As the title says, this blog post is about mobile websites and if they are necessary for good SEO. Until very recently, the answer to this question would be “Maybe”. Now it is a resounding YES. As of writing this post, Google has released an update that detects whether a website is compatible with mobile devices, then decides whether to show that website to a user that is browsing on a mobile device.
How many people use mobile devices? There are many different polls and statistics, but they all seem to be within 60-80% of people who use the internet, regularly browse on a mobile device. That is a lot of people!
Even if having a mobile website had 0 effect on your actual ranking, if you are ranking #1 for a keyword and 60-80% of people who arrive at your website can’t easily navigate or view the content they are looking for, you are wasting a lot of time and money!
Now, I think it’s been made pretty clear you need a mobile website, but that’s not the final decision you need to make. You now need to consider what kind of mobile website you are going to implement.
There are 3 main types of mobile website. Responsive, Dynamic Serving and Mobile URLS.
I will explain each type, so you can decide for yourself which type is better suited to your website.
Responsive web design is when you design your website so all the styling attributes are variables that change depending on the size of the screen the website is being viewed on and the resolution of the device. There are many advantages to this type of website, such as your mobile and desktop website will have the same URL meaning all the link juice goes to the right place no matter who’s linking to what.
The website will have the same design on both desktop and mobile, important for branding and you are relatively safe from any future releases of phones/devices, etc. because your website will display perfectly on any screen of any size.
There are also a few cons to this, such as if you already have a website, making it responsive can require a lot of work and it’s often cheaper and less time consuming to recreate the website entirely. If you are attached to your current website, this might not be something you want to do. Google also loves this technique.
Dynamic serving is where you have more than one version of your website, but they are displayed on the same URL. So the web server detects whether a browser is on a mobile device or a desktop computer, then automatically displays the correct version of the website.
This has its advantages, as you keep the same URL for all versions and it’s a lot easier to implement if you already have a website than a responsive design.
However, google doesn’t favor this type of website. It tolerates it, but if you can get a responsive design, I recommend you do.
A Mobile URL website is a separate URL just for mobile websites, this is the old school method and most people do not recommend doing this. Google isn’t a massive fan, but again, it tolerates it. A good practice for SEO if you are using a mobile website is to include the Rel=canonical metatag on the mobile version of your website and link back to the desktop version. This tells Google the main version of your website is the desktop version.
Why Mobile Website is Critical For Your Business