Get the full SEO benefit of your content on mobile and desktop

Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for many businesses in terms of new business generation. In fact, SEO plays a central role in most of the inbound marketing strategies Kula’s been involved with. Driving more traffic to your website through a concerted blogging strategy pays dividends in ways that very few other digital marketing tactics can. As such, it’s important to not impede your efforts.

I mentioned in my post last week about why responsive design is better than a mobile website, one of the benefits of not having a separate mobile website from your core site is that one URL works for all content. That’s because Google sees these two URLs as distinct: and are technically two different sites. This is why responsive sites tend to work better for content of this sort – one URL for one page, and no need to worry about different URLs for mobile devices and tablets.

Now, it’s true that you can use the canonical URL meta tag to show what URL is the dominant site, as Sean mentioned in his reply post to me earlier this month. However, even Google says that it’s considered a hint and not a directive, so it potentially doesn’t carry quite as much weight as having a single URL for the same content. Having to enter a default URL to ensure Google knows that the desktop version is the most important needs to be built into the CMS or added manually when publishing content, adding a step for busy site editors and authors. You’ll also have to manage analytics for multiple URLs so that you can properly analyse how your content is performing. Not a huge deal, but if you’re blogging daily, it could become cumbersome. In my investigations of a number of well-visited news sites that have separate mobile and desktop websites, most do not employ the canonical url tag (including some sites as big as The Globe and Mail and the Chronicle Herald), so they’re not getting the full SEO benefit of their content.

If Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising makes up part of your marketing mix, you may not know that you can buy keywords for searches specifically performed on mobile devices, often at far lower prices than their normal desktop equivalent. Check your analytics carefully, as you may find that you have a significant mobile-only audience that you can target with Adwords for Mobile. Again, having a single, dominant URL will make this easier to manage.

Having a responsive site instead of a mobile site also means that if you bookmark a post on your mobile device and then view it on your laptop, you won’t be presented with a tiny mobile-optimized site on your 1080p widescreen. So, using a responsively-designed site not only helps your search ranking, it ensures your users have a great reading experience no matter what platform they’re on at the time. And that’s the most important benefit of all.

We’re hosting a webinar in June during which marketers will learn all about how responsive web design can help their marketing efforts. Sign up now to get on the list while there’s still space available.

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