When it comes to displaying a website on a mobile device such as phone, tablet (or even a phablet), there are two types you can build – a mobile version and a responsive version.
A mobile version delivers a duplicate or copy of your website to the user. When a user visits your website, they are re-directed to the duplicate mobile version. A responsive website is one which is designed to respond to the screen on which it’s being viewed.
Mobile versions of websites are a quick fix for older websites, but in reality they do more harm to your business than good. That’s because a mobile version is delivered from a different web address (URL) and so you lose any of the SEO benefits of people clicking on your links. The web address is usually something like m.yourdomainname.com or mobile.yourdomainname.com.
A responsive website however only has one URL to follow so it easier for Google and other search engines to follow traffic to your website. Also, a responsive website automatically scales to any screen width and orientation, giving an overall better user experience.
Furthermore, a responsive website is future-proof because it can respond to any screen size. A mobile version may need to be continuously updated to keep up with the ever changing screen sizes of mobile devices, such as phablets.
Interestingly, Google recommends that webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device. So there you have it; if it's favoured by Google, responsive web design should be favoured by the rest of us.
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