Matt Cutts Talks Responsive Design Impact On SEO

By: Chris Crum - November 6, 2013

Google has put out a new Wembaster Help video. In this one, Matt Cutts discusses responsive design and its impact (or lack thereof) on SEO. He takes on the question:

Does a site leveraging responsive design “lose” any SEO benefit compared to a more traditional m. site?

Cutts says, “Whenever you have a site that can work well for regular browsers on the desktop as well as mobile phones, there’s a couple completely valid ways to do it. One is called responsive design, and responsive design just means that the page works totally fine whether you access that URL with a desktop browser or whether you access that URL with a mobile browser. Things will rescale, you know, the page size will be taken into account, and everything works fine. Another way to do it is, depending on the user agent that’s coming, you could do a redirect so that a mobile phone – a mobile smartphone, for example – might get redirected to a mobile dot version of your page, and that’s totally fine as well.”

He notes that Google has guidelines and best practices here.

This includes things like having a rel=”canonical” from the mobile version to the desktop version, and stuff like that.

He continues, “In general, I wouldn’t worry about a site that uses responsive design losing SEO benefit(s) because by definition, you’ve got the same URL, so in theory, if you do a mobile version of your site, if you don’t handle that well and you don’t do the rel=’canonical’ and all those sorts of things, you might, in theory, divide the PageRank between those two pages, but if you’ve got responsive design, everything is handled from one URL, and so the PageRank doesn’t get divided. Everything works fine, so you don’t need to worry about the SEO drawbacks at all.”

And that’s about the size of it.

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • http://www.squirrly.co Alexandra Petean-Nicola

    So from a SEO point there is no need to put in the energy to create a responsive design for your site, right ?

    • http://Storageinternetmarketing.com SEO Ninja

      I think the take away here is, a site with a responsive design will not need to use additional SEO tactics like a separate mobile site would (canonical, sharing page rank, etc). The on-page SEO will not change when the site is responsive, and the URL stays the same.

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    There is no need to put extra resource in Responsive design for SEO

  • James addison

    Responsive
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  • Robert Key

    It’s amazing how everything has changed so dramatically, S.E.O has changed so much, that you can’t predict what strategy is going to work today and what’s going to work in the future, the same is happening to website designs, now Google wants all the sites to be responsive and is giving responsive sites better reputation and rankings is search engine results.

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  • Harira Ijaz

    may be the future will come when search engine would prefer those sites who are responsive and have better user experience than those with alot of links but not responsive

  • Lisa Anderson

    I think from and SEO point of view if a website can work on a mobile phone as well as a normal desktop is especially beneficial for the web design company and the customer. This is showing Google you are keeping up with the times, as everything in social media seems to be around mobile phone a person is more likely to get more traffic if there website works on a mobile as well

  • Jason Marnie

    SEO has changed dramatically, this is important soley because it is essential things change with the times.