Responsive design is the smart thing to do in terms of SEO Matt Cutts has informed digital marketers in a new webmaster help video.
With more and more traffic being generated across multiple screens including smartphones, tablets and computers, Google's distinguished engineer wanted to stress the value of a site adaptable to the different screen sizes.
In a nutshell, responsive design means the page in questions works as normal whether the site URL is accessed with a desktop browser with a mobile browser. Whatever the device in question, the page will then rescale in order to fit the new screen.
As an alternative to responsive design, many sites use a separate mobile version which are typically place on a mobile.example.com, or m.example.com domain. This type of page is typically loaded following a redirect from the main page and simply presents a bitesize version of the real site.
Cutts believes, when utilised correctly, responsive design is definitely the way to go out of the two mobile options however, as there can be issues with incorrectly created mobile specific pages.
He said: "In general, I wouldn't worry about a site that is using responsive design losing SEO benefits because by definition you've got the same URL.
"So in theory, if you do a mobile version of the site, if you don't handle that well and you don't do the rel=canonical and all those sorts of things, then you might, in theory, divide the PageRank between those two pages. But if you have responsive design then everything is handled from one URL, so the PageRank doesn't get divided, everything works fine"
Cutts also pointed out Google has a number of help documents in place for people looking for help with mobile optimised sites and issues around mobile compared to desktop.
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