Many website owners are hesitant about converting to responsive design because they worry about how it would affect their websites’ search engine optimization and PageRank. Matt Cutts addressed this concern in the latest Google Webmaster Help video.
This video is Cutts’ response to the question: “Does a site leveraging responsive design “lose” any SEO benefit compared to a more traditional m. site?”
The current popularity and availability of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have made mobile accessibility and functionality essentials for every website. One option is to create a separate mobile site (usually hosted on a subdomain like “m.domain.com”) and redirect users to it when appropriate; another option is to apply responsive design to the current website.
Cutts says you don’t need to worry about losing any SEO benefits when using a responsive design. He says: “By definition, you’ve got the same URL. So, in theory, if you do a mobile version of your site, if you don’t handle that well…you might, in theory, divide the PageRank between those two pages. But if you’ve got a responsive design, everything is handled from one URL.”
Should You Use Responsive Design or a Mobile Website?
While Google often recommends responsive design as the best practice for web design, Cutts’ answer and the community’s response show that it’s all about proper execution. He emphasized that a poorly executed mobile website might divide PageRank between the mobile version of the site and the desktop version. Users who have seen the video responded to say that poorly executed responsive design might also cause problems in terms of code bloat and performance, and these two factors can significantly affect how a page is ranked on Google.
Any web development firm should know that the choice to go responsive should depend on your business’ best interests and what would work best for their audience.
If you’re interested in optimizing your website for mobile, talk to us today.