• TmWe

    There are downsides though – they might not relate exactly to crawling and indexing, but to equally important matters within the field of seo. For instance – like showing mobile users a squashed up version of a desktop site instead of dedicated content, which you might want to do. Because one-size doesn’t fit all.

  • d_a_t

    Yeah. Don’t really like that Google recommends responsive design as their best practice. Mobile users have totally different needs, and very few desktop sites work to meet those needs just by being fitted to the size of the screen.

  • David Russell

    If the responsive design is done correctly you should have no problem with the Mobile site having all the bells and whistles it should like click to call, click maps, SMS, etc.

  • http://www.linkworxseo.com/ Link Worx Seo

    Well responsive design is where it is going HTML5. I believe creating a separate website for mobile devices is the way to go. Although you can have the two to cover it all. Meaning a responsive design and a mobile website. Duda Mobile which is offered by Google is what I use for mobile websites. You can also do SEO for mobile as well.

  • http://www.searcheminence.com/ Byron Hardie

    I think Cutts was referencing a direct impact to the valuation, indexing, and ranking of Responsive site. Of course there are other considerations which are at the heart of the Responsive vs Mobile site debate.

    Some companies worry about code bloat and performance with Responsive design that has media queries for many different break points for various devices. Some worry about the user experience that may be customized to a mobile user.

    While a good Responsive/Adaptive design will be able to take content and display it in a way that can be consumed by various devises there are several instances where a whole new code base is needed for a unique experience.

    But the question to Cutts should have been reversed. Not that there is an SEO downside to having a Responsive site but rather, is there a downside to having a mobile site? Clearly by his response, (and many of us have been saying this for some time) if not implemented correctly the answer is YES. Many companies do not have a full 1-to-1 version of a desktop/mobile site and therefore there are pages left in limbo as you navigate through the mobile version. A page could get ranked that isn’t supported by the mobile site yet the device sniffer detects you are on a mobile device, what happens? You could end up having a watered down or limited experience in a mobile site than you do in a fully responsive site.

    There are certain analytic scripts, comment platform scripts, A/B testing, and other third party scripts that don’t work well or are not supported on a mobile platform. I’ve run into this problem before.

    Without the proper canonical tag Google could split the linking and social signals or even think that the two pages have duplicate content. You would be surprised at how many companies do NOT have this canonical tag that tells Google that the two pages are versions of each other.

    But this of course leads to another question that many ask. Do mobile sites rank better in mobile search than Responsive sites? There has been evidence and comments on this topic both ways.

    In the end it is easier for Google if everyone had Responsive sites because there is a single URL, predictable user experience, single aggregation of search signals, and it could be easier to maintain with a single code base. However there are legitimate reasons to opt against it and Digital Marketing and Tech teams should be aware of the potential ramifications if not implemented correctly.

  • http://searchmarketingwisdom.com alanbleiweiss

    client implemented responsive design poorly executed without considering SEO – instant increase in 404s – to the tune of FOUR MILLION new “404″ pages. Responsive design DOES have an impact on SEO if its executed poorly.

  • http://searchmarketingwisdom.com alanbleiweiss

    client implemented responsive design poorly executed without considering SEO – instant increase in 404s – to the tune of FOUR MILLION new “404″ pages. Responsive design DOES have an impact on SEO if its executed poorly.

  • Himanshu Jain

    If we go to build up a new site for mobile device then would we not need to do SEO for that as well?

    Or single site for all device is not the best idea?

  • Himanshu Jain

    If we go to build up a new site for mobile device then would we not need to do SEO for that as well?

    Or single site for all device is not the best idea?

  • http://www.harisbacic.com/ Haris

    You can hide/show different content for mobile vs. desktop with responsive design. Of course, if you’re planning on having totally different content for mobile and desktop, than responsive doesn’t make sense. But if your desktop website has a bit too much text and maybe you want to limit that on mobile, you can just wrap that content around in a span and give it a class such as mobileHide, and it won’t show up on mobile.

    That way if you have a call to action button, you can make that be the focal point of the mobile website and users don’t need to scroll 10 times to read all that content.

    There’s really nothing you can’t do with responsive design that you could with a separate mobile website. I would just say it needs to be well coded so that it eliminates as much bloat code as possible. However, that can also fixed with caching and minified methods, which will speed up the website.

  • http://www.harisbacic.com/ Haris

    You can hide/show different content for mobile vs. desktop with responsive design. Of course, if you’re planning on having totally different content for mobile and desktop, than responsive doesn’t make sense. But if your desktop website has a bit too much text and maybe you want to limit that on mobile, you can just wrap that content around in a span and give it a class such as mobileHide, and it won’t show up on mobile.

    That way if you have a call to action button, you can make that be the focal point of the mobile website and users don’t need to scroll 10 times to read all that content.

    There’s really nothing you can’t do with responsive design that you could with a separate mobile website. I would just say it needs to be well coded so that it eliminates as much bloat code as possible. However, that can also fixed with caching and minified methods, which will speed up the website.

  • George Seinfeld

    It might not exactly fit, but tech-wise, if your normal site is optimized and mobile version is rubbish – it’s better to put some effort into making it responsive.

  • George Seinfeld

    It might not exactly fit, but tech-wise, if your normal site is optimized and mobile version is rubbish – it’s better to put some effort into making it responsive.

  • http://www.cotswoldco.com/ Chris Gedge

    That is a different case though. Responsive design shouldn’t be creating new URLs, just ensuring the existing desktop URLs work well on different screen sizes.

  • http://www.cotswoldco.com/ Chris Gedge

    That is a different case though. Responsive design shouldn’t be creating new URLs, just ensuring the existing desktop URLs work well on different screen sizes.

  • http://theseonut.com/ Adam

    You can tell the browser how to react to your sites responsive design so that if certain resolutions don’t scale the site correctly, it can re order the elements or render them differently for a much better user experience. Just because it’s responsive, doesn’t mean you’re always going to get the exact same site and layout, but scaled down to unreadable or unusable levels. That’s taking responsive design too literally. Even the wordpress default themes do this decently well.

  • http://theseonut.com/ Adam

    Not sure I agree. With so many mobile devices using different resolutions and screen sizes, having a site that can better react to those different sizes and resolutions is going to be optimal. I think a well done responsive design can accomplish this goal better than building completely new websites just to handle mobile users. Not to mention the SEO mess people can find themselves in if they don’t do the urls correctly. More to go wrong.

  • http://theseonut.com/ Adam

    Could not have said it better myself.