You’ve probably heard this already, but responsive web design, or RWD, is big right now. Way big. Not only are there successful examples of it all over the Web, but for marketers thinking about their mobile strategy, be advised that both Google and Bing recommend RWD as the mobile SEO strategy for smartphones.
When we asked several of our clients—big, small, techy, and artsy—what web skills they could really use, RWD was the winner hands down:
“Our clients weren’t prepared for how quickly mobile has been adopted—folks have it (RWD) at the top of their mind.”
– Interactive Strategy Manager, ad agency serving Fortune 1000 clients
“Obviously it’s the big buzz right now…what is it? How do you do it? How do you code for it?”
– Creative Director, Fortune 500 company
But is making the switch to RWD right for your marketing strategy? Read on:
Right Experience, Right Screen, Right Time
The goal of RWD is to ensure the best user experience possible. A responsive site adapts its layout, content, even functionality to fit different screen sizes, all from a single code base under one URL. This means if responsive design is correctly implemented, your website will look great everywhere and deliver to your users exactly what they need from whatever device they’re working on. And that’s crucial in light of the enormous growth and projected growth in mobile phone and tablet use. You don’t want to lose a potential customer or lead due to a bad user experience!
SEO Sanctioned (by Google!)
Since RWD simply adjusts to screen size and the content and URL does not change, Google’s Smartphone crawler Googlebot-Mobile has access to all the content of your full site (HTML, CSS, Images, etc.). If you follow Barry Schwartz’s checkpoints, you can feel confident that your search engine rankings will remain the same across devices. Although mobile apps—one alternative to RWD—can be great for controlling the user experience, they are not part of the open web and make it impossible for search engines to crawl your site.
Of course, RWD is not right for every website. Check out SEOmoz’s ultimate guide for online marketers for a more detailed perspective on the subject. The more you know, the better you can decide if switching to a responsively designed website is a smart investment of your organization’s time and money. We’re betting it will be.
Find advice on keeping your team up to date on web standards, including a free webinar with Jeffrey Zeldman and Aaron Gustafson.