How Responsive Design Affects Your Website’s SEO

We’ve moved from a computer/desktop focused landscape to one where the mobile platform dominates most of the online industry, impacting your website’s SEO.

The internet is an ever-changing field, and in regards to the shift from mobile devices to search engines, the mobile platform has officially overtaken desktops as the first choice device for web browsing.

To have a successful responsive website you need to consider the different devices people use to browse the internet, so you can cover all options with a responsive design that adjusts content to different screen sizes.

This is important because you want all your visitors to have a great experience on your site, no matter what device they are accessing.

While all of this probably makes sense to you, it might still surprise you to hear that responsive design actually directly affects your SEO score as well. Here is a list of SEO benefits that you will get once you implement this type of design.

More mobile traffic to your website

The first most important result of responsive design is increased mobile traffic.

Mobile browsing has been steadily growing for years, and in 2016, according to an October report, it managed to overtake desktop browsing by a 51.3% lead.

This means that cell phones have become a major focus for countless developers and mobile optimization has become standard in the web design arena.

So by using responsive design on your website, you open the door to most web users these days, which obviously improves your SEO score.

Faster page loading

Speaking of mobile browsing, speed has recently become a big SEO ranking factor for Google.

With the introduction of the mobile-first principle, Google announced that page load speed will become an important part of SEO, starting in July 2018.

While the results aren’t as obvious from the start, investing in determining the speed of your site’s pages early in development is a good way to prepare for the future.

So where does responsive design fit in? Loading a full website on a smaller screen is not only ineffective and frustrating for the user, it is also extremely slow.

Responsive design condenses pages, making them smaller and therefore easier to load.

Some people argue that accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) are a better choice than responsive design because they are much faster. However, AMPs do have some drawbacks, the biggest being that they only work with static content, so responsive website development can still be a safer choice.

Decrease bounce rate

Of course, website visits mean nothing if the bounce rate is extremely high.

This means that a large number of visitors who visit your site leave immediately because of the overall bad experience.

Many professional SEO agencies recommend responsive design as a means of reducing bounce rate and therefore improving your search engine rankings.

Having a responsive design will not only help you to have an attractive design, it will also help you to deliver your content on an organized, easy to understand, crisp and clean page overall.

Increases website usability

It should come as no surprise to you that user experience greatly affects SEO.

After all, who are you making the site for if you don’t focus on people? Users need to be able to see the full content on any screen and successfully navigate it.

It’s all about first impressions.

You don’t want your visitors to struggle with zooming, scrolling, or anything else, regardless of their preferred browsing device.

In case you don’t feel that usability is that important to a successful website, a Forbes article cites a study saying that a good user interface can increase your conversion rates from anywhere around 200 to 400%. So, it’s worth thinking about the well-being of your visitors.

Avoid duplicate content

Finally, one of the benefits that is clear from the very definition of responsive website design is that it prevents Google from seeing duplicate content on your site and penalizing you for doing so.

When you make two separate versions of your site (one for desktop and one for mobile browsing), Google may see you as two sites with the same content.

Responsive design allows you to use only one location that matches all sizes.

As you will only have one link to all versions of your website, building links becomes much simpler and therefore your SEO ranking goes up easier.

Conclusion

In the end, it all comes down to helping users have a better experience using your website which in turn dramatically improves your SEO score.

The beauty of responsive website design lies in its simplicity and time-saving trends, which still makes it a slightly better choice than the alternatives, for now.