Why Responsive Design is good for your SEO ?
In a country like China where 80% of 618 millions people access Internet via their smartphone, having a mobile strategy has become indispensable. To do so, you have the choice between 3 options: mobile website, mobile apps or responsive design website.
A mobile-optimized website is a website whose display and navigation are specially smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices designed. They are usually a simplified version of a standard website and are therefore faster to load and easier to navigate on.
A mobile application is a software that you download on your smartphone. They are generally used when needing to perform the mobile device’s functions like the camera or GPS or when the users access your services while being offline.
A responsive design website is a website where the columns and pictures automatically fit to the screen resolution. This means you only need one website for all devices. It allows an optimum UX while conserving the website’s quality of information.
If you are still hesitating to switch to responsive design, here is a sum up of the advantages and disadvantages of this solution:
- A responsive website always keeps the same browsing which makes the user experience easier. The users who already came on your website won’t be lost so the bounce rate will be limited and the SEO will be improved. Moreover, the website automatically adjusts to the screen without asking the user how he wants to browse.
- With a responsive website, you don’t need to make any redirection since the URLs are unique. This means you won’t have any duplicate content problem that would require you to set up canonicals. It also means that you can preserve your pagerank and that your pages will keep their authority.
- Google officially recommends it. Indeed, Google said that it ranks mobile optimized sites higher in mobile searches. What’s more, in terms of link building, a link to your main website will be a link to your mobile site so it will give you a big advantage when competing for mobile visitors. This is all the more important since mobile sites are still relatively new and that most of them, your competitors including, don’t have so many backlinks yet.
- With a responsive website, you only have one website to manage which facilitates the updates, especially if your mobile site or mobile app is handled by a different company. Therefore you also make economies of scale.
- The price of a responsive design website is lower than the price of a mobile website.
- It will facilitate your marketing: instead of paying twice for the same keywords you will manage only one campaign.
- It is an opportunity for you to be distinct from your competitors. Few people have already adopted responsive design so doing it now while it is still largely unused will get you noticed.
- As Yann Gabay, France general manager of Netbooster said Google can have interest in recommending responsive design website because it gives them less websites to crawl.
- The HTML/CSS and pictures downloading time can be longer than for a simpler mobile website.
- Titles and content can be adjusted less easily on a phone than on a mobile website.
- When browsed on a mobile device, some information may not be needed (ex: order delivery food, reserve a hotel, connect on your bank account) or may need to be presented the same way. In case your mobile and pc websites have two distinctly different goals, a responsive design website might not be the best answer.
- The keywords might be different for querries made on a mobile device or on a pc.
To quote Matt Cutts, Google’s head of Webspam team, in most cases a responsive design website is the smarter option:
“In general, I wouldn’t worry about a site that is using responsive design losing SEO benefits because by definition you’ve got the same URL,” Cutts said. “So in theory, if you do a mobile version of the site, if you don’t handle that well and you don’t do the rel=canonical and all those sorts of things, then you might, in theory, divide the PageRank between those two pages. But if you have responsive design then everything is handled from one URL, so the PageRank doesn’t get divided, everything works fine.”