How does responsive web design affect SEO?


There is a lot of talk about SEO and the increase of searches through mobile devices and tablets. The responsive web design has been a response to user experience tests, automatically formatting a web portal depending on the device from which it is displayed. This approach to multi platform usability has seen this design as favorable for SEO.

The support of Google and the increase of web searches through other devices are part of the factors that motivate to take responsive design seriously .

Google loves responsive web design

Google has suggested using responsive web design to adapt websites to smartphones. This is a strong reason to carry out such optimization, because in addition to the advantages it offers, it is one more method to follow to improve the SEO of your website.

Google favors responsive web design because it facilitates the process of displaying the web on various devices: prior to this type of design, different versions of each web were necessary for the content to be translated well into mobile devices and tablets.

Now, however, it does not matter on which device a website is displayed: the design is automatically adjustedso that it is enough to make a version using a single URL.

This means less work for Googlebot because there are no requirements for crawling and indexing separate versions of the same site. Streamlining this task makes it easier for search engines to analyze the content of a website, which means more possibilities to position themselves better in search results: hence the improvement of SEO.

A website, a URL

The purpose of a website determines if a different version is required for mobile devices. However, creating two optimization strategies may require a lot of effort, a problem that can be solved thanks to responsive web design.

We must bear in mind, when talking about SEO and mobile websites, that Google recognizes for which device each website has been created (mobile devices, computers …) and divides the search results depending on the device where you are looking. This explains that a mobile website will not always be well placed and will rank better than a desktop SERP.

A problem of creating a mobile version from scratch is that it means starting a completely new SEO strategy, because a new version implies a new URL and new HTML code. The accumulated authority of the websites of origin will not be transferred to the mobile version, which is a great disadvantage in SEO. With the responsive web design this problem does not exist since there is only a single URL and all the authority towards the website is accumulated in that single URL. The sum of visits from each device reinforces a single web and this improves SEO and positions it better, indicating that this site is informative and important.

Responsive web design helps combat the high bounce rate

Search engines consider a high rebound rate negative. If a user leaves a website shortly after arriving, Google may take it as an indication that the content presented is not important. Google aims to make the user find the answer to your request in the first SERP, so a high index of rebound in a website reduces its ranking in the search engines.

How does this relate to responsive web design? A website that is not well adapted to all devices will have several errors. This will cause users to leave that website and continue searching for a page with better content. Responsive web design is, again, who can solve this problem. A responsive website will show the same content on all devices . If this content is worked and shows the information clearly (as it would in the case of being a main website) users will stay on that website.

Improves user experience

The purpose of the Internet is to share information in a simple way on a single platform. And making searches easy to find is the goal of both Google and users.

The responsive web design tries to ensure a good user experience . Adjusting the content to a specific screen in an orderly manner implies a satisfactory experience for the user.

Users tend to exchange information on the web, and this is taken into account, since it seeks to homogenize the user experience on several devices. With many people sharing content between different devices, a website should allow a user to have a similar experience with the same website both on the desktop and on the mobile.

Trend of mobile devices

The growing number of people searching on Google through mobile devices is a trend that those who work in SEO should consider when planning an optimization strategy if they expect to stay ahead of the competition.

The optimization of a website for mobile devices with a responsive web design approach is currently the best solution when it comes to combining SEO and user experience .

According to the data, there is a 61% chance that a mobile user leaves a website if it is not optimized for their device. And also, in case the user has a positive experience in an optimized mobile site, there is a 67% chance to start using your service.

Finally, keep in mind that Google owns 95% of the entire mobile search engine market. Bearing that in mind, and that Google appreciates and facilitates responsive web design, we must consider very seriously applying this design on web pages to be successful in future mobile search results.

Ensures usability on mobile devices

Responsive web design works in favor of SEO because there is only one URL, which makes it easier to maintain the authority of the page (since Google bots indexes only one version of the content of a page). However, despite Google’s claim that responsive web design is beneficial for mobile optimization, developers must be critical and ask themselves if necessary in all cases.

There are websites that by adopting a responsive web design approach could be difficult to navigate, so the experience would be negative. In cases where there is a lot of information it is difficult to translate into responsive web design, so creating a separate version where the design is adjusted and simplified for browsing on mobile devices results in an excellent user experience.

In the end, the important thing is that users feel comfortable and can easily use the website. In the matter of SEO, in the long term, users’ visits are more important than the responsive web design application, because if users visit a website a lot, Google will position it well.

The question is to analyze how a website is best positioned according to the type of service it offers: responsive web design or specific web for mobile devices with a grateful simplification by users.

Avoid duplicate content

To need two versions of a same web page can be complicated for the SEO since both pages present / display identical content. Google acts harshly on duplicate content because it is taken as a form of plagiarism: it reduces the classification of the web or it expels the content copied from searches completely.

Fortunately, there is a way to indicate that two websites belong to the same creator and thus avoid the penalty. There is a type of notification that is made in the back-end of a website with a label (rel = ‘canonical’) that indicates that the duplicate content forms a single group , showing for which device each version is.

All this in the case of having a web version for mobile devices (two URLs), in the case of a single website with responsive web design this problem does not exist.

It is important to bear in mind that the links are those that have authority, so reducing them as much as possible will make the authority concentrate more on a few links and therefore the web pages will be better placed. That’s why a responsive web design is preferable when possible: since everything is located in the same URL. Also, since mobile websites are relatively new, their authority is more complicated to achieve. Therefore, it is better to have responsive web design whenever possible, since the URL already has the authority granted to the desktop website.

If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you should think a lot about the experience of the mobile user and create web positioning strategies that contemplate that type of navigation. To this day you can not ignore the optimization of websites for mobile devices because it is an important and growing public.

Analyze your project, value advantages and disadvantages, complexity … and choose the best way to structure your website so that it can be accessed in the most agile way possible by any type of user.


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