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When we talk about design it seems like we only talk about colors, shapes, shadows, backgrounds… The visual and eye-catching part of our web. Is all that simple? Today it’s a lot more than this. A good design is not only a beautiful design, some details are essentials to make everything to add something for our page to be found and known on internet. We’re talking of course about search engine positioning and the search engine optimization (SEO) techniques.

There’re lot of ways to position a page the higher we can on the search engines, and one of them is directly related to design. Having in mind the mobile world we’re living in, at some point we need to adapt our web, on any or other way, to make smartphone and tablet users have a full experience visiting our web from these devices.

Options for a mobile site

One option is to create two sites, one for regular computers and other, using a specific theme or a redirect, to mobile devices, being a characteristic their lower screen size, so the visual elements must be specially adapted to improve the visibility and readability on a reduced space.

Another option is the good one, our recommendation: responsive design. This design variant includes the use or all the tools on our hand, like CSS3 and Javascript, to make only one version of our web suitable for all devices, no matter the platform, orientation or screen size. For maintenance this has clear advantages, but let’s focus on what all this means for SEO:

  • One place to search: Google and other search engines does not have to get crazy thinking that there are two webs with repeated content, all in one place, for everyone.
  • Solid structure: themes and mobile sites sometimes fall into temptation of making unorthodox web code to improve the readability on mobile devices. This incorrect structure get a lower rating when positioning.
  • Changes indexed immediately: very closely related to the first bullet, a change on the web can be seen as two changes if we use more than a site, so at some points there may be inconsistencies on indexing, because the robot has tracked one version, but not the other.
  • Load speed: if we have a redirection, the load time grows noticeably, but even with a mobile theme we have to keep in mind the delay of the server from the moment it detects we’re visiting from a mobile device, changes the theme and shows the web with the correct variant.
  • The Googlebot mobile brother is watching: Google launched Googlebot Mobile, a version of its web tracker specially designed to index contents for mobile platforms. And he likes the responsive.

With all the data on the hands, included a formal recommendation from Google to the developers, it’s easy to see that responsive design has anything but advantages on the mobile world we’re living in, with more and more of these devices connected everyday to the internet, growing nearly exponentially.

The technology at a glance

For developers, is becoming relatively easy to make and maintain responsive designs. Multiple companies making WordPress plugins (such as Elegant Themes) make their themes responsive, added to the vast quantity of frameworks like Foundation or Bootstrap, that we will analyze in deep on upcoming entries.