How Responsive Web Design Affects Your SEO

Why You Need a Responsive Web Design for Your SEO
Modern society has shifted from a computer/desktop focused landscape to a place where the mobile platform dominates a majority of the online industry. 

It has only been a year since Google announced that they are moving to a more mobile-focused indexing, and the SEO landscape has never been the same. That announcement only necessitated the incorporation of a responsive web design to an SEO’s mobile website because having a responsive web design affects your SEO through positive user behavior signals.

That specific announcement hinted that a lot was going to change for us. One potential change that got my attention is that SEOs should not solely focus on their desktop websites, but also its mobile version.

The mobile-centric attitude that society has adapted has been growing for a while now and is not changing anytime soon. Which involves a lot more work for SEO professionals. Incorporating a responsive web design to your website need a lot of time, effort, and energy, but it will be worth it. Without further ado, let’s start.

002_ A Responsive Web Design

A Responsive Web Design

The internet is an ever-changing field, and in relation to the move to a mobile-first index for search engines, the mobile platform has officially overtaken desktops as the first choice of device for web browsing.

This news should not be a surprise for SEOs because it is our job to predict where the online landscape is headed and to adapt accordingly. That is why it is still surprising for me to know that most businesses and SEOs have yet adapted a more mobile-friendly website – specifically, responsive mobile design.

Always remember that Google is and will always be user-centric, and that’s why when society shifted to a more mobile-focused web browsing journey, Google immediately adapted. Which entails that the SEOs that focus on the users instead of anything else are favored by Google.

Basically, if you are moving toward a more mobile-optimized website, then you have the approval of Google. And a mobile-optimized website often comes with a mobile responsive design.

Aside from being optimized for the mobile platform, here are 5 reasons on why a mobile responsive design can help your SEO goals:

003_Site Usability

  1. Site Usability

One of the main reasons why users do not stay on your website for an extended amount of time is because they usually have a hard time navigating through its pages. Consequently, the time a user spends on your page is used by Google to determine a site’s or page’s quality or value.

If you have a responsive web design, then users will have a much easier time navigating through your website, and overall have a good user experience. This entails that if your site’s user experience is top-notch, you will have repeat visitors and higher amount of converted users.

Simply put, a great responsive mobile web design leads to a good user experience, and you will also earn Google’s favor which will lead to greater rewards (higher rankings).

Your site’s usability and heightened customer experience can never be emphasized enough. Businesses should always be aware of their conversion rate and their customer’s experience. Some factors that affect your website’s rankings are:

  • Positive Reviews
  • Traffic
  • Branded Searches

These three often come in relation with your site’s design element. A mobile responsive web design is the starting point for your customer’s journey and has a massive impact on their experience. I cannot stress enough on how important it is to increase your site’s usability by incorporating a responsive design.

004_Page Load Time

  1. Page Load Time

We all know that one factor that Google considers when ranking websites are your page load time – the faster it is the better it would be for your rankings. If you are an SEO, it is your job to make the site load as fast as possible to help your site be ranked higher.

Websites that are more mobile responsive will usually load faster than those that are not. This will lead to a more positive user experience and hopefully, a boost in rankings. Also, Google has shown favor to the websites that have fast page load times, so it would not be detrimental for you to optimize it for faster page load time.

005_Bounce Rate

  1. Bounce Rate

Whenever a visitor exits your website after only spending a short amount of time or they exit immediately after entering your website is called bounce rate. It is directly related to time on site, and Google considers the entry and exit time of visitors whenever they are ranking websites.

If Google notices that you have high amounts of bounce rate, then it will directly affect your rankings because Google interprets it as the site not being able to answer the user’s query.

Aside from your content, the design of your page is another factor that makes the visitors stay. If your content is top-notch but the design is below average, more often than not, it will lead to you having massive amounts of bounce rate.

Having a mobile responsive design will not only help you have an appealing design, but it will also help you deliver your content in an organized, easy to comprehend, crisp, and overall clean page.

006_Duplicate Content

  1. Duplicate Content

No matter how advanced Google’s crawlers are, they will still need direction from SEOs in order to understand which of the pages are the most vital to a certain website. Some webmasters or SEO opted to go for a separate mobile website will usually suffer from duplicate content. This happens because even though you have different URLs for your mobile website and your desktop website, they will still have the same content.

The duplicate content will harm your rankings if you do not help Google understand which of the pages are more vital. And the result of not fixing duplicate content will be lower rankings.

However, if you incorporate a mobile responsive design on your website, then it will help you with your problem of having duplicate content because you will only use a single URL (not separate) regardless of the device used by the user.

007_Social Media

  1. Social Media

Social sharing is not a direct ranking factor, but it will help you build up an audience or following. Having a mobile responsive design will make it easier for your visitors to share your content/pages on social media that could potentially help you gain more visitors.

Having more visitors will help Google understand that your website could be trusted and has content that is liked by the users – which is a good thing.

If your mobile web site’s design is unresponsive, then your visitors will have a harder time looking for the social sharing button because the website that they view on their mobile phones will be the desktop version – which is a bad thing.

Key Takeaway

The first thing you should do before incorporating a mobile responsive design is to give time for your planning. Careful planning will usually lead to a greater and more thoughtful design. Planning will also help you map out what you want the website to look like, and to basically know the purpose of the website – which is immensely important for the users.

Lastly, planning ahead and knowing the purpose of your website will help you in your long-term SEO goals. This is because by understanding your website, you will have a much easier time doing your keyword research because you already know the vocabulary of your business or service.

Do you know any other benefits of having a mobile responsive design? Let’s talk in the comments below.

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Sean Si

About Sean

is a Filipino motivational speaker and a Leadership Speaker in the Philippines. He is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out his new project, Aquascape Philippines.