Google’s Matt Cutts: is responsive web design bad for SEO?

November 10, 2013
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Rumors of responsive web design as an SEO disadvantage

With the rise of responsive web design, a nagging question has plagued site owners for quite some time – is there a disadvantage to using responsive design instead of separate mobile URLs? Google’s resident SEO guru, Matt Cutts has finally addressed this question in a short video, outlining why responsive web design is not a SEO disadvantage.

Cutts says there is no duplication of efforts when it comes to linking and PageRank, which does have a benefit when compared to using separate mobile URLs.

Google released their guidelines

Google has outlined their guidelines for mobile-optimized sites to answer developers’ and site owners’ questions in the Google Developers community and they suggest remaining questions be posted in the Webmaster Help Forum.

While Cutts notes that responsive design is not a disadvantage, he didn’t necessarily say it is an advantage when it comes to SEO. Many experts have weighed in about the user experience, indicating that responsive sites are superior to mobile sites not only because mobile sites are forced to simplify an experience while responsive makes the web experience suitable for a mobile device wherein users don’t have to struggle to click tiny buttons or zoom in.



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If you have a website and are unsure about whether or not it is responsive, or if it works across tablets, smartphones, and the web, you can test your site from your browser.

Responsive web design is not the mainstream yet, but is becoming quite common. Therefore, it is not a coding language understood by all developers, so as a business professional, it is unrealistic to expect your designer to whip up a responsive site overnight.

The biggest implication of RWD is the doing away with requiring people to download apps for a smooth experience, when they could simply experience a mobile site in their regular browser. Consumers will ultimately demand a more seamless mobile experience, and responsive web design is the beginning of answering that demand.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.



Weigh in...

  • Rocketpilot

    “The short answer is that responsive web design is not an SEO advantage, but Cutts did not necessarily say it is an advantage when it comes to SEO.”

    Might need an edit on this sentence. Seems a bit circular.

    • agbenn

      It was edited, hard refresh for a fresh cache.

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