How Does Mobile Responsiveness Affect SEO?

Many people don’t realize that responsive design is an important ranking factor. In layman’s terms, a responsive design is when a website’s pages reformat themselves depending on the device the user is viewing it from. Responsive design is often considered the future of online marketing. Currently, there are more mobile searches on Google than Web, and it’s the sheer volume and growing number of mobile users that has prompted Google to emphasize mobile optimization.

Google is so successful because it is, above all else, highly user-focused. The company goes where the trends go, and are often several steps ahead of those trends. This forward-thinking is what spawned Google’s mobile ranking system, referred to as Mobilegeddon. Users could easily test the mobile friendliness of their website with the Mobile Friendly Test tool to discover whether their sites were device-friendly. Appticles conducted a pre-deployment study and found that roughly four out of ten websites were not mobile-friendly and would be negatively impacted by the new algorithm.

Eight months afterwards, 25% of those unfriendly mobile websites had added mobile-friendly components to their pages. Of those, 85% used a responsive design to go mobile. Ecommerce businesses were the quickest to make the transition. This is a clear indication of the importance of a mobile-friendly site; without it, your business could easily fall to the wayside in Google’s SERPS.

If your pages aren’t responsive, you likely need a website redesign. The issue that many businesses have is that they’re unsure how to reinvent their marketing strategy and take their website to mobile. Fortunately, there are a myriad of services that cater to those businesses. Agencies like C1 Partners offer digital marketing services geared towards responsiveness; publishers like Smashing Magazine or Hubspot offer comprehensive website optimization guides; and digital marketing conferences like MozCon or Unbounce Call To Action provide an environment to learn new tricks of the trade and hear from professionals in the industry.

Each of those resources help guide you towards a responsive design, the preferred method of optimization and userfriendliness. Google states plainly on its website: “Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.” More importantly, a responsive design comes equipped with a handful of SEO benefits and can put you higher on Google’s search engine results page.

One of the SEO benefits of a responsive design is that it allows you to house your pages under one URL and still appear the same across multiple devices. This is so important because most websites that have a separate mobile website aren’t ranked very well. With a single site, you can better manage your backlinks under one roof. When all links are sent to one domain, it will give the responsive site a much-needed boost in the SERPs. It also makes it much more simple to incorporate social share icons and decreases the potential for duplicate content online.

Responsive design can also decrease bounce rates. Because they are so user-friendly, it’s much easier to share and read content. Pages that take too long to load not only lead to higher bounce rates, but affects your ranking position. Google puts value on your website based on its loading speed and how long users stay on your site before heading elsewhere. If the page doesn’t display correctly or exhibits poor performance, visitors won’t hesitate to go to the next best thing.

There are several different ways to do responsive design, so it’s important to understand that you’re not losing out on any creativity. There are an infinite amount of ways to take advantage of mobile design and incorporate it into your marketing strategy. Most importantly, like Google, it’s crucial to provide your visitors with the best possible experience. This shows Google you care about your audience, as well as increasing profit potential.

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