SEO and Web Design: Responsive vs Mobile

Written by | Date Updated: December 11, 2014

Responsive Design or Mobile Site?

As more businesses make the move to responsive web design and other options to address the growing demands of mobile users, many questions have cropped up. Namely, businesses want to know what the advantages are to responsive design and what the potential pitfalls of one design are. Here, you’ll find the answers to those questions and much more.

Is Responsive Design Always the Best Option?

There have been a number of SEO experts touting the benefits of responsive web design while at the same time encouraging businesses to disregard mobile URLs. While Google has expressed a preference for responsive design, the search engine is also more than capable of understanding which site should appear when. This is done via switchboard tags and works just as well no matter what the structure of the URL is. You’ll have to decide if a responsive design will best serve your customers. It’s not always the answer. Sometimes, a mobile URL or dynamic server can provide the best user experience for mobile users and provide the best results in terms of SEO. The Click Intelligence agency website has taken this approach with their website.

Why All the Hoopla About Responsive Design?

You may be wondering why there’s so much buzz about responsive design if it’s not the best option in every case. Well, it is the best option in many cases, for several reasons. First, it’s often easier and more cost effective to make changes to a site to make it responsive to all devices than to build a separate mobile site from the ground up. In addition, since there are thousands of different devices out there with various screen sizes, a responsive design ensures that the content will be served up correctly to that device. Finally, responsive design helps consolidate link equity because there’s only one link pointing to content rather than separate desktop and mobile links.

When Are Mobile Sites Better?

A mobile site is a better option when you want to provide different content to mobile users than desktop users. That’s not an unusual scenario, after all. If you’d like to make mobile apps, ringtones or mobile wallpapers available to your site’s mobile visitors but not bother your desktop users with these options, a responsive web design wouldn’t work. Why? Because the same content is provided no matter which device you’re on. You must either present the content to everyone or leave it out altogether. Another issue is that mobile users utilize different keywords from their mobile devices than they do on desktop computers. They’ll often search for a place nearby, which involves using their device’s GPS. You could target these searches more effectively with a mobile design than a responsive design.

Concluding Thoughts on Responsive vs Mobile

There is no one size fits all answer to the responsive web design versus mobile design debate. One thing is certain, though, you need a professional designer to help you optimize your site for SEO no matter which way you go. A reputable design firm can tell you which option would better serve your customers and your SEO efforts.


Guest Author

This post comes from one of our valued visitors.  Read more about guest posting on SEO, social media, and web content marketing here:  Guest Post at The SEO System
Guest AuthorSEO and Web Design: Responsive vs Mobile