You know responsive makes your site function better, but did you know it could improve your search ranking?
In 1994, Infomedia starting building web sites and times were simple. Everyone viewed a web site sitting at a desk because computers were big and Internet access was slow. The biggest challenge then was convincing a business that they even needed a website. Today, practically every business has a website, and people are consuming the web quickly and on-the-go. There are browsers in cars, refrigerators, and most importantly, phones and tablets.
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes (Hat Tip to David Bowie)
Upcoming 2014 will be the first year that more people will access the web from a mobile device than a desktop. Because of this, most companies are now rethinking the mobile strategy for their businesses. We’re big fans of responsive design, because it allows for one website that will automatically adjust to whatever screen it’s being viewed on — phone, tablet, whatever. We love responsive design from the visitor usability perspective (read more about that here), but there are many search engine optimization (SEO) benefits to responsive design as well.
SEO Benefits of Responsive Design:
There’s Only One Website
Building a separate mobile site actually means creating two websites, so you have to optimize both for search. This can get expensive, and it’s definitely time-consuming. That time can be better spent making one site better.
Faster Load Times
Since 2010, Google has included page load time as part of their algorithm, and faster loading pages are more likely to come to the top of a search. Responsive pages are served faster on mobile devices than mobile-designed sites, because visitors are not redirected based on their device. This quick loading will benefit your site’s SEO.
Improved Bounce Rate
We know that people expect a great experience on any device. If they don’t get it a great experience, they’ll leave (or bounce). Responsive design makes sure that the experience for each device is as good or better than the desktop experience. Since bounce rate does play a part in Google’s algorithm, lowering the bounce rate is important.
Eliminate Worries about Duplicate Content
Google doesn’t like it when you have the same content as another web site and will not give you SEO credit when you have this duplicate content. The same problem will occur when you create a mobile web site that includes all of the same content as your desktop site. The only solution to this is to write all new copy for your mobile website so it doesn’t duplicate — or, of course, to switch to responsive design so all the content lives on one site.
More Power in Your Link-Building Efforts
Links continue to play a part in ranking algorithms, so if you have a mobile site and a desktop site, the websites who link back to you will be split between the two websites. It’s better to give all your linking credit to one site so it builds credibility more quickly.
Google Wants Your Site to Be Responsive
Google has recently recommended that you build a responsive site, but in June of this year, they went a lot further, basically saying that you’d better provide a good mobile experience if you want good rankings. They then went on to list all of the ways a mobile site can hurt your ranking. Responsive design is the obvious answer to fix this issue.
We don’t totally know what is next for the types of mobile devices that will be released or what Google has in store for search, but we do know change is constant. Currently, we believe that responsive design is the best discipline for design and SEO for most of our clients. If you would like to discuss your site in context of responsive design or SEO, we’d love to talk with you. Please fill out the contact us form on this site or call us at 205-823-4440
Photo Credit: Ross Merritt Photography via Compfight cc