruin your search results, but it can also result in a perfectly clean shape in terms of SEO.
Before we start considering both sides of the debate, let’s see what Google recommends. This authority stands behind the statement that responsive mobile design should be used. The webmasters are advised to “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.” That’s pretty clear and understandable, since responsive design does have one great SEO benefit—instead of presenting a separate mobile URL for a page, it is able to maintain a single URL.
This sounds great in theory, but it doesn’t present the whole picture. Responsive is not always the best option to serve the website’s users, which is why Google also recommends having your content served with the usage of different HTML. At the end, we are back to point zero—both situations are recommended, but which one is better in your case?
If you decide to provide different sites for mobile and desktop users, with separate URLs, you don’t have to worry about giving Google too much work, because the bots can handle it. The best SEO strategy remains same for both desktop and mobile design—create great content and make sure to deliver it in a user-friendly way.
When Is Responsive Design Not Recommended?
There are situations when you can just throw a responsive theme on a website and make it work effortlessly on mobile devices. However, there are some cases when responsive design fails to perform properly, and Disney’s responsive site is one of the most famous examples on this topic. Many people visit Disney’s website via their mobile devices with the aim to play games, but these games can’t be played on these devices’ small screens. This is a very disappointing fact, which is why the SEO result is significantly negative. When the users are provided with poor experience, the website’s SEO is noticeably harmed.
When you are deciding whether responsive design should be used or not, there are many factors to take into consideration.
- The Website’s Features—If your website has specific features that won’t be loadable without developing a mobile-specific website, then you should definitely avoid responsive design.
- What Are Your Users Looking For?—This is a rare occurrence, but if your mobile users are requiring a different experience than your usual desktop users, then responsive design is not for you. If your users prefer a specific mobile content, it is necessary for you to listen to their demands.
- eCommerce Websites Don’t Go Well With Responsive Design—If you are planning to provide mobile commerce on your website, then you should definitely go for a mobile-specific solution, because a responsive design can create a lot of headaches.
When Is Responsive Design Recommended?
Responsive design is not necessarily good or bad for search engine optimization. In fact, an immense number of factors impact the SEO, so there is much more involved in the game.
Going for a great responsive design with a unique theme is probably the most prudent decision in most cases. There are simple reasons for that, the first one being the cost. A mobile-specific design costs a lot of money for development, which not everyone is willing to pay. It all depends on your preferences and financial capabilities, but you have to make sure that a mobile-specific design would provide you with a real bang for your buck if you decide to go for it.
A responsive design provides a cleaner experience for mobile users, which is why it is often considered to be the better alternative. Besides being cheaper (and better in 90% of the situations), the responsive design is also much more convenient because it takes no time to be implemented. The development of a mobile-specific site requires a significant amount of time, so if your content doesn’t demand it, there is no point in going for it.
How Does Responsive Design Affect SEO?
Long story short, mobile responsive design is very good for search engine optimization.
First of all, it is good for the users—and the search engines will surely appreciate that. Your audience will be provided with a much better experience if you choose responsive design that will make them happy to use your site, share it and provide links to it. All of this equals better search engine optimization, which is what you are mainly interested in.
Sasha Moran has a degree in Linguistics. She is a writer at RushEssay.com with a background in psychology, e-learning, and marketing