From Webhead Tools 11.12.13
Don’t Worry About Responsive Designs Hurting SEO Optimization
As PageRank from Google’s toolbar becomes less reliable, webmasters are looking to improve any signal they can to get Google to view their site in a positive light (and avoid things that will make Google take a negative view of their site).
Responsive design is something a lot of webmasters have had to consider in recent years as smartphone usage has skyrocketed. Some may be wondering if there are positives and/or negatives from implementing responsive design from an SEO optimization perspective. The answer is that there’s not really much of either, but Google does like it.
In other words, don’t look for any special SEO points just because you use responsive design, but it does mean that users will be seeing your site the same way regardless of which device they’re using, so if you have a well-optimized site, that should transfer from device to device.
Google’s Matt Cutts recently discussed responsive design.
“Whenever you have a site that can work well for regular browsers on the desktop as well as mobile phones, there’s a couple completely valid ways to do it,” he said. “One is called responsive design, and responsive design just means that the page works totally fine whether you access that URL with a desktop browser or whether you access that URL with a mobile browser. Things will rescale, you know, the page size will be taken into account, and everything works fine. Another way to do it is, depending on the user agent that’s coming, you could do a redirect so that a mobile phone – a mobile smartphone, for example – might get redirected to a mobile dot version of your page, and that’s totally fine as well.”
“In general, I wouldn’t worry about a site that uses responsive design losing SEO benefit(s) because by definition, you’ve got the same URL, so in theory, if you do a mobile version of your site, if you don’t handle that well and you don’t do the rel=’canonical’ and all those sorts of things, you might, in theory, divide the PageRank between those two pages, but if you’ve got responsive design, everything is handled from one URL, and so the PageRank doesn’t get divided. Everything works fine, so you don’t need to worry about the SEO drawbacks at all,” he said.