One of the most interesting developments in the website design industry is the introduction of responsive web design (RWD), a mechanism that allows a website to adapt to the size of the user’s screen, be it desktop, iPad or laptop. The real benefit has been its use for creating mobile friendly sites. This means the users can have a seamless experience without the need of any redirection. The bottom line is as long as multiple devices for browsing are accessible, responsive design will always be a requirement.
As we are shifting into a world where Smartphones and tablets are beginning to rule the roost in terms of connectivity, more people are searching information from their tablets and mobile phones. Here, responsive design has a major role to play regarding its impact on the SEO. In the world of SEO, the concept of mobile has always been tricky. Yes, everybody wants a mobile site but what is the best way to do it? Google has finally recommended that website should use responsive design as the components of RWD can positively affect SEO.
How Responsive Website design helps in better SEO
Responsive design increase local SEO ranking:
If you are targeting local keywords, RWD will increase local ranking. More and more people are searching for directions to local business using their mobile devices. It has been estimated by YELP that 40% of searches come from mobile apps. Mobile search results are partially influenced by Geo-specific parameters; therefore, website will have to meet the SEO pointers. This helps Google to identify your optimised site as the one that is suitable for quality placement in search engines.
For instance, mobile users will press the BACK button if your pages are not displayed in the right way on their mobile devices. They will return to the results and search for the one that does the job easily. Such actions will be identified as poor user experience by the search engines and affect your placement in the mobile results.
RWD eliminate duplicate content:
Webmasters who develop the mobile version of a website usually replicate the content from the main website to the mobile version. This ultimately reduces the credibility of the mobile site in the eye of the search engine. Also you may find the same content on two places on the web, which can bring visitors to the wrong version of your site. However, a responsively designed mobile site means that content is only in one place and removes the challenges of updating the duplicate content.
RWD helps in Link building:
As you invest your time and resources in building backlinks to your site, you need to equally invest your effort in using those links for your mobile site. However, if this is your stand-alone mobile version of your website you will have to start from the beginning with SEO and link building. Also the pages from any responsive sites are more likely to be shared. Mobile links which gets shared usually open up to fit the browser. However, such links contain no graphics associated with the original site.
The onsite SEO efforts do not go in vain:
As we know SEO is time consuming and expensive. However do not worry, all your SEO efforts you have invested will not go in vain. Social sharing and onsite SEO efforts will also be applicable to the mobile version of your site. All your onsite SEO tasks will be maintained for the mobile site including title tags, search engine and content-friendly URLS, Meta description, internal link structure, keywords and anchor text.
Responsive design means one website:
Multiple repetitions of a website mean that a search engine has to spend more time at each changes or differences of the website. However, with one website it means Search engine gets to save time crawling at each things. A responsive site will deliver all of the site’s content rather than any short cuts. This allows the mobile users access the entire site and get information they are looking for.
RWD is Google’s favourite:
Google says “Responsive website Design is the best way to go”. Google is dominant in the search engine fields. Until its dominance is replaced by someone else, we have to listen to what Google says. Its algorithm puts a lot of emphasis on user’s experience and Google reward those sites which has higher placement in the SERPs if they improve their users experiences. An improved user experience also includes average time spent on a site, its bounce rate and social sharing. If these factors can be taken care of it will help to increase the site rank and satisfy the mobile browsers.
Google will direct the visitors to the site they want to see. If your site disappoints the visitors for not finding the required information, they will come back to the search engine results pages. Now Google will make a note that your site is not the best choice for that search team. If your mobile site looks different from the regular site and contain less content, it would automatically frustrate the visitors who are looking for something they already found in the desktop versions. On the contrary, if you do not have mobile site, the majority of the visitors will return to Google to find a site that is easily readable. This ultimately raises your site’s bounce rate and lowers your ranking. However, with RWD, visitors can access all content they want in a format that is easily readable.
If you are using WordPress, you can take advantage of themes offered by Genesis which are responsive and looks very professional.
As both Responsive Web Design and Search Engine Optimisation is for enhanced user experience Google wants you to provide value to them. Google wants you to keep USERS as your top priority and not the sales pitch. Google wants you to meet the USERS any place, at any time and on any screen. Therefore, responsive design and SEO goes hand-in-hand.
Do let me know your view on Responsive web design Vs. mobile site? What other SEO benefits we get with a responsive design?