When Google announced its preference for user-friendly responsive websites in June 2012, I immediately saw an influx of posts that equated responsive design with search engine optimization. This is unfortunate because, while responsive websites can be SEO-friendly, some responsive websites are not.
I’ve detailed some of the common errors that give responsive websites problems in search results in an article on Search Engine Land earlier this year, so it’s nice to be able to do a more in-depth SEO audit of a responsive website here on Smashing Magazine.
I know not everyone’s definition of SEO is the same, so for those of you who don’t know my work, it should be emphasized that fixing all of these issues with SEO will improve the user experience in general; and like most credible SEOs these days, I don’t believe in manipulating search engine algorithms for short term ranking benefits.
The website I’d like to audit today is the US version of Disney Junior. I’ve chosen this website for three reasons: it’s not run by a client or a partner; it exhibits a lot of the SEO issues of many responsive websites; and my two and four year olds are huge fans of the brand and often use my smartphone or our family iPad to visit it. Hopefully, Disney can use this free advice to make its website better for my kids and kids like them who search.
It’s worth noting that because Disney Junior is not a client or partner, there may be information about business requirements that I am not privy to. In these cases the recommendations might not be helpful to Disney Junior, but should at least be valuable as SEO best practices for responsive sites.
This audit of Disney’s beautiful but often frustrating website shows that mobile SEO doesn’t end once you’ve made a website responsive, and it gives Disney a framework to make its website more usable and findable on search engines.
Disney Junior doesn’t seem to have any real issues with indexing; many of its pages have been indexed by Google. See for yourself with a simple
site:domain.com search, or verify it in Google’s Webmaster Tools if you use it.