5 Benefits of Responsive Web Design For Your SEO
The term responsive design refers to a set of standards and practices for designing websites that render equally well on a wide range of devices. Responsive design came about as result of a widespread shift in the way people access the web. More than 50% of all internet users are using mobile devices as their primary means of browsing online, which means that a website that is not optimized for mobile stands to lose a large portion of its potential traffic. This is where SEO comes into the picture. The goal of SEO is to tweak a website in order to improve its discoverability, traffic, and conversion rate. In other words, responsive design implementation is a simply another form of SEO.
To elaborate further on how responsive design is vital for achieving SEO-related goals, we have decided to create a short primer on the topic that you have before you. Give it a glance, and refresh your memory on SEO fundamentals.
Avoiding Duplicate Content
No matter how sophisticated Google’s algorithms are becoming, they will still appreciate guidance when it comes to determining which portion of your website they ought to crawl. Now, if you are designing a separate version of your site for mobile with its own URL, this can pose a problem. Search engine bots will have to go through all your content twice, instead of just once, which can impact the ranking of both versions of your site. Luckily, responsive design is an elegant solution to this problem. Instead of duplicating your content, you can adjust your site design so that it scales well to mobile from the outset. Having just a single version of your site will make the process of crawling and indexing much more efficient, netting you better rankings in the process.
Curbing Bounce Rate
A high bounce rate is a single to Google that the visitors of your site are leaving in a hurry. The most likely interpretation for this scenario as far as Google is concerned is that your content is not relevant for the end-user. This insight will likely be followed by a reduction of rankings, which is obviously something you want to avoid. The unfortunate part about all of this is that in reality, your content might be perfectly fine, and your site design is what’s at issue. By implementing responsive design principles, you are lowering the odds of this occurring, because you will be able to guarantee that both mobile and desktop users can use the site without a hitch.
Improving Load Speed
Mobile data plans often have bandwidth and speed restrictions that their desktop counterparts don’t. Therefore, if a website is a resource hog, in addition to being slow to load, chances are mobile users will not be able to access it properly. Even if they somehow manage to get through the loading times, chances are that their data limitations will make them reconsider using your website in the future. By making sure your website design is responsive, you will ensure that it will load fast enough so site visitors won’t get annoyed. If that is not reason enough to implement responsive design, bear in mind that Google has been explicit about speed being a ranking factor. A fast-loading site is one that ranks well, and with responsive design, you will easily achieve the speed you need.
From the user’s perspective, the experience of using a website is the primary factor which will determine whether he will become a lead, or even a convert down the line. It certainly determines how likely he is to bounce after using the site for a while. This makes UX a significant SEO factor. Where does responsive design come into play? By definition, the goal of responsive design is to make the experience of using a website on mobile as seamless as on a desktop computer. This can be achieved through by making a website easy to navigate using a touch-screen interface, i.e. by integrating responsive design directly into the way it functions.
Optimizing For Social Media Shares
Getting shared on social media will directly impact the rankings of a website, but it can bring other benefits that might eventually affect its SEO. Sites that sport a responsive design provide a quality UX, which makes them more likely to be shared on social media, which in turn increases site traffic. And having more traffic is never a bad thing as far as Google is concerned. If many people start visiting your site on a regular basis, its status as an authority on a particular topic will increase. Google will eventually notice this, and possibly reward it better rankings.
As we have seen, SEO and responsive design are closely related. Working towards one of these goals often has positive repercussions for the other as well. The best way to approach the matter to use the two in tandem, creating websites that are both mobile, and search engine friendly.