Increasingly, the topic of having a “Responsive Website” makes its way into conversation early during Discovery Phases of new web projects.
Should we build our website to be responsive (working on a variety of devices such as desktop, tablet, phone with a single CMS) or build a desktop version and a separate mobile version? At this point it’s clear that responsive is overwhelmingly become the popular direction of choice.
Content decisions are made early on regarding how images and copy should be displayed and the importance of each design element is weighed against what will create the most user-friendly experience on each respected device.
Seems easy enough right? Create a content plan, everyone communicate effectively and soon enough users are experiencing content on the device of their choice.
There is however one little detail that is often forgotten – how responsive design relates to search engine optimization.
With SEO best practices constantly changing, today’s rule of thumb is to create honest content (no black hat tricks) and user-experiences for visitors. But it also means building your responsive website so that search engines know how to find it and index content easily. This is particularly worth pointing out during the content development phase of the website build when key decisions are being made about when and where content is displayed. The SEO solution for a “traditional” desktop solution may not translate 100% to a responsive site.
It requires another level of thinking and a lot more planning than in the past, but necessary to ensure users can easily find what you want them to see.
To learn more and for a checklist, check out Smashing Magazines write up: SEO for Responsive Websites.