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Feb 7 2013
Is Responsive Web Design good for SEO?
The question is tough. In fact it’s quite tricky. The sweeping success of Responsive Web Design is evidence enough of its advantages. But, there are still certain areas (one such being the SEO) on which its performance is yet to be analyzed.
Depending on the quality of the interface, it can be said that a website accessed through your mobile could give you a Hard time, Okay time or Good time.
Let’s see how
The first case: If a website uses Flash it won’t go in sync with your Mobile browser. You can’t zoom in to see anything in detail, giving you a hard time.
The second case: Let’s say the site isn’t typically made for a mobile but you can still zoom in on necessary things. An option may come on the screen to download the mobile app of the site, but is of no avail. This would explain the okay time.
The third case: If the website’s text size along with its color scheme is conditioned for reading on a smaller display; it is suited for browsing on the move and the functionality is usable through a mobile device; it can be termed as good time.
How to Figure it out
When browsing on a mobile device, it’s easy to tell which website has taken the pains to cater to the mobile audience and which hasn’t. But if you pay closer attention to the site address, you would notice that (for instance) if the site’s url is – www.pqrs.com then it’s mobile counterpart would either be altered to m.pqrs.com or pqrs.com/mobile or may have remained similar (i.e. www.pqrs.com). And this very thing matters the most for SEO.
- Mobile Sites that are Dedicated Now, in case the url is altered and the browser has sent you to http://m.pqrs.com or www.pqrs.com/mobile/ , it’s a site built exclusively for the mobiles. It would have somewhat the same content as the desktop site www.pqrs.com, but would be constructed in a separate manner.
- Responsive Web Design But, if nothing to do with ‘m’ or ‘mobile’ happened to the url (it stays www.pqrs.com) and yet you had a great time browsing on mobile, then what you’re witnessing is a Responsive Web Design. That’s the beauty of it. It takes up the same url and gives you a stupendous experience, regardless of the device.
Let’s see a Few Limitations of the ‘Dedicated Mobile Site’-:
- Duplication of Content Most of the times, the Search Engines would find that you’ve got similar content on both the sites (mobile and Desktop). This might not hold you in a good stead in conjunction to your organic ranking, since for the search engine crawlers, the content is nothing but a copy.
- Dilution of the Link A lot is dependent on the amount of links that point towards your website. Besides, nowadays your social linking too plays a vital part. So, having two versions www.pqrs.com/mobile/ and www.pqrs.com would have some links pointing to one and some to the other. This would split the SEO generation for your site, rendering it’s power to become diluted.
- Distribution of Authority In case there isn’t an SEO person in your panel, this might become a very tricky situation for you to convey to the search engines how to distribute the ‘SEO authorization’ equally. While Google makes use of ‘canonical tags’ and its newest entrant ‘switchboard tags’ for this; Bing gives you almost no option. All in all, mobile sites alone are reduced to considerably lesser any value.
- User Interface for Ranking & Search confusion Search Engines have an extremely simple approach. Depending on them to figure out the distinction is not a good idea. They usually direct people searching on mobiles to websites which are optimized for mobiles and people searching on desktops to websites optimized for desktops. The segregation is clear. Hence, confusing a search (trust us) would not go down well with it.
- And what about the ‘Tablets’ Also, before going for a dedicated mobile site, you have to think of the ‘Tablet’. Let’s say for an iPad, the mobile site would look rather plain and desktop site a bit too complicated. So would you rather have a third site dedicated to Tablets and let the Search Engines figure it out themselves?
In case, getting found through organic search holds significance for you (which everyone wants and is the right practice) going for RWD would make more sense. So you have one site i.e. www.pqrs.com . Which means that the text (is HTML) and the site’s structural code remains as it is, irrespective of the device through which it is accessed. Only the CSS for a website alters as per the screen sizes.
RWD’s impact on the SEO for the aforementioned points-:
- Duplication of Content Due to a single url, this is absolutely no trouble.
- Dilution of the Link This again becomes a non-issue as all links are directed to a single website, resulting in getting you the best ranking through SEO.
- Distribution of Authority Once again not a matter of concern. With one url, no distribution happens. So be it Google, Bing or anything else, this is none of your worries.
- User Interface for Ranking & Search confusion Search Engines can direct both mobiles and desktops to the same site. So, this is non issue too.
- And what about the ‘Tablets’ The websites look as fabulous on the Tablets as anywhere else.
After having made official by Google as well as Bing, there is no further endorsement needed for RWD. It is very much the future and is certainly a wiser choice. Besides, if you’re a developer or a designer, you’re sure going to have a good time creating a site.