When considering increasing your search ranking in Google, one of the most important factors currently is responsive website design. In fact, on Google’s website developers page, within their guide to responsive web design they list no less than six ways that responsive website design delivers improved user experiences (which leads to a better search ranking), saves Google resources (which one would believe also leads to a better search ranking) and help to avoid SEO pitfalls like bad redirects and fragmented link presence, prefaced by “We [Google] recommend using responsive web design because…” – thereby letting website owners know, that Google in their own special way is demanding responsive website design be the standard.
There have been several studies on search rankings and responsive website design, which also guide us to believe this to be the case. In a study done by Moz.com in 2015, which included a survey of over 150 professionals who specialize in SEO and search ranking optimization, aside from “uniqueness of content” which has been the main factor in increasing search ranking for years, respondents felt the thing that held the second highest influence in search engine ranking was “Use of Responsive Design and/or Mobile-Optimized,” – ranking 6.33 out of 10.
Further to the thinking of “uniqueness of content”, there are a few ways that your website can be brought to differing mediums such as desktop/laptop vs tablets/smartphones. One way that was done for a time was to build two different websites, one for regular users and the other for mobile (aka the “m dot” method). This method after a while began to result in duplicate content penalties, as the two websites – even though for the same domain, were seen as websites with duplicate content by the search engines resulting in falling rankings. The solution to this issue, amongst others created when having differing websites for different types of user platforms is responsive website design.
Also, because of how responsive website design operates, there is no need to do the extensive work that can go into increasing search ranking two websites made for two different platforms. By using responsive website design you are building one site made for all types of visitors, using a combined effort to increase search rankings for your website across platforms – and you don’t have the potential for the “hit” to your search rankings by having multiple versions of your site being indexed for search.
Considering that usability, or end user friendliness of a website has long been a factor in good web design, as well as helping a website’s search ranking – i.e. reducing bounce rates, increasing visitor time and interaction on a site, responsive website design fits this profile perfectly. As we head towards a more mobile world, with smart phones and tablets becoming the norm for surfing the web, as opposed to desktops/laptops, responsive website design provides the perfect user experience. The very nature of responsive website design is to provide a usable and friendly version of a website to all – mobile, tablet and laptop/desktop visitors, which to our ever increasing social network connected world is also extremely important. When your responsive website is shared on the numerous and popular social networks in a way that is usable to all, visitor interaction (time on site) increases and abandonment (bounce) rates on your website drop – thereby leading to increases in your search ranking.
In conclusion, we hope that we’ve helped you understand why you should easily be able to say that for modern website design and increasing your search rankings, that a responsive website design is not only optimal, it is essential.
How do I know if my website is responsive?
Never fear, the guys over at Google have you covered. Simply visit their Mobile-Friendly Test page, pop your website address into the box and hit the Analyze button. If your website sadly not mobile ready please get in touch to discuss what we can do for you.