If your digital marketing strategy is dependent on SEO, then it is crucial to have a mobile-friendly website.
At this time desktop sales are less than mobile sales, and soon desktop usage will be less than mobile internet usage. Evidently, mobile search will exceed desktop search sometime in the near future.
Companies that depend on SEO should be changing to mobile-friendly web sites and responsive web design since 67 percent of users are found to prefer to make purchases from mobile-friendly websites.
One of the hottest topics of debate is whether to choose between a responsive website or separate websites for mobile usage. Either option has its advantages and disadvantages.
There are many things to consider when deciding which is best for your business like your targeted audience, SEO dependence, and the general purpose of the website.
Responsive design is the best option when SEO is important for your businesses site for these three reasons:
1. Google Recommends Responsive Design
Google is by far the leading search engine with 67 percent of the market. They are recommending responsive design for mobile applications and that it is the best option for the industry as a whole. Google carries a lot of weight with search marketers.
The reason for Google’s recommendation is that responsive design sites only use one URL and HTML for all of the devices. This makes it easier and more efficient for them to crawl and index, and for content organization. Other sites require a separate URL and HTML for their desktop versions and for their mobile device versions. This means Google has to crawl and index all of the different versions of the same site.
Another advantage of responsive web design that Google likes is that users can share, interact with, and link to content easily across all of their different devices, because all of the content is on one website and URL.
Google now considers user-experience as an important ranking factor. If a mobile user shares content on social media with a friend using a desktop, the friend will see the content like it would appear on the stripped down mobile version. This is a substandard user-experience and can effect the site ranking. This is crucial for SEO considerations.
2. Each Device Uses One Website
User-experience is greatly enhanced when responsive design is used. An increasing amount of different devices and screen sizes make it impossible to optimize your site so users can find it easily using any device. A more consistent user-experience can be achieved using responsive design rather than a separate program for each specific device and screen size. Responsive design makes many devices able to access one web site consistently despite all of the variety of devices.
Following is one example of a real life scenario. During a break a worker searches for a product using a smartphone and finds one site. More research is needed but the break ends. At home the worker wants to continue researching the same site but wants to use a desktop instead of the smartphone.
If this person is unlucky and the smartphone search result was a dedicated mobile site, frustration will ensue because the desktop version of the site will have to be used to search for and find the particular product all over again. A responsive site eliminates this frustration. The user-experience is more positive because the person can access the same site that was on the smartphone on a desktop or any other different device. This eliminates the need to start the search over again for different devices.
3. Simpler Site Management
SEO campaigns are simpler with responsive websites. There is no need for separate SEO campaigns for each desktop and mobile site. This can save time which is an important advantage for site management.
On the other hand sometimes it is necessary to have separate mobile SEO strategies from the desktop version. Sometimes keywords need to be optimized differently for mobile device searches.
When a person is searching for a restaurant on a mobile device, the word “nearby” might be used more often in the mobile search engine. Many specific keywords that might be used for mobile devices can also be used in the responsive design site and eliminate the need for separate sites for different devices and separate SEO strategies.
Is Google correct in recommending responsive design? The advantages are many. A superior user experience for all different devices is the most important aspect for SEO strategies. This makes managing your keyword and SEO strategies simpler, faster and more efficient. These are the reason that responsive web design is a must for any mobile SEO strategy.