Mobile SEO Strategy: 3 Reasons Why Responsive Web Design is the Best Option

Oct 24, 2014

We’re at the stage where we’ve now gone beyond the adoption of the smartphone and tablet market, and now on a trajectory growth curve how businesses are using mobile and tablet for business. The importance of this becomes every more reliant on your digital front-door (your website) to cover the primary form factors of desktop, mobile and tablet. Simply put – have mobile-friendly websites.

One of the major reasons why WordPress web designs have saturated the web design market for small businesses and personal websites is not just its ease-of-use and friendly content management system, but its out-of-the-box framework for a responsive website.

When is a responsive website? Its all in its name ‘responsive’. A website that responds to screen sizes across devices – desktop, laptop, mobile, and tablet in portrait and landscape views.

SEO is also a big factor for websites designed with WordPress. Beyond the obvious reasons to make your website google-friendly, Search along accounts for on average the #1 first touch, last touch channel in new traffic / prospects / leads / customers to an online business. Not to mention the significant influence Search or Google has in the marketing channels that assist your customers in their online journey to purchase. So yes, SEO or should I say SEO + Social SEO as part of your digital strategy is even more important today and websites built on WordPress simply make it easier to execute on a SEO strategy. But that’s a post for another time.

Where SEO plays into this post on responsive or mobile-friendly WordPress websites, is the same value it provides your website in desktop search as it does in mobile Search. Yes, not all Google’s work the same. Google may deliver search results to customers differently across regions and states, as well as by device, such as mobile.

While mobile sales have already overtaken desktop sales in today’s market and in our hometown of New York, as too the predication that mobile web usage will overtake desktop usage by in the next year or two. Similarly, the impact this has on a) Search, and b) a mobile friendly website, especially if the web is a big revenue or distribution channel for your business.

Since more than 20% of traffic today will arrive to your website via mobile, and 67 percent of users claim they are more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly website, then businesses as your own that rely on SEO and social SEO should be wise to look at upgrading your website to a mobile-friendly website. For most small businesses, it may be as simple to transition to a WordPress designed website that offer responsiveness to mobile efficiently.

I cannot think of how many times I’ve walked down the streets of New York and the number of people with their eyes glued their iPhone or Android. I can only ponder if they’re browsing one of my WordPress websites designed by me or our freelance WordPress web designers, and knowing they’re getting the optimum experience on the site as countless sites we’ve designed have been on WordPress and responsive to mobile.

The argument between whether to choose a responsive website or a separate mobile website (adaptive website) is a highly debated topic. However, the truth is that both options have their pros and cons.

The option that is best for your business depends on many factors, such as the purpose of the website, your customers or users journey and how the interact and experience your brand and products, and whether Search is a major lead generation or revenue driving channel for your business.

If Search and SEO is a factor, here are three reasons why responsive web design is the best option for your mobile SEO strategy.

1. Google Endorsed

Simply put, its recommended by Google. When Google speaks, digital markets and search marketers listen.

Google outlined that responsive web design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even goes so far as to refer to responsive web design as the industry best practice. Thus when your thinking of transitioning to a mobile-friendly website, consider why WordPress websites are a popular option.

Why does Google endorse responsive websites and WordPress websites that are mobile-friendly? This is because responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML, regardless of device, which makes it easier and more efficient for Google to crawl, index, and organize content. Contrast this with a separate mobile site which has a different URL and different HTML than its desktop counterpart, requiring Google to crawl and index multiple versions of the same site.

Additionally, Google prefers responsive web design because content that lives on one website and one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with, and link to than content that lives on a separate mobile site.

Lets run a quick example: A mobile user who browsers or shares content from a mobile site with a friend on Twitter who then accesses that content using a desktop, which results in that user viewing a stripped down mobile site on their desktop. This creates a less than optimal user-experience, and because of the large emphasis Google is now placing on user-experience as a ranking factor, this is essential to take into account with regards to SEO.

2. Consolidation. One Website, Multiple Access Points (and devices)

Responsive websites and even WordPress website as a solution for a mobile-friendly website, offers one of the most appealing aspects for a business to go with a responsive web design. That is a business in New York (for example), can offer a responsive website that provides the optimum user-experience across multiple devices and screens.

It offers the business just one website that caters to multiple ways how a customer will access and engage with their brand online. Since a website and digital is a living and breathing thing that will constantly grow over time, just imagine approaching a web strategy around this with multiple websites catering to different devices. Its simply inefficient and costly, when in most cases its unnecessary. These questions and others should be asked before you go down the path of a new web design, as your approach to designing a website needs to consider the influencing factors of the user journey and UX, mobile, content management, target audiences and personas and your data / web analytics strategy.

For example, imagine a major retail brand in New York with a WordPress designed website. Having the website with a responsive design, allows this brand to deliver a unified and positive user-experience (UX) for their customers. Regardless where and how the brands customers access, research, browse and engage with the brands website, the experience will be fluid across their desktop, mac laptop, iphone and ipad.

3. Management: Easy as 1-2-3

This point goes back to the other point above, whereby having a unified responsive WordPress website, you as a business owner or webmaster or digital marketing manager of the website do not need to waste time and money to keep multiple sites operating. Beyond the content management of the site, just think of the marketing such as your SEO strategy, or Search PPC campaigns and having to manage all the different URLS across a separate mobile site and desktop site. Again – simply inefficient and unnecessary.

For example, someone performing a mobile search for a local New York shoe store may be more inclined to use the word “nearby” in their search query. However, a separate mobile site is not a requirement for a mobile SEO strategy, and there’s no reason why mobile-specific keywords can’t be incorporated into a responsive WordPress design site as well.

The Answer…

Responsive web design is recommended by Google. Google powers most businesses first touch and last touch channels that drive conversion. Needless to say, getting your business website up and running quickly and cost efficiently can make sense using a WordPress website design. There are a number of greater New York WordPress website designers who can help get a business up and running with a responsive website that delivers the fluid customer experience, and Google friendly.

The above reasons are just a few reasons why a responsive web design is the best option for a mobile SEO strategy.

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