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Responsive Design Meets SEO: What You Need to Know

Monday, April 28, 2014
Written By
Shawna Arnold

What is responsive design?

When your website has a responsive design, it will automatically recognize any site visitor’s device and produce the appropriate version of your website for that device. In other words, if your website is responsive and someone visits it via mobile phone, then your website will automatically adjust to the size of their screen. If that same person then visited your website via desktop, it would appear expanded.

What does responsive design have to do with SEO?

An inbound marketer with experience in SEO will tell you that the biggest reason to have a responsive design is because Google recommends it. Plain and simple, Google’s preferred method of serving mobile-optimized websites is through responsive design. Google states that they prefer responsive websites because:


  1. Using one URL for your content makes it easier for users to interact, share, and link back to it (rather than a separate mobile website URL).
  2. Using one URL helps Google properly crawl and index your content and helps save them time – crawling one URL helps Google index websites more efficiently and keep up with your fresh content.
  3. Without having to redirect mobile users to a separate mobile site, load times are reduced.

The biggest theme to note with Google is that they are always looking for ways to continue to support their mission to provide search users with the most relevant and valuable results. A responsive website is relevant to a user in that it will conform and load properly based on any device they choose to search from. It is valuable in that it provides the content a search user needs in the manner they need it.

Aside from Google’s preference, responsive design is great for overall user experience and continuity in your inbound marketing and SEO strategy. With a responsive design, you are able to optimize and write content for one website, making it much easier to manage. You also have one website with consistent and accurate branding information, rather than a desktop website and a mobile website competing for the brand and product/service recognition your agency needs. This becomes less confusing to the reader, as they are seeing one website containing the information they need regarding who your agency is and how you can help them.

Anything that creates positive user experience on your website, whether it is the design or the content, is good for SEO and your overall search performance. Remember, if you’re supporting Google’s mission, then you’re also supporting users and site visitors.

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