Understanding How SEO Is Affected By Responsive Web Design

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How SEO Is Affected By Responsive Web Design

According to https://www.statista.com, “In 2018, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, up from 50.3 percent in the previous year.” The trend is even more pronounced in Asia and Africa. Just about a year ago, Google announced that their indexing would be more focused on the mobile experience and the SEO environment has already radically changed.

Since the importance of mobiles in connecting to the web is not anticipated to change anytime soon, it indicates to SEO practitioners that they should focus their attention on designing websites with the responsive design even though it is a lot of hard work involving considerable time and resources.

Responsive Web Design

Everybody knows that SEO practitioners have to be constantly on the ball because the search environment is extremely dynamic. Search engines are constantly making changes to the way they index, interpret, and deliver results in their quest to provide more relevant and accurate answers to user queries.

With mobile devices overtaking desktops in search volumes, it is evident that businesses need to have websites that are more mobile friendly not only for users but also for the search engines.

It is therefore extremely important that businesses focus their attention and energies to build websites that are optimized for mobiles. Since these mobile-optimized websites display properly on the smaller screens of varying sizes, it is more likely that users will find them more useful than sites that are not optimized.

Responsive design techniques ensure that regardless of the size of the screen of mobiles, the website will display properly.

How Is SEO Impacted By Responsive Web Design

Site Usability: It is evident that users are likely to spend more time on the website if they find it easy to navigate it and discover useful contents. Accordingly, Google interprets the sites on which users spend more time as being more useful or having better value than sites that the users spend less time on.

Websites that have implemented responsive web design enable users to find the information that they are looking for by incorporating easy navigation and properly sized content displays. The overall good experience by the user translates to repeat visits, a higher number of conversions, and good word of mouth reputation.

When users like the website, Google automatically picks up the signals like enhanced traffic, positive reviews, and branded searches and awards it better SERP rankings. A responsive web design that works is the starting point of every customer’s journey and its importance cannot be overemphasized, observes the director of a leading SEO company in York.

Page Load Time: Among the many factors, Google takes into account for raking websites; page-loading time is among the most important. Internet users are notoriously impatient and users of mobile devices even more so because typically they are firing searches while on the go and looking for immediate solutions to their requirements.

It is obvious the mobile user generation will favor sites that load really fast, according to research published in https://www.machmetrics.com, “53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.”

Responsive web design, in addition to properly displaying the web page on mobile screens, also incorporates design tweaks that make the web pages load faster and yield a more superior user experience. The faster page-loading time is interpreted by Google positively and the site is rewarded with a ranking boost.

Bounce Rate: when a visitor clicks on a site URL, enters it and exits very quickly, Google very correctly interprets the behavior as being non-productive for the user. The bounce rates, as it is referred to, is a measurement of how quickly visitors leave the site, and when Google observes that the bounce rate of any particular website is very high, it downgrades its rankings on the search engine results page.

High bounce rates can happen due to multiple reasons; the user may be repulsed by the website design, poor navigation, sub-optimal or even irrelevant content. Sometimes, even if you have great content, but the site has very poor navigation, users may be put off, and the site will experience high bounce rates.

When you implement responsive web design for your site, not only do you optimize it for mobile devices but also get the opportunity of redesigning the website ground-up for better usability on mobiles.

When the layout of the content is organized and the content itself is crisp and precise, users are bound to spend more time on the site and Google will automatically pick up the low bounce rates as being indicative of good and useful content so will boost the site in its rankings.

Duplicate content: Often some website managers choose to build a second website for mobile devices to spare themselves of the trouble of implementing a responsive web design. However, Google picks up the same content from both the sites even though the URLs are different and penalizes the new site for duplicate content unless Google is informed otherwise.

When you have a responsive web design, you operate with a single URL and there is no chance of Google spotting any duplicate content.

Social signals: Even though Google denies that it uses any inputs from any activity on the social media for ranking websites, there is no denying the fact a vibrant presence on social media is very useful in building up brand awareness and customer loyalty.

By implementing a responsive web design, you can make it very easy for social media users to access your website on their mobiles and share content on their social media accounts. When this happens on a large scale, it will help to generate organic traffic to your website, a factor that Google appreciates and uses in its ranking algorithm.


Now that it is evident that responsive web design is helpful and even critical in giving SEO the boost it deserves, it is important that its implementation is not hurried. Rather, you should take time to carefully plan out the exercise and come up with a simple but attractive design with intuitive, clear, and logical navigation. Great contents and fast page-load time will ensure less bounce rate and send out positive signals to Google.

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