Responsive design & SEO
Author: Chris Thomas
I’m a really big fan of responsive design on a whole bunch of levels.
One of the great things about responsive design is that no matter what device you’re using to view a responsively designed webpage you probably won’t even know you’re looking at one!
Well that’s the great trick to responsive design. A responsively designed web page will automatically adjust to whatever device you’re using to view it.
A great example I was shown recently at SMX Sydney by its creator, Nathan (from Good Digital) is www.1300funeralinsurance.com.au. OK, so not the sexiest of topics, but it’s worth taking a look at the site to see how clever responsive design can be.
Just to illustrate the point, here are some screen grabs showing the website at various screen sizes (or widths).
First off, let’s start with a desktop view of the website.
Next, this is the view you see if you visit the home page using an iPad.
And finally what you see if you visit the site using an iPhone.
So you can see that with clever responsive design, a web page can look great whether you’re using a 27” iMac or a 3.5” iPhone.
Aside from the fact that responsive design also makes it easier for people to transact or convert on your site regardless of the device they’re using, responsively designed websites also make good sense from a SEO and PPC landing page perspective.
Touching on SEO for one sec, many websites use subdomains or subfolders to host their mobile friendly content, like this http://m.metrotrains.com or http://example.com/m. The issue with this is that you end up having 2 versions of the same content; the regular ‘desktop’ content version and then a duplicated ‘mobile’ version that lives on a separate URL.
So when someone come along and links to your desktop friendly content, your mobile friendly version misses out on the SEO link ‘love’.
Same goes the other way. If someone finds your content using their phone and decides to tweet and share your content using a link shortener, then the desktop version of your content misses out on the all-important link.
Clearly a single page that is used for both solves this issue. And it reduces expense as well.
You save money by not having to go to the expense of paying someone to create a mobile friendly CSS templated site for phones and tablets. You also save on development time as you don’t need to have user agent detection software at the server-side detecting whether it’s an iPhone requesting some content or a desktop browser using Firefox and redirecting accordingly.
So if you’re planning a website build in the near future, it might be a good idea to consider responsive design as a smart ‘future proofing’ option that’ll give people using phones, tablets or desktops a great experience, and help your SEO as well.
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