Search engine optimization is another great reason to consider responsive web design. Announced recently, Google recommends responsive web design as a recommended solution for mobile users. Google states that responsive makes it easier for your users to interact with, share and link to your content, and it helps Google’s algorithms index your content.
Google also says Responsive Websites are preferred as no redirection is needed for users to get to the device-optimized view, which reduces loading time. Responsive also saves resources for both your site and Google’s crawlers. For responsive web design pages, any Googlebot needs to crawl your pages once, as opposed to crawling multiple times with different user agents, to retrieve your content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of the site’s contents and keep it appropriately fresh.
Here is an overview of Responsive Design
If you’re new to the idea of a mobile-friendly website, you’ll soon discover that there are three approaches to mobile website design: 1. build a new/separate mobile site, 2. use a third-party plugin for WordPress or Drupal that aids in delivering mobile-friendly content, or 3. build a responsive website that adjusts for any screen size.
Responsive design is a way of equipping your website with style sheets and code that allows it to look one way on the big screen, and automatically reshape the to look another way on a small screen. The most sophisticated designs can adjust, including fonts, icons, photos, grids and menus.
Better Experience = Better Ranking
Responsive website design will provide all of your website visitors the best possible experience viewing your webpages. No longer will your business require independent mobile website design and from an SEO perspective, google loves this because there is no need for user agent-specific redirects to get customers to the right version of the website.
The goal of Google’s search algorithm is to return the most valuable results to the end user. Value to the end user implies webpages that contain useful, accurate and relevant information are easy to navigate, easy to read and have good page loading speed.
So, how does a positive browsing experience relate to a better organic ranking?
In the past year Google updated their search algorithm to factor in positive user experience as ranking criteria. Websites with analytics that suggest a positive browsing experience are rewarded with higher search engine rank positioning “SERP”. Positive browsing experience analytics include numerous social shares, above average visitor time on a website, a low bounce rate, and a high return visit per user on average.
Google wants their end users to be happy and a positive browsing experience implies a website functions properly no matter what medium or device is used to visit the website. Responsive website design implies a website will look and function perfectly no matter what combination of phone, tablet, computer, or web browser you use and Google will reward this with a higher ranking.
Don’t Forget Great Graphic Design
Making your website’s content fit on mobile will not win you a choice google rank on its own. You must still focus on the graphic design of your website, its usability and flow as well as content strategy for the various screen resolutions. Responsive web design is about having an enjoyable user experience and that involves great graphic design including typography, grids and visual hierarchy.
Article by Rob Barnett
President, Brand Strategist at Straydog
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