“Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.”
Your website’s responsiveness 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 isn’t a confirmed ranking factor, Google has hinted at its importance many times.
But how to create a responsive website – structurally and visually – is a practice that many marketers and designers hint at.
The good news is that there are detailed steps to improve your website’s responsiveness.
Let’s start now.
Here are seven ways a responsive website benefits your SEO strategy, along with some tips for making your site more user-friendly.
What is “Responsive Web Design”?
Responsive web design (RWD) is about creating web pages that display well on a variety of devices and screen sizes.
This way, web designers are able to create a website experience that adapts to the many different ways users access and interact with websites.
Mobile traffic accounts for nearly half of all web traffic worldwide.
This means that it is essential for website owners to have websites that are accessible and easy to navigate, even on a small screen (like a tablet or smartphone).
Why do you need a responsive website
Many website owners have been slow to embrace responsive web design, despite the multitude of published statistics that show responsiveness produces a better user experience.
Considering that 61% of users will never return to a website that is not mobile-friendly, adopting a responsive environment seems like a no-brainer.
This fact alone should be a good reason for website owners to prioritize user web experience and opt for a more responsive design.
1. Google prioritizes mobile first
It’s no secret that Google has been moving towards a “mobile-first” approach in recent years.
With more users searching from mobile devices than ever before, it has become increasingly important that websites display easily on any device.
Google aims to provide valuable and accessible content to users.
The algorithm is most likely to rank a site that fits the bill – by being responsive and user-friendly.
Google favors mobile-optimized websites and has embraced mobile-friendly web design.
2. Improved usability
Time spent on page can be an important indication of whether your content is what the user is looking for and whether they had a positive experience on your site.
The reasoning is that if a user isn’t happy with your content (or, in this case, your website experience), they’re unlikely to stick around.
Responsive web design makes websites more accessible, faster, and easier to navigate.
This makes it easier for users to find the information they are looking for and generally encourages them to stay on your site.
Plus, fantastic usability can encourage users to come back to your website in the future.
And not only do users stay on your site longer, they’re much more likely to become paying customers or subscribers.
3. Better customer experience
Google is primarily concerned with satisfying users by showing them the content that interests them the most.
Create a user-centric experience and Google will likely reward you with higher search results rankings.
Responsive web design is key to creating a positive experience for users.
Satisfied users are more likely to become subscribers, leads, and paying customers.
Having a responsive website is one of the many ways to ensure users have a positive experience on your site.
4. Improved page speed
Page speed is another factor that has a huge impact on your SEO and, therefore, your search ranking.
How fast your website loads can make or break a user’s experience with your site.
Then it’s no surprise that your website is optimized to load quickly and smoothly.
Mobile responsive websites load faster on 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 immediately visit and leave your website.
This stat can tell if your site satisfies the user’s search.
A high bounce rate could also indicate that your website didn’t load quickly or didn’t provide the positive experience that users were looking for.
The result can then be an increase in your bounce rate and even a drop in your ranking for that search query.
It’s not just about the content, though.
Your content may be fantastic, but if your web design makes it difficult for users to navigate the site, users will give up and seek information elsewhere.
6. Avoid duplicate content
When you prioritize the responsiveness of your website, you necessarily start paying attention to the content and UX of your site as a whole.
And while responsive web design isn’t necessarily the mechanism by which duplicate content is prevented, it can often help you avoid 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.
Although the two URLs may be different, the content is often the same, which can confuse Google as to which content to prioritize.
Responsive website design best practices emphasize creating a unique, mobile-friendly version of your website.
This can help prevent duplicate URLs between two versions of your site.
At the same time, it’s important to keep an eye out for other duplicate content issues.
7. More social shares
When users like your content, they are more likely to share it with their friends.
Having a responsive website makes it easy for users to interact with your site, fully enjoy your content, and then share it on social media.
Many RWD designers create sites with social sharing capabilities in mind to allow users to easily share your content at scale.
Although 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 increase your website’s visibility.
With easy-to-use social sharing buttons, your mobile-ready site will encourage users to share your content, reaching a much larger audience.
Give users a fast and user-friendly mobile experience
Establishing a mobile-friendly strategy as the basis of your website design (or redesign) will ensure your site succeeds.
A responsive design puts users first, makes it easy for them to interact with your site, and tells Google that your site is designed for search on any device.
Planning your web design from the start will also help you establish a fully optimized structure that is easily accessible on any device.
Having a solid framework from the start will help prepare your website for SEO success.
Is your site mobile-ready? It’s time to step up a gear with a responsive and user-friendly design.
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