Official: Google Recommends Responsive Design For Mobile SEO

Jun 7, 2012 • 8:49 am | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google Mobile SEOYes, we saw this coming, Google's Pierre Far posted Google's official "recommendation" on mobile SEO strategies for smartphone.

It is to go with a responsive design. Why?

(1) One URL makes it easier for your users to interact with
(2) One URL makes it easier for Google's link algorithms to work with
(3) One URL and same HTML makes it easier on crawl efficiency so Google can better crawl more of your site

Does this mean the only way to succeed in mobile SEO is to go the responsive route? Absolutely not. Google says they also do support the dynamic serving method with either the same URL or a different URL. But if you do go those routes, Google is asking for some help in understanding the dynamic device specific HTML.

(1) When you use the different HTML approach but the same URL, Google wants you to use the HTTP Vary Header as a hint for GoogleBot-Smartphone to crawl the site.

(2) When you use the different HTML approach but a different URL, Google wants you to use a rel=alternate on the desktop version and use a canonical on the mobile version.

This can get very technical and I went into more detail on this at Search Engine Land.

Google has created a micro-site to help developers implement these three methods. You can find it at this URL.

If you are considering making your site mobile SEO friendly for smartphones or if you have a site that already is, read these documents, and discuss each approach with your developers.

I know I will be having a meeting in my office to review our practices and make sure all my developers are on the same page on mobile SEO tomorrow.

For our earlier posts on Google Mobile SEO, scan the Google Mobile section.

Forum discussion at Google+.

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06/07/2012 11:07 pm

Responsive design for content, sure no problem. If you make the user use your site as they would on the desktop, your ad placement is already optimized. If you use a responsive design, you will be constantly optimizing ad placement for the rest of your life there will be an infinite number of resolution variations. At the moment my top sites' mobile clicks are just as high as my desktop clicks, if I start messing with the design I will never get the same numbers and I don't like losing money. My current strategy is simple, make the site easily usable on mobile and desktop. Make them zoom in and tap those delicious ads. That is, until there's a mobile standard and that will never happen with everyone in constant patent wars. I may look into a few tests with new sites but it's hard enough to get mobile clicks and messing with an optimized design is asking for trouble. If you're building a new site that's not monetized, I can see responsive design being in your implementation strategy. Established sites may be a little hesitant to change their code to work with a responsive design if they aren't built using CSS, there is always a chance that you may hit a Google penalty in the process.

Web Design Perth

06/11/2012 04:39 pm

Now designing market is more and more develop, web designing demand increase. Because any company have require website for the global marketing, so that designing is really good career planning.


10/03/2012 10:07 pm

So why does exist or exist?

Gil Alroy

12/11/2012 01:50 pm

because neither YouTube nor Google use responsive design.

E-Platform Marketing

01/24/2013 11:39 pm

I agree that this is the better manner in which to deliver a mobile experience however I think the it is worth commenting that there is "the ideal solution" and the "marketable solution". Our experience is that reaching a sales agreement with most customers requires offering the lower cost dynamic development. We then work with these clients to leverage analytics (showing a significant volume of mobile platform users) to migrate them to a responsive mobile site. I would love to see a follow up article that delineates direct benefits for clients using a responsive design - something that clearly makes responsive a good value proposition.

seo services

03/16/2013 11:03 am

You are absolutely right If you’re planning on creating and launching a new website you should seo friendly site thinking about how to market your new website on the internet before having it designed.

Online Seo Marketing Services

04/01/2013 11:33 am

Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am bookmarking your feeds also .

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