If you don’t love responsive design already, you will, after reading about Google’s latest announcement. Heck, what are we waiting for, here it is?
“Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.” – Google
We are talking about mobile search engine optimization here. And Google has just come out and said that they recommend responsive design as the best option.
What is Responsive Design?
Well, according to Wikipedia, responsive design is when “A web site is crafted to use Cascading Style Sheets 3 media queries, an extension of the @mediarule, with fluid proportion-based grids, to adapt the layout to the viewing environment, and probably also use flexible images. As a result, users across a broad range of devices and browsers will have access to a single source of content, laid out to be easy to read and navigate with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling.”
This is a great definition, but to digest it a little. It is a website that resizes to fit the size of the screen you are viewing the website on. When this is implemented correctly, you can visit the site on any device, and it will automatically resize.
Why is Responsive Design the Best Option for Mobile SEO?
Google says the advantages of responsive design include having one URL, making it easier for your users to interact with the page. This also makes it easier for Google as they only need to crawl one URL as opposed to multiple URLs with the content on them. Furthermore, from an external linking and social media sharing perspective, users will only have one URL to link to, as opposed to multiple URLs. For those of you who don’t know, it was previously a common practice to have mobile sites on a subdomain or another domain. This made it very confusing when considering what information to serve Google Bot and Google Bot Mobile.
What are Other Options for Mobile Optimization?
While responsive design is the best option for mobile SEO, it is not the only option. According to Search Engine Land, Google will still index your mobile site if you do one of the following:
- “Dynamically serve all devices on the same set of URLs, but each URL serves different HTML (and CSS) depending on whether the user agent is a desktop or a mobile device.”
- “Have a separate mobile and desktop sites.”
More Insight on the Topic
I have been working with mobile SEO and following the strategies on it for some time now. The responsive design approach is, by far, the cleanest option. However, implementation can be difficult for certain websites depending on the platform and purpose of the site (eCommerce, tool-based, etc.). Ultimately, it makes sense for all online businesses to explore responsive design as a first option.
So get your responsive design going right away! Or contact us and we will build it for you.