Should develop website with responsive Design Improves SEO

With more people using their smartphones and tablets to browse the internet, it has become increasingly important to create a website that works across multiple platforms. After exploding onto the scene in a blaze of glory in early 2012, responsive web design (or RWD) is now firmly established as the best way to create a website mobile visitors love, and has become a central feature of the modern web design landscape. 2013 may have been hailed as “The Year of Responsive Design”, but RWD is far from last year’s news.

Responsive web design is celebrated as the solution for web designers and developers to restructure the appearance of a website across all digital devices (e.g. desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile).

 

But there are other benefits to a responsive website aside from design and usability. SEO plays a huge role in the success of a website, and responsive websites are no different. Google has even stated their preference for ranking responsive websites ahead of non-mobile optimized websites.

 

In this post we’ll outline why responsive web design is becoming a major benefit to SEO, but first…

 

A quick run-down on “mobile optimized websites”

 

 

There are two types of websites that are optimized for mobile, they are:

 

1. Responsive website designs
2. Mobile only websites

 

The way you can check if a website is “mobile only” is if the URL starts with an “m.” (ex: m.bantayso.com). The way to can check if a website is responsive is to drag a corner of your browser and see the website shift to smaller screen sizes (go ahead and test it with our Bop Design page).

 

All right, onto what makes responsive better for SEO:

 

Content is kept under the same URL

As stated above, mobile only websites change the structure of a URL (adding the “m.”), therefore requiring Google to scan two versions of a website when a user is conducting a web search. This is something Google would like to avoid doing in the future as it increases the risk of Google pulling inaccurate results for the user.

 

Improves bounce rate from mobile visitors

60% of adult cell phone owners now use their phones to access the Internet. In addition, 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience. Usability and positive user experience are the driving forces behind responsive web design. This positive experience also has impacts on website performance, SEO and how Google ranks you.

 

Take for example a user who visits a website from a Google search, is turned off by the design and promptly bounces from the site back to Google to continue searching. Google makes note of these bounces and ranks your website poorly because it’s gathering that you’re not an authoritative figure. Regardless of even if your website had helpful content and resources, a non-mobile-friendly design can disinterest users.

 

Improves search results and reduces duplicate content

If you’re thinking of creating a separate mobile website, you’re risking creating duplicate content across two websites. While it’s not severe enough to evoke a Google penalty, it does require every website change to be made twice. This increases the risk of human error and that Google could rank the native site higher than the mobile (or vice versa).

 

Link building all goes to one URL

If your marketing plan includes off-page SEO, link building is a critical component to that plan. When sharing thought leadership or resources from your website, responsive website design allows other sites to link to you using the same URL. If they’re linking of a page that is not supported by mobile, then you’re ruining the experience for your referral traffic.

 

Improved coding on the backend

Responsive websites are inherently better for SEO because of modern day coding improvements. Hiring a well-versed web developer is critical to successful responsive web design projects. A developer will ensure pages are easier to crawl for search engines, load faster on mobile devices and incorporate all the necessary design elements for the user experience.

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