Considering the importance of Google’s Mobilegeddon update, the mobile configuration is and will continue to be a big part of the future of SEO. The simple and clean page hierarchy which is found only in responsive sites is what Google bots and other search engines give preference to. On the other hand, Responsive web design relies on a single URL and code base for desktop, tablets, smartphones and laptops, ultimately leading to faster crawling and a better chance of page rankings. Believe it or not, SEO is more about user experience, and Responsive web design is one serious aspect of it which cannot be ignored. With the communicated preference of Google search engines for mobile friendly websites, it is high time to switch SEO digital marketing campaigns towards the development of a responsive design. In this article I will outline how responsive web design leads to better SEO.
Apart from normalizing the exact look and feel of a website irrespective of devices being chosen, the Responsive design also takes into consideration factors like screen size, pixel resolution, optimized markup, click versus touch, and many more elements. Responsive web design leads to better SEO in the following ways:
- Google Loves Responsiveness
- Increased viewer engagement
- Better Link Building
- Reduced Bounce Rate
- Improved Ranking in Mobile Search
- Avoiding Content Duplicity on the web
- Faster loading web pages
Let’s take a deeper insight into all of them individually-
1. Google Loves Responsiveness
Google now recommends the responsive design for the benefit of both mobile use as well as general flexibility gained when viewing from different devices. Failing to do so will lead to the discarding of the website and its exclusion from the search results or low ranking. Google has taken these steps in the wake of rising popularity of mobile phones and increasing the mobile web traffic.
When an internet giant like Google, which is the uncrowned king of search engines, says so the websites are bound to follow. In the long run, it will be only beneficial for websites as they will enjoy good ranking.
2. Increased Viewer Engagement
Users can have a seamless user experience when websites look the same on all devices, be it PC, tablet or mobile. By adapting RWD, you make it easier for the viewers to navigate around. Responsive web design accommodates the working professional anytime during the day and a traveler who is viewing on a tablet or smartphone. With responsive web design, no scrolling or resizing is needed for any visitor to access a website from their favorite device.
3. Better Link Building
When there are separate mobile and desktop versions of a website, there are two different URLs as well. A link to your desktop website will not direct to the mobile website. The page rank suffers a lot because you have to build the separate links for both the versions, which escalates the cost involved.
In the case of a responsive website, the URL is one and the same for both versions of the website. Any link that points towards the desktop site will automatically be directing towards the mobile site as well. Consequently, you will be able to build a strong backlink profile.
4. Reduced Bounce Rate
When a non-responsive website is accessed on the mobile browser, it either breaks or does not show up on the entire screen as one frame. The users have to scroll in all directions to go to their desired link. This often leads to users abandoning their browsing session midway and increases the bounce rate. Bounce rate is considered as a signal for users’ dissatisfaction with the website, thus lowering its rank on the result page.
A responsive website, on the other hand, engages the users and does not add to the bounce rate because the design elements scale to the screen size and the website offers smooth and optimized navigation. This enhances the credibility of the website and eventually, its ranking on the search engine gets a boost.
5. Improved Ranking in Mobile Search
Mobile search works in the same manner as web search but is optimized for mobile phones. In the algorithm update announcement, Google has also claimed that making the website responsive will also impact the ranking on the mobile search. Since 2015, Google decided to add mobile optimization as the criteria for ranking websites. Mobile search requests have already doubled desktop search requests as the number of mobile users increase daily. People find it easier to browse search engines on phones than computers or laptops. With a great user experience, they will be coming back to your website, again and again, resulting in increased mobile search rankings.
6. Avoiding Content Duplicity
If you have a mobile site as well as a desktop version of the website, it means that there is duplicate content on the internet. Google’s Panda algorithm targets duplicate content for penalties so responsive design helps in avoiding these issues. Having two different versions of your site can de-index your site and actually penalize you for having a duplicate content.
7. Faster Loading Web Pages
The average speed of mobile website loading is 7 seconds as of now, which is much less than the desired speed of 1 second as prescribed by the Google. When there are two versions of a website, a request by a mobile browser is sent to the server and a query is run that serves the mobile version of the page. In the case of a responsive website, no such queries are required to be sent to the server, thus reducing the page load time considerably. Those websites with less page load time are preferred by Google over the slower ones.
In a nutshell, Responsive web design yields dual benefits. First, it expands the reach of your business by being accessible to mobile users and second, it boosts the search engine ranking of your website. Being aware of such virtues, it would be a grave mistake on your part not to render your website responsive, i.e. compatible with a range of devices including smartphones, tablets, smart televisions, laptops, and other such devices.
The blog has been penned by Bryan Lazaris, who is a senior web developer employed with HireWebDeveloper, a reputed offshore web development firm headquartered in India. Apart from working as a web developer, Bryan shares his knowledge and insight related to several technical and other aspects of web development and the innovations surrounding it.