There is much debate today on whether website owners should choose to have a separate mobile website or to make their current website responsive. A responsive website will change and adapt depending on the screen size/resolution of the device the site is being viewed from. Responsive web design has had a lot of press recently, and it is definitely here to stay. Device screen sizes are constantly changing and in order to adapt to these changes a responsive website will do a better job than a stand alone mobile site.
Along with being better for different devices, having a responsive website also has a lot of SEO benefits…
Many businesses will target local keywords in order to obtain new business. Many people are now using their mobile devices in order to perform local business searches. Yelp reported a while ago that around 40 percent of searches came from their mobile app. If your website is responsive and includes certain SEO pointers and parameters, Google will now favour your website over other non-responsive sites.
There is no doubt that SEO is both expensive and time consuming. Having a separate mobile site means that all of your SEO and social media efforts for your main website do not apply to the mobile version. Because a responsive website is a single website, you do not have to repeat SEO for each individual site, saving you time and money.
If you know about SEO, you will know that Google does not like duplicate content and will penalise websites using duplicate content. Many webmasters who create separate mobile websites will just copy the content from their main website, not realising that they are actually jeopardising their search engine rankings for both their main website and mobile site. Having a responsive site incorporates both, so no need to duplicate your content.
As you may have guessed by the previous points, having a separate mobile site in most cases means doubling up on the work. This also applies to link building. All the links you have built for your main website will not apply to the mobile version. So having a responsive site means that you do not have to build links for two separate websites.
Google is still obviously the search engine market leader. This unfortunately means that we have to follow their lead. So if they say something is good, we have to comply.
“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 has recently stated that they are now placing a lot of weight on user experience. This includes social sharing, the average time spent on a site and the bounce rate. So if your website is responsive, it obviously provides a good user experience, especially for mobile users. This will therefore help with your search engine rankings.