Google pronounced that it prefers responsive sites as a solution for mobile friendly sites back in June of 2012. Many people equated responsive site design with SEO. However, although there are responsive sites that are designed well for SEO purposes, there are many that are not.
We will proceed to examine some practices that will make a responsive design more SEO friendly and improve visitor’s experience on any platform.
Surely, a site that does not appear in the index of a search engine will not have visibility when someone searches for it. This will be true for responsive sites and sites that utilise dedicate URLs for mobile or dynamic serving. However, this is often more problematic with mobile URLs, since mobile sites are frequently no-followed in robots.txt so that mobile pages will not be in competition with “canonical” pages for link juice.
This is an ill-advised practice since switchboard tags or bidirectional annotations can make use of that link juice, resulting in mobile URLs showing up in search results. Sometimes designers don’t use escaped_ fragment with dynamic sites and the URL stays the same when visitors click on different site elements so that search engines are not able to add deep links into their indices.
This may occur with any site without static URLs. However, mobile SEO is not completed after the developer has chosen to design a mobile site with responsive design, dedicated URLs, or dynamic serving.
Search engines limit their crawl budget for each site, on the basis of a site’s PageRank. Therefore, if your site has more than one URL associated with it, this could be problematic, since if you are dividing the PageRank between several URLs, you could have an architecture that is not optimal for crawling purposes.
Website owners communicate with crawlers via site maps. Therefore, it is important to make your site map as clear as you can and avoid confusing crawlers. It is best to provide a separate site map for HTML documents, videos, and images.
The ability to crawl a site is not specific to mobile sites, but if it is not done properly, it can hurt a mobile site the same way it can harm traditional sites, so it must be done properly.
Google’s search engine is still only able to read text and it cannot use anything it cannot see. Therefore, ensure that you have content that the crawler can recognise.
Advocates of “content parity” have a noble cause in making site content accessible to all users, on any type of device. However, this can be a bit complex. Creating content that is available for all devices is beneficial for users at times, other times it becomes detrimental.
Many responsive sites don’t make enough content accessible to mobile users or they have content that is not usable by mobile visitors.
Google has witnessed mobile sites with video that is not playable so often, that it is considering penalising sites with unplayable videos. Google recommends the use of HTML5 tags when using video and the avoidance of Flash, which is not supported by many mobile devices.
Many sites try to get site visitors to perform an app download, rather than immediately displaying content that is relevant to them.
In the past this would serve to annoy users, but now, Google penalises sites that do this. Therefore, it will annoy many webmasters as well.
This normally occurs when a site determines a visitor is from a mobile device. It occurs less frequently on responsive sites, since site owners are pleased to allow users to access their content freely, instead of persuading them to use an app.
Adding canonical tags is quite straightforward, all you need to do is add this tag in the header of a page that is duplicate:
link rel=”canonical” href=”http://your-site-page.com.au/”
The referenced URL is simply the canonical URL for the associated content.
Tablets and smartphones contain different functionality than PCs. In addition, they are frequently used in settings where it would not be practical to use a PC. Consequently, there are now usage patterns that were not prevalent in the past.
GPS is allowing users to locate businesses in their proximity using Bing and Google and many users are making use of these features. They are using search terms like “near me” or “closest”, most often on mobile devices. Seventy percent of users searching on a mobile device call businesses from search results directly, which they cannot easily do on a desktop PC. All of these mobile users have access to features like a camera, accelerometer, GPS, and phone, which are unavailable on PCs.
These mobile experiences are constructed on the web at times, but more frequently in apps. From the point of view of SEO, they are better off on the web. Google encourages designers to make their site valuable, engaging, and unique and claims these types of sites will perform the best in search results.
To make it brief, create extraordinary content that visitors find useful and engaging and it is likely to be shared and linked to, which will notify Google of its quality. However and app won’t show up in search results. Therefore, in order to make your content most accessible to users of mobile devices, the web is the best place for it.
However, some sites do provide content that is quite useful to a mobile visitor, which may differentiate them from their competition enough so that Google ranks them higher. A good example is Sears. Sears utilises dynamic service serving on their mobile site. This gives mobile device users a scanner with which to compare Sears’ prices online with those of their competitors. This gives consumers the capability to easily locate the lowest price and help them locate the lowest prices at Sears.
Designing a responsive site, in and of itself, will not be adequate to ensure it is optimised for SEO purposes. Google prefers responsive designs that are user friendly and they don’t like to send visitors to sites that are not user friendly, do not have the keywords in their content that users are searching for, or that have uninspiring content. After reviewing this article we hope that you have a better concept of how to create a responsive site that does well in the search results.
Begin with these fundamental SEO points that are not adhered to by many responsive sites: