What is Responsive Design? How Does That Effect Me?

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A great article from Daniel Rostenne of EyeCare Pro that explains the difference between Responsive Design and Mobile Site.  Eye

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didn’t know this did you?

Responsive Design vs. Mobile Site: What Does Google Recommend?

The statistics for mobile search just keep climbing. In December 2013, optometry websites saw a rise in mobile traffic to 33.12%, up nearly 6% from the previous month. Of that traffic, mobile phone’s increased by 6.5% to 25.19% and tablet usage increased 4% to nearly 8% of overall traffic. Clearly, the question is not IF you should have a mobile version of your website, but rather which kind?

There are basically two options when it comes to the mobile web, Responsive Design vs. Mobile Website Design. According to a recent response to the question of which type of design is better for SEO, Google’s well-known engineer and spokesman, Matt Cutts explained that both options are supported by Google, but that Responsive Design may be the safer bet.

Why? First, let’s explain the options.

Responsive Design

Responsive Design is a flexible way of building a website enabling it to scale the web page to the size of the device being used to view the page. You have one URL that works equally well from a desktop browser and a mobile browser.  Among the benefits of Responsive Design are that it saves time (and money) from a coding perspective since the same HTML code can be used for all versions as opposed to a mobile version of a website which often requires writing entirely new code.

Mobile Website

The other option is to build a specialty Mobile Website, which is in essence, a smaller version of the website designed to fit on the mobile screen, often eliminating many of the slower loading elements on the page to make it faster. The Mobile Website is usually stripped down to the most functional, mobile-friendly elements of the website. It usually has a similar URL to the main site such as mobile.dreyesight.com or m.dreyesight.com.

From an SEO perspective, the issue is that once you introduce a new URL for the Mobile Website, you run the risk of splitting the Page Rank or having duplicate content issues if you don’t set up the page correctly.  In other words, if your mobile traffic isn’t connected to your main website, they will look like two separate sites and neither will get the full weight of the traffic coming in to boost the rank. While Cutts did explain that both options are proper for dealing with mobile traffic and that Google has a lot of help documents available to webmasters to ensure they are doing things correctly, there is more room for error with Mobile Website versions.

When in doubt, Responsive Design is the smarter option according to Cutts because you don’t risk losing any SEO benefits since you are using the same URL. Still, if the webmaster sets up the Mobile Website according to Google’s instructions, there shouldn’t be any negative impact on SEO.

At EyeCarePro we support both options so you can make the choice that best suits your Practice. All of our new built-in website designs are Responsive Design (just like Google recommends), plus we offer ODMobile – a Mobile Website creation service for those who prefer to go that route.

The bottom line: Ensure your website is optimized for mobile devices whether you choose a Mobile Website or Responsive Design.

Time for a mobile optimized website? Got questions? We’re here to help. Contact Daniel at 412-532-6542 or email him directly at daniel@eyecarepro.net!

Claire Goldsmith MidPage