The role of Responsive Web Design (RWD) for search engine rankings is a hot topic of discussion. Bloggers and online marketers strive hard to increase their traffic and provide a user-friendly experience to their readers.
Now, it cannot be declared clearly whether RWD is a ranking factor or not but, it is evident that it helps in securing better search engine rankings. Let us analyze the factors responsible for better rankings for a responsive website.
Google Prefers Responsive Design
Google never spilled the beans regarding their ranking mechanism, but it is evident from the official statements that responsive design is an advantage for website owners. If you visit the responsive design website page of Google, it is mentioned that Google prefers responsive designs because of improved user experience, reduced bad redirects, and quality linking.
However, Google doesn’t mention whether it is a ranking factor or just a catalyst for improved rankings. In both the cases, you should aim for a responsive design because Google wants to provide good user experience by all means.
Decreased Bounce Rate
When your website is available in responsive design, it can adjust according to the device screen size. It can be any device like desktop, tablet or a mobile phone. If you don’t have a responsive design website, it will be difficult for the user to navigate your website.
The user may leave the website due to inappropriate experience. It will increase your bounce rate and, in turn, the authority of your website. It will negatively affect your ranking on search engines.
When you have an RWD, it will be easy for the user to access the information. Therefore, it will decrease bounce rate and increase chances of social shares or conversions. Decreased bounce rate and increased social shares will improve search engine rankings.
Better User experience
A user visits a website for the information. A user expects to get an answer to a query in minimum time. A responsive website enables to showcase information in a structured format as per the screen size. It will improve the user experience significantly.
According to Global Web Index, 80% internet users across the globe own a smartphone. It clearly indicates the potential of mobile search in the near future. This trend is likely to increase with people opting for other convenient devices like smart TV, smartwatches, and so on.
Therefore, you can provide a better user experience if your website shows all the information in a well-placed manner with easy navigation and display.
20% Mobile Search
It could be an obvious reason for optimizing your website for mobiles, and this involves an attractive, responsive design. When you have a responsive website, it escalates the search engine optimization (SEO) of the website. This way, your website will rank better on search engines, and you can experience more users from mobile search.
According to the Think with Google, there is a 61% probability that a user will prefer another website if your website is not a responsive one. Moreover, if you have a responsive and well-optimized website, there is a 67% chance of conversion. Therefore, a responsive website will rank better and will increase your ROI as well.
One more interesting fact is that 95% mobile search engine market is captured by Google. So, ranking on Google will definite increase your traffic and a responsive website is a must for every owner.
Separate Mobile Website
If you don’t have a responsive website and instead you create a separate mobile website, this will lead to duplication of content. When there is a duplication of content, your ranking gets affected.
Moreover, you have to create separate coding formats for different websites. It will increase your investment in terms of money and time.
For building authority, you have to work on link building strategies for different websites. It will, again, be a tedious job that will result in wastage of resources.
Therefore, these negative factors should propagate your agenda of having a responsive website.
Research and Studies
There are various research and studies conducted to prove the above-listed facts regarding RWD.
When MOZ conducted a survey of 2015 Search Engine Ranking factors, 150 marketing professionals considered a Responsive/Mobile-optimized design as the second most important ranking factor. This assumption could be based on their own experiences, although this is just an opinion of marketers. It doesn’t confirm the inclusion of responsive design website as a search engine ranking factor.
A case study conducted by Volume Nine SEO on a client who had a single-page mobile website throws light on the subject. When the website was transitioned into a fully responsive website, its search engine rankings improved. So, as per the case study, responsive design website ranks better on search engines.
Some Contradictory Statements
John Mueller, from Google, said in 2013 that fully responsive website might provide a hassle-free user experience but that doesn’t mean that they use it as a ranking factor. Similarly, Gary Illyes from Google said that responsive websites are easier to contemplate than mobile websites. It is because the chances of errors related to the setup are decreased. But this doesn’t mean that it is a ranking factor.
Moreover, responsive layouts may suffer from higher loading time. It is because media files need to be optimized for smartphone display and this may cause delay. Delay or lags can increase bounce rate, and this will affect rankings.
Getting the Responsive Design You Need
If you are running a business, just having a website won’t do today. Instead, you need one that everyone could look at – and going responsive is what you need.
Responsive website design can definitely aid in higher rankings as it provides better user experience and optimized configuration. Website owners should consider a responsive website for higher rankings on the search engines.
A responsive website design is a way to go forward for your business. Reach out to more customers than your competitors, build a competitive edge, develop brand loyalty and improve your sales – it’s all possible with a good responsive design.
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