Responsive web design is nothing new, but it is a new concept to many businesses that are now considering making the switch to a responsive web design. If you’re considering this type of design yourself, you may have many questions about what it is and how it works in terms of SEO. This brief guide will answer those questions for you.
A responsive website will adapt itself to the device that is used to access the site. Mostly, this refers to the site’s ability to adapt to the device screen in both size and orientation. Rather than having different sites for different devices, a responsive website can handle all devices no matter what the screen size. With a responsive design, your customers will have an optimized viewing experience on your site whether on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Most businesses barely have enough time to keep up with maintaining one website, let alone multiple sites for different devices. Building a separate site can cost a lot of both money and time; these are valuable assets that shouldn’t be wasted. Finally, mobile sites often do not offer the same content as a site designed for the desktop, and this can be frustrating for users who expect the same information no matter what device they’re on.
When it comes to SEO, you’re not going to be concerned with all search engines; you’re going to be concerned with the search engine: Google. The search engine giant called Google has already expressed that a responsive web design is their recommended configuration. You can bet that their algorithms are adjusted so that responsive websites rank higher. Why would they rank these sites higher? Google ranks sites according to what best serves the user. Responsive web design is certainly better for users, as it’s very user-friendly when accessed from mobile devices. Responsive designs have larger buttons, swiping capabilities and pinch/zoom capabilities that make mobile browsing much easier than trying to navigate a desktop site on a mobile device.
An important concern that many businesses have is that responsive designs are slower than designated mobile sites. Speed is a factor when ranking sites, so this is an important issue. As long as the responsive design is optimized for speed, you’ll have no issues with slow loading times. Your designer can do this by configuring the site to load content on demand rather than loading entire pages at once.
As you can see, the benefits of responsive web design in terms of SEO and usability far outweigh any disadvantages you may encounter. As more users take to using their tablets and smartphones for browsing instead of sitting down with the laptop or desktop, you’ll want to make sure your site is accessible for those users. A responsive design will allow you to do just that.
Simon Brisk is the head of manual outreach at Click Intelligence a search marketing agency based in London. Simon writes about search engine marketing tips for new web sites, step by step guides on SEO and his experience in the field of online marketing.