“Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.”
The responsiveness of your website is unequivocally an important factor in improving user experience and avoiding common SEO pitfalls that can hinder your Google rankings.
And while responsive web design is not a confirmed ranking factor, Google has implied its importance on multiple occasions.
But how to create a responsive website – structurally and visually – is a practice that alludes to many marketers and designers alike.
The good news is that there are detailed steps to improving the responsiveness of your website.
Let’s start now.
Here are seven ways having a responsive website benefits your SEO strategy, as well as some tips on how to make your site more user-friendly.
What Is “Responsive Web Design”?
Responsive Web Design (RWD) involves creating web pages that render well across a variety of devices and screen sizes.
In this way, web designers are able to create a website experience that accommodates the many different ways users access and interact with websites.
Mobile traffic accounts for nearly half of all web traffic, globally.
This means it is essential for website owners to have websites that are accessible and easy to navigate, even on a small screen (such as a tablet or smartphone).
Why You Need A Responsive Website
Many website owners have been slow to adopt responsive web design, despite the slew of published statistics that show responsiveness produces a better user experience.
Considering that 61% of users will never return to a website that’s not mobile-friendly, the adoption of a responsive environment seems like a no-brainer.
This fact alone should be a good reason for website owners to prioritize the user web experience and opt for a more responsive design.
1. Google Prioritizes Mobile-First
It’s no secret that Google has moved toward a “mobile-first” approach in recent years.
With more users searching from mobile devices than ever before, it’s become increasingly important for websites to be easily rendered on any device.
Google aims to provide valuable and accessible content to users.
The algorithm is most inclined to rank a site that fits the bill – by being responsive and user-friendly.
Google favors websites that are optimized for mobile devices and have adopted a mobile responsive web design.
2. Improved Usability
Time on Page can be an important indication of whether your content matches what the user is searching for and whether they’ve had a positive experience on your site.
The reasoning is that if a user is unsatisfied by your content (or, in this case, your website experience), then they are unlikely to stick around.
Responsive web design makes websites more accessible, fast, and easier to navigate.
It makes it easier for users to then find the information they are looking for and typically encourages them to stay on your site.
Plus, fantastic usability may encourage users to come back to your website in the future.
And not only are users staying on your site for longer, but they are far more likely to turn into paying customers or subscribers.
3. Better Customer Experience
Google is primarily concerned with keeping users happy by showing them the content they are most interested in.
Create a user-focused experience, and Google is likely to reward you with higher rankings in the search results.
Responsive web design is essential in creating a positive experience for users.
Happy users are more likely to turn into subscribers, leads, and paying customers.
Having a responsive website is one of many ways to ensure users have a positive experience on your site.
4. Improved Page Speed
Page speed is another factor that greatly impacts your SEO and, in turn, your rankings in Search.
How quickly your website loads can make or break a user’s experience with your site.
Then, it’s no surprise that your website should be optimized to load quickly and without hiccups.
Mobile responsive websites load faster on both mobile and desktop devices.
Optimize your page speed for more traffic and conversions on your website.
5. Lower Bounce Rate
Bounce rate refers to how quickly users visit and then immediately leave your website.
This metric can be an indication of whether your site satisfies the user’s search.
A high bounce rate may also hint that your website didn’t load quickly or didn’t provide the positive experience users were looking for.
The result may then be an increase in your bounce rate and even a drop in your rankings for that search query.
It doesn’t just come down to content, though.
Your content may be fantastic, but if your web design makes it difficult for users to navigate the site, users will drop off and look for information elsewhere.
6. Avoid Duplicate Content
When you prioritize the responsiveness of your website, you necessarily start to pay attention to your site’s content and UX overall.
And while responsive web design is not necessarily the mechanism by which duplicate content is prevented, it can often help you catch this common pitfall.
When building or redesigning your site, it’s easy to accidentally create two versions of your website – one mobile and one desktop – which can lead to duplicate content issues.
Though the two URLs may be different, the content is often the same, and this can confuse Google as to what content to prioritize.
Responsive web design best practices emphasize creating a single, mobile-responsive version of your website.
This can help prevent URL duplication across two versions of your site.
At the same time, it’s important to keep your eye out for other duplicate content issues.
7. More Social Shares
When users like your content, they’re more likely to share it with their friends.
Having a responsive website makes it easy for users to engage with your site, thoroughly enjoy your content, and then share it on social media.
Many RWD designers build sites with social sharing capabilities in mind to make it easy for users to share your content far and wide.
Though social shares don’t directly impact rankings, they do help you grow your audience online.
More social traffic means more users visiting your site, which could mean even more customers or subscribers for your business.
Additionally, a great social media presence can drum up more visibility for your website.
With easy-to-use social share buttons, your mobile-ready site will encourage users to share your content, reaching a much wider audience.
Offer Users A Fast, Friendly Mobile Experience
Establishing a mobile-friendly strategy as the base of your website design (or redesign) will set your site up for success.
A responsive design puts users first, makes it easy for them to engage with your site, and gives the “thumbs up” to Google that your site is built for search on any device.
Planning your web design from the get-go will also help you establish a fully optimized structure that’s easily accessible on any device.
Having a solid framework from the beginning will help set your website up for SEO success.