What is Responsive Web Design?Responsive web design is a way of developing websites where the server always sends the same HTML to all devices, and CSS is utilized to vary the way a page renders on different display sizes. Tailored to every device's individual size and specifications, the frame work uses intelligently a combination of flexible grids, flexible images, layouts and CSS media queries to provide a user friendly experience.
For example, if a user switches from a desktop computer to an iPhone, the website would automatically adapt to accommodate for resolution, scripting and image sizes. This removes the need for resizing, panning and scrolling by the user.
SEO Benefits of a Responsive Web Design
- Google Loves It
Google is like the divine being you have to impress with your website. It's ultimate goal is to facilitate its users. Do this facilitation with Google and Google will show you love. And while going about doing this, how about doing it the way recommended by the Almighty Google itself:
“Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.” - Google Developers
But there is more to this story. To be able to fully utilize responsive design, you should understand why Google favors it. Simply, because it makes life easier for everyone: for the user, for Google and for the developers as well.
- Improved Ranking
With the April 21st update to Google's algorithm, websites with a mobile-friendly label will get indexed better than websites that are for desktop use only. According to the search engine giant, this will have a huge impact on user's search results. Having said that, this is not a guarantee that responsive web design will land your website a better position in search engine rankings. At the end of the day, what Google takes into account the most is a positive user experience, whether you use responsive web design or adaptive web design.
- Duplicity Risk Averted
If you are not using responsive website design, that would typically mean you are developing two different sites for two different devices; one for the desktop, and one for the mobile. Now on the internet, that means you have the same content in two places. [Don't worry, you wont get hit by Panda for this]. But you will have to deal with the hassle of managing and updating the same content in two different places. What if the desktop version gets updates and there is a lag in the update of the mobile version? What if your users end up on the wrong version of your site? These are the kind of issues a responsively designed website deals with.
- Link Building
With a responsive web design, a link to your main site is also a link to your mobile site. Since mobile sites are relatively new, they have fewer back links. A responsively-designed website takes care of this problem. Even when competing for mobile visitors, your main site's back links will help you get an instant edge. With the passage of time, as mobile usage increases, your back links from both mobile and desktop sites will join to create a stronger back link profile.
- Reduced Time to Load PageThe average time to load a page on your mobile is 7 seconds, while Google's ideal time in this case is 1 second. As there are no cases of redirection to reach certain URLs with a responsively-designed website, the mobile page gets loaded relatively quicker. This could possible enhance the SEO.
- Lowers Bounce Rate
Even if a website is ranking high in search results, if it doesn't operate effectively for mobile and PC users, bounce rate will start to become a problem. Mobile websites get particularly affected by this phenomenon if the content is too stripped down or too different from the main website. Before long, His Highness Google will take note and view this as a sign that the website isn't adding value for the users, leading to a downfall in rankings.
See Also- Reduce Bounce Rate: 20 things to consider
A responsively designed website can help here, since the content on all versions of the website is the same and presented in a more functional way. This keeps users from running away from your website after visiting just the first page.
With all this information, you are well-equipped to remain on top of the digital marketing industry. So start 'responding' and begin evolving with the website that works both on desktops and mobiles.
Thanks to Alice for this awesome contribution - In addition to being a University of Pennsylvania graduate, Alice is professional content writer, a digital marketer and social media strategist for ZenergyWorks.Alice's professional interest lie in monitoring user preferences online and how, as a result, it is shifting the digital marketing landscape. Having worked with both start ups and well established companies, Alice is proficient in web design, web development and online marketing campaigns.