The Web is now a multi-device world. Visitors to your website come from mobile phones, 7” tablets, 10” tablets, laptops, desktops and even television screens. Instead of creating separate versions of a website for each device, developers are now making websites responsive.
Responsive Design vs. a Mobile Site
Simply put, a responsive website is a single website that adjusts to the user’s screen size. Non-responsive websites require a desktop version and a mobile version to display properly for most visitors.
Check out responsive design at http://mccom.com via your desktop and cellphone. Notice how the URL stayed the same, yet the layout changed.
Which One Is Better for SEO?
In most cases, responsive design is the way to go in regards to SEO. With responsive design, you only need to worry about one URL for each page. While with a multi-version website, you need to worry about employing correct coding such as canonical tags for each version of that page.
In some cases this might not be the best method. If you are trying to rank for mobile-specific keywords like “mobile games,” multiple versions of your website – a desktop version targeting “computer games” and a mobile version targeting “mobile games” may be the way to go. Since content does not change in responsive design, having a separate mobile site makes sense.
Overall, there are fewer SEO problems when using responsive design versus having a separate mobile site, but having a mobile specific website can be just as beneficial as long as you employ the right coding tags and use Google Webmaster tools correctly
Be sure you are working with a qualified and experienced SEO professional who can advise you about how to execute web design to utilize search effectively for your marketing strategy.