As you are aware, the number of individuals that are buying and using smartphones and tablets are rapidly increasing. Because of this, it is absolutely crucial that businesses have websites that are mobile-friendly. If your digital marketing strategy focuses around SEO, this means that a mobile-friendly website is absolutely essential.
Over the last several years, desktop sales have plummeted and mobile sales have soared. At the same time, mobile internet usage has become more popular than desktop internet usage. Now, we are seeing mobile search overtaking desktop search. In fact, statistics from 2012 showed that 67 percent of web users would be more inclined to make a purchase from a website that was mobile-friendly than one that was not (with that number likely being much higher today). Therefore, it is crucial that your business make that transition, which includes focusing on a responsive web design.
Many people debate whether they should choose to go with a responsive web design on their existing website or opt for a separate mobile website. When it comes down to it, though, both of these have their advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the choice boils down to what is best for your individual business based on a number of factors, such as the intended audience, purposes of the site and if SEO is used.
If SEO is indeed used, then here are three reasons why you should go with responsive web design:
1. It is Recommended by Google.
When Google opens its mouth, search marketers and the world listens. The top search engine says that responsive web design is the recommend mobile configuration and states that it is the best practice in the industry. Why? It's simple; these sites have a single URL and maintain the same HTML regardless of the type of device that the site is being viewed on. This makes it much easier for Google to crawl and index the content. Compare and contrast this with a separate mobile site that has a different URL and HTML, which would require that Google crawl and index multiple websites.
In addition, the search engine giant seems to prefer responsive web design due to the fact that the content that remains on one URL and website is easier for an audience to interact with, share and link to than content than is on two separate websites. For example, let's say that Annie users her smartphone to access a mobile site to share content with Logan on Facebook. However, Logan does not access the content on his mobile phone and instead accesses it on his desktop at home. As a result, the content is viewed completely different and results in a less-than-optimal experience for the user. Since user experience is a big ranking factor in Google's eyes, this is something that must be taken to heart in regards to SEO and developing your website.
2. It Has One Single Website That Can Be Viewed on Multiple Devices.
One of the great things about responsive web design is the fact that it has the ability to provider a user experience across multiple devices and various screen sizes. This is extremely important since it is completely impossible to determine what type of device or screen size your user is going to be using when accessing your website. A website that works phenomenally despite the aforementioned variables will ensure an improved and consistent user experience when compared to a separate mobile site, which would be designed specifically to a specific device as well as screen size.
For example, let's say that Emma is searching for a particular product on her smartphone while she is on one of her breaks at work. She finds a website that carries the product she is looking for and makes the decision to complete her research on this same website when she gets off work and gets home. However, when she gets home to do this, she plans on using her desktop rather than her smartphone.
Now, if the website that she will be using has a responsive web design, then she is ensured a positive user experience because she will view the exact same website on her desktop that she viewed on her smartphone at work. However, if the website that was viewed on her smartphone was a separate mobile site, then she will end up having a negative user experience because she will view a completely different website when she gets on her desktop at home. She will become frustrated since she will need to locate the company's website as well as the product on that "new" site.
3. It Is Simply Easier to Manage.
When you have a desktop and a mobile site, you must also a SEO campaign for each one separately. It's hard enough to take care of one site and a SEO campaign for that site - could you imagine having to manage two sites along with two campaigns? This is probably one of the most notable advantages of having a responsive website instead of a separate mobile website.
Of course, there are some advantages to having a SEO strategy that is a bit more mobile-specific, such as focusing on keywords that users would be more likely to input on their smartphones than on desktops. For example, Aden would be more likely to type in the word "nearby" on his smartphone when searching for a local restaurant. Things like this should be incorporated into your responsive web design and mobile SEO strategy.
Google recommends and encourages responsive web design. The design helps to ensure that web visitors are provided a positive user experience regardless of their device or screen size and it definitely makes your overall SEO strategy easier to manage. It is for these three reasons (and many more not mentioned in this article) that responsive web design is the absolute best choice when it comes to your business's mobile SEO strategy.