Will Responsive Design Work for Your Law Firm?


From a designer’s perspective, responsive website design is beautiful. It is simple: one site, many devices. With a responsive design, your site will transition seamlessly from desktop to mobile without the need for distinct urls. In addition, responsive designs often emphasize white space and large elements, giving sites room to breathe at all sizes. And, the consistency offered by employing responsive design is a valuable brand-building tool, since people will always be interacting with the same look and feel, no matter how they access a website.

With mobile internet usage expected to overtake desktop usage within the next few years, most firms interested in SEO are also interested in mobile-friendly websites. In particular, having a site that functions properly on a mobile device is critical to local search marketing efforts. More and more, people are just as likely – if not more so – to perform a local search on a smart phone as they are on a desktop or laptop machine.

The necessity of having a mobile website may be well understood, but the issue of whether a responsive design or a separate mobile website is best for SEO is still hotly debated. Google has indicated its preference for responsive design, and that is certainly a consideration. In fact, Google refers to responsive design as an industry best practice. But that has not stopped some from arguing that responsive design is bad for SEO. Here are some pros and cons from arguments on both sides:

User Experience

Pros: Having a website that transitions seamlessly from device to device makes it easier for users to interact with your content. If someone shares something from their desktop, that person’s friends, who might access the content on their phones or tablets, will see the same thing. They will not be taken to a stripped down version of the site, which may or may not not contain the shared items. Conversely, someone might first see an item on a mobile site – say at work – and make a note to do more research at home. Later, if they access the site from a laptop or desktop and have to navigate through a different site, they could experience frustration. In Google’s mind, a responsive website creates the most seamless, and therefore the best, user experience. And, since a good user experience is supposed to help with rankings, it is good for SEO.


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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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