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Responsive design: You don’t necessarily need a dedicated mobile site

Posted On: February 12, 2014

For some time now, we’ve been hammering the point that your business website needs to both look as good and work as well on mobile devices as it does on a desktop computer.

As we’ve noted before, that’s because people are now viewing websites as much on smartphones and tablets as they are on desktop computer monitors. Very soon, more people will visit your site on a mobile device than will on a desktop.

Mobile sales already are greater than desktop sales, and mobile Internet usage is expected to overtake desktop usage this year. Two-thirds of surveyed users said they’re more likely to purchase from a mobile-friendly website than one that does not scale for mobile.

That development has led some business owners and webmasters to believe they need an entirely separate version on their site to display on a mobile device. However, this is not the case. Google has recently advised that a single site with responsive Web design is actually the best way to go.

Essentially, responsive design ensures that your site scales properly for any type of screen size, whether it’s a desktop, tablet or smartphone. Alternatively, some sites create a simplified mobile version that omits many of the elements found on the “desktop” version.

While the latter approach has some advantages, Google says those don’t outweigh the benefits of using a single site with responsive design. The single site is better for your overall search engine optimization (SEO), according to Google’s Matt Cutts.

That’s because if you do a separate mobile site, your PageRank — how Google determines the search engine ranking of your site — can sometimes end up divided between the two sites.

Responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML regardless of the device. That makes it easier for Google to crawl, index, and organize content. Having one site with responsive design just makes everything much easier.

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