What’s the Big Deal with Responsive Design?

website design

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Beat the Rest of the Pack with Responsive Website Design

Mobile Searches Take the Lead
More than half of Google’s searches worldwide currently happen on mobile devices, meaning a big change to the way we see website design. In April last year, the company announced that search activity on mobile devices had actually surpassed that of desktop for the first time. This doesn’t mean desktop use has diminished in any way, but mobile use has come onto the scene in a big way and maintains a steady lead, growing eight times faster than desktop internet usage.

What does this mean for SEO practitioners? Well, it means that, if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to optimize your users’ mobile experience through better web design. However, this is not as simple as it might seem at first, so we’ll outline some of the most important things to consider here.

Understanding Mobilegeddon
Last year Google made a move that changed the game completely. Soon after announcing that mobile use had exceeded desktop use, it did something to ensure mobile users’ experiences would keep on getting better – Google updated their algorithms. The change favors those sites that provide a flawless experience for mobile users. That means no over-sized text or unreadable content, tap targets are not too close together, and there are no pixilation issues.

The updated algorithms boosts the search engine results of pages with website design that works on mobile devices and sets back those who have not kept up – hence the foreboding name Mobilegeddon. A site is either mobile-friendly or not. There is no in between. Ranking is based on hundreds of factors, just like desktop search results.

Website design that doesn’t focus on multi-platform usability has poor organic raking and loses mobile traffic. Google doesn’t like high bounce-rates, so if a user arrives on a mobile site and finds it difficult to navigate, you’re out of luck – they probably won’t find your site again!

Responsive web design (RWD) is seen as the best design approach for SEO right now, particularly considering the important role of mobile devices. RWD is focused on multi-platform usability, so a website is automatically formatted depending on what device it is viewed on.

The 5 Benefits of Responsive Web Design

  • RWD adjusts a page automatically, so all content is retained on the same URL and this helps Google. Googlebot doesn’t need to trawl the net to index separate versions of the same site.
  • The search engine analyzes content on a multi-platform website more easily, so it’s more likely that the site will be ranked higher. Be aware that the authority built up from original website pages doesn’t carry over to the mobile version.
  • Remember, a high bounce rate does not work for SEO. Websites that translate well on mobile devices means users don’t get frustrated and leave the site, thus decreasing your bounce-rate and improving search engine ranking.
  • Social media activities are most popularly done on mobile devices rather than desktop. Mobile-friendly sites make it easier it is to share content across networks, which is good for SEO, because it signals that the site’s content is relevant and informative.
  • RWD is a better experience for the user. Research shows that users are about 75% more likely to return to a company’s site if it is mobile friendly, which helps ensure brand visibility, drive web traffic and increase customer engagement and loyalty.
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