Is Responsive Web Design for SEO Worth It?

We are a mobile species; we want everything and we want it NOW! Since the birth of tablets and smartphones, the idea of having to wait until we are back home to have internet access and look for information, catch up with the news, complete a purchase is becoming more and more alien. Sometimes just simply ridiculous and unacceptable. Just ask Homer.

i want it now - homer simpsom - responsive design good for seo

They have created a world of opportunities for businesses… but opened a can of worms for web designers and SEO companies. Think about it, how can you squeeze a layout designed for a computer screen into a smartphone screen? Until recently, you couldn’t, or at least not without radical transformation, and companies who wanted a ‘mobile’ website had to have 2 websites, one for computer screens, and one simplified, smaller, for other devices. it would a special “mobile” website, with the URL m.domain.co.nz

It did the trick, but it was far from ideal: it meant double the costs, having to update 2 websites, having to resign yourself to a watered-down version of your site for mobile devices, and running the risk of being blacklisted by Google for duplicated content. Hassles, hassles …

The temptation is great to just wave away the question of mobile websites and convince yourself that your company doesn’t really need one, but with over half the searches worldwide done on portable devices, and a significant proportion of web users completing purchases on their smartphones and tablets, it wouldn’t be very wise, would it?

Mobile internet usage expected to match desktop usage by 2014 !

According ding to a Morgan Stanley report, mobile internet usage is expected to match desktop usage by 2014. You can read more about the report here

ComScore_ Mobile & Desktop Usage 2014

Even with this compelling evidence, the vast majority of business websites are still not mobile-friendly. This is not only causing a headache for users, but also a loss in business opportunity.

How responsive design will benefit your business:

The new kid on the block will solve all your problems: responsive web design. As its name indicates, responsive web design is a method that enables your website to identify the size of the screen it is being viewed on, and to respond to it by displaying your site at just the right size. It sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? And it is. Now, your site will always look good and consistent across all devices.

You can see below how a responsive website will change shape and ‘respond’ to whatever device you are using – it’s pretty cool!

responsive website design for seo

But it is much more than just being pretty and cool. Is responsive web design for SEO worth it?

YES! Having a responsive website is hugely beneficial from an SEO point of view, as Google absolutely loves responsive design. The logic is very simple: geolocation is fundamental to the search results displayed on a mobile device. A responsive design is identified by SEO pointers, which Google will favour over a normal website, as it will provide a better user experience even if the non-responsive website was customised specifically for smaller screens and looks absolutely fine.

In addition, having 2 websites can get you into deep trouble with Google who will interpret it as duplicate content more often than not, i.e. an attempt to fool web crawlers into ranking you higher, and your SEO efforts may be penalised by seeing your site downgraded without any mercy, possibly even blocked from search results altogether, from which it is very hard to recover.

Furthermore, by having a responsive website, your inbound links and your search engine optimisation don’t need to be divided and can be focused on a single website, making it much stronger. It will also save you time and money as you won’t have to maintain and update 2 websites. So what is there not to like about it?!