There’s been discussion around the growing popularity of responsive website designs replacing mobile sites, and how responsive designs affect SEO efforts.

Businesses have been under the gun to focus on developing mobile websites for their business – separate sites that are designed to display better on a mobile device than a computer.

The downside is that these mobile sites are a completely different version of your website, so that means every update you make has to be done again on the mobile site.

If you want your site to appear properly on tablet devices, you even have to develop another website specifically designed for tablet displays.

Responsive designs are the new thing – they’re represent a new way to code a site so that it collapses and resizes to fit any devices or screen size. The debate and discussion in recent months has been which type of optimization is better.

The verdict is in straight from Google – they prefer responsive designs.  In fact, Google gave specific reasons why it dislikes a variety of mobile-optimized websites.  Here are the biggest concerns.

Mobile Sites Don’t Function on Every Device

And by “function”, we mean they look terrible. People aren’t just looking at your mobile site on a smartphone.  They could be using a kindle, a blackberry or even an older model flip phone with a small screen, an  iPad or an iPad mini.

Then there’s wearable computers like Google Glass to consider.

With different screen sizes come different display issues for your site.  The only real way to correct this while maintaining a traditional mobile website is to create new sites and subpages for specific screen sizes.

A responsive design however will change layout and shape to fit virtually any screen size.  It’s a better experience for your audience no matter what device they’re on – and that’s why Google loves it.

Another issue is that using multiple domains/sites for mobile users creates a number of versions of your site that can be linked to.  This leads us to the next point…

Mobile Sites Tamper with your SEO Rank

Google is crawling all of your pages and other sites around the web.  It’s reading links that point to your site and assessing their authority to help determine your rank in search results.

Instead of all your links pointing to one site, you will inevitably have links that point to your mobile site.  This spreads your link profile thin and can diminish your SEO efforts.  Essentially you’re not nearly as effective with your marketing and your visibility online can take a hit.

This is another reason why responsive website design is popular with Google.  There’s just one website, with one block of content, with links pointing only to one domain and the subpages within.  When you give search rank authority to one domain across multiple devices then you’re likely to have far better organic search visibility.

Create a better user experience, make your job easier when it comes to site updates, and keep your organic visibility in tact by taking down your mobile sites and switching to a responsive website design.