Responsive web design SEO


Gone are the days when computer used to be the only media to surf the internet. The ever evolving technology has blessed us with a spree of devices which allows us to surf the internet more easily and more effectively too. Responsive website designing is now the buzz word for all the web developers as they have to design the different web pages in such a manner that they can be easily accessed from all the different platforms. Therefore this form of designing is now the contemporary way which is being followed by most of the designers in the globe.

Responsive web design is basically reformatting or in simple words converting a website into such a format that it can be accessed from the different devices like – smartphone, tablets, desktop, laptop etc. With the a great mass of the population relying much on the devices other than the desktops or laptops to search the internet, it is now sort of a mandate for the web designers to opt for the mode of responsive web designing to regulate the incoming traffic towards the websites.

The Anatomy of a Responsive Site
The Anatomy of a Responsive Site

But, when it comes to online marketing, what are the SEO benefits of going responsive? Here’s how responsive web design can help a site to shine in the SERPs.

#1. Utilizability:

The search giant Google always wants to send it’s searchers to the websites which are useful for them and relevant for their search-term. When visitors browse through your website and immediately return to the SERPs, at this point Google makes a note that your site may/might not be relevant for that search term which the visitor typed to get into your site.

  • According to Gomez research in 2012 46% of consumers are unlikely to return to a mobile site if it didn’t work properly during their last visit.
  • If your site isn’t mobile friendly at all, 61% of your visitors will return to Google to find a site that is easily readable (Karim Temsamani at IABALM 2012).

This will result to increased bounce rate and ranking drop in mobile search. The responsive web designing process allows the websites to be absolutely compatible to all the devices through which you can access the internet.

#2. Duplicate Content:

Having a mobile responsive website gives you a peace of mind that your site won’t be hit by Panda for having same content in both desktop, tab or mobile version . In responsive website designing technique the content is served to the visitors from the same URL in any devices.

#3. Mobile Search Ranking:

As per the new mobile ranking strategy designed by Google – it gives special preferences to the sites which are compatible to all devices such as desktop, tablet, mobile etc.

With mobile friendly website design when someone links to your main site he apparently links to the mobile version of the website as well. A visitor can easily connect to the main webpage from the mobile version website by just clicking on the link which would be provided by the mobile website version. The actually helps (in your SEO) to flow all the link juice to one URL and also provides a brilliant user experience to every visitor.

Consumer in store behavior (Study By Google)
Consumer in store behavior (Study By Google)

Unlike desktop searches, experts believe local search to be an essential factor of mobile searches on smartphone. Yes I agree, not all the local searches goes for online shopping. But some do call them directly from the mobile SERPs to do the business. Google’s new study shows local searches lead 50% of mobile users to visit stores.

#6. Bounce Rate:

If your site isn’t mobile friendly them it might suffer from high bounce rate issues for mobile searches. More the bounce rate, more are the chances for the web site to have a negative ranking effect. Therefore, if there is a good set of correlation between the desktop version and the mobile version of the website, you can easily expect a good rank of your web page. Here are some additional tips to decrease your bounce rate.

#7. URL Structure:

A great responsive site is typically competent of providing the frequent viewing needs of the website visitors devoid of changing the main URL. As Matt Cutts said:

Responsive design just means that the page works totally fine whether you access for site URL with a desktop browser or whether you access that URL with mobile browser,” Cutts said. “Things will rescale, the page size will be taken into account.”

“In general, I wouldn’t worry about a site that is using responsive design losing SEO benefits because by definition you’ve got the same URL,” Cutts said. “So in theory, if you do a mobile version of the site, if you don’t handle that well and you don’t do the and all those sorts of things, then you might, in theory, divide the PageRank between those two pages. But if you have responsive design then everything is handled from one URL, so the Page Rank doesn’t get divided, everything works fine.

Here are some additional read on SEO friendly URL structure.

If you already have a mobile website then consider converting that to a responsive design so that it’s optimized for all other devices. But before you start doing that, there are quite a few aspects that needs to be taken care of in order to ensure that your visitors get the same design, content of your website in whatsoever platform he wishes to check it.

You need to be very careful concerning the technical implementation which is very advanced and countless small faults has to be avoided. The following methods can be taken into consideration:

1) Using optimized images:

While designing a website, you should be utilizing optimized images which can be easily loaded in all the devices from desktop, tablet & mobile version of the site. According to research by Gomez.

  • 74% of mobile users will leave after 5 seconds waiting for a page to load.
  • 71% of mobile browsers expect web pages to load almost as quickly or faster as web pages on their desktop computers.

So make sure that you compress your images as much as possible. There are plenty of software’ which are available on the web with the help of which you can easily compress or compact the various images. Yahoo Smush it is one of the most common software which is used as a compacting image tool.

If you are more concerned on speeding up your website, then here are 11 best ways you can do that.

2) Screen size oriented designing:

With the aid of responsive web designing, you won’t have to design different web pages for the different screen sizes. Once designed, it would automatically adjust itself to provide the best viewing option to the visitors. As designer Stephen Hay says:

Start with the screen small first, then expand until it looks like sh*t. Time to insert a breakpoint!

3) Keeping the contents intact:

The mobile friendly website designs also keeps the content intact for all its versions in different devices. The only difference which you might see is in the advertisement part (which users probably didn’t want in the first place) and a bit of difference would be experienced in the navigation part,(which is replaced by a simpler version of navigation) apart from that everything is kept intact. It is always advised not to alter the content of the website on even any lighter edition of the web page.

4) Touch optimization:

It is an important aspect to design the website with complete touch optimization as nowadays every device – from a personal computer to a smart watch, every device comes with a touch screen, so it is always advised to design the website with complete touch optimization. But beware of the fact that you can’t hover with the mouse in most of the smart devices such as mobile, tablet or smart watches which you can easily do in your PC or laptop.

5) Should be tested on all browsers:

It is a mandatory thing that the web page needs to be tested in each and every browser. Here are the browsers you’ve got.

For Desktop: IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari

For Tablet/Mobile: Safari, Default Android browser, Chrome beta, Dolphin, Opera, Firefox

So, is it Worth it?

The responsive web design will allow the web page owner to pull the modern web users through the smart devices and will help him or her to be a step ahead of his worthy competitors.

Have you already switched to a responsive web design? Any advice for those who haven’t?