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I have been looking for mobile desktop website solution & I am confused with the information available on internet. In some case article talk about Responsive approach with the future but i am sure it has its own limitation. Google recommends it which I am not sure is it for their own inconvenience.

On the other side jQuery Mobile is great to work with, both approach's might have there own pro - cons.

I would like to have expert opinion on this:

  1. What is better responsive website or separate mobile website?
  2. Which is better from SEO point?
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2 Answers 2

First of all, there's a 3rd option. You can serve a dedicated mobile site on separate URLs, e.g., m.example.com, or you can take an adaptive approach whereby mobile specific content is delivered on the same URLs as your "desktop" site.

Which option is best for users?

From a design and architecture point of view, which is best depends a lot on what your customers or users want to do on mobile devices. The reason for this is that intent and behavior differs by device.

What do your users want?

Take a bank website for instance. On a smartphone, most people are likely to only want to complete transactions quickly and simply: check their account, apply for an overdraft, etc. They're unlikely to want to read lengthy product information or terms and conditions.

In that sort of instance, a responsive approach isn't optimal since the mobile site needs to offer content which is specially optimised for mobile.

So which is best depends on your business and your understanding of your customers.

Which is best for SEO?

Separate mobile site

The big detraction with a totally separate mobile site is the potential for SEO value to be split between your two sites, having to promote and optimise two separate sites, etc.

However, that can be mitigated by following Google's advice, which is essentially to use <link rel="alternate" href="http://m.example.com"> on your desktop site and <link rel="canonical" href="http://www.example.com"> on mobile.

The effect of this is to (a) indicate the relationship between the two sites and (b) indicate that the desktop site is the canonical version.

Adaptive

The adaptive approach sidesteps the above since the content is delivered on the same URLs. Google advice here, to avoid caching issues and let search engines know what's happening, is to employ the Vary HTTP header, indicating that content changes based on User-Agent.

Responsive

This has none of the issues noted above and so, from an SEO standpoint, probably presents the least number of challenges. The key consideration here is that above: does your content need to be altered too much for mobile for responsive approach to be viable?

Conclusion / TL;DR

From a technical standpoint, they're all fine for SEO if you engineer them properly. What's more important is that you understand what your mobile site needs to offer, and select an approach accordingly.

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Responsive Design Lets You Host Content All Under One Roof

Responsive allows you to host the same content for multiple platforms all on one page rather than multiple pages this has awesome SEO value purely because your back link gains from desktop platforms will boost the mobile pages and vice versa without leaking due to unnecessary extra pages which could be considered duplicate if not setup correctly.

But... A Mobile Site Can Rank Equally As Well....

A mobile site can rank equally well as a responsive site but generally it takes more administration and off page SEO to up keep. Users will also appreciate the same experience they got from the desktop on their mobile platform, since mobile sites tend to be liter in content, with responsive this doesn't need to be the case as everything re-sizes.

jQueryMobile is an Responsive Framework

Additionally I thought I'd mention that jQueryMobile is a responsive framework and not a mobile site content, it serves both the desktop and mobile devices such as tablets and mobile phones.

Other Responsive Frameworks to Consider

There are many more responsive platforms to consider as well as jQuery's which are equally as good or better... here is some for your consideration:

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