SEO and the increase of web searches on mobile devices and tablets have been quite a hot topic the last couple of months and we thought we should shed some light on this, but first things first, what is Mobile Responsiveness?
Mobile responsiveness is the ability for the website to adapt to its environment, this basically means the layout and the content adapts and changes based on the size of the screen it’s displayed on, pretty cool huh? Well, Google thinks so too and that’s why responsive design is their preferred mobile configuration which also leads to many speculations that responsive websites might get ranking boosts.
Google is the supreme being of the internet and what google says or does goes! This means if you want to get the best possible ranking for your site, it will probably be a good idea to follow the guidelines.
In (August 18, 2015), Google’s John Mueller used a Google+ post to reinforce that, when pushed, Google recommends responsive:
A good way to make it [a site] work in both worlds [mobile & desktop] would be to have a site that uses responsive web design techniques to adjust to the size of the user’s device/settings.
In short, you should care as you want your visitors to have the best possible experience which means your website should adapt to their environment without them having to adapt. But does this mean Mobile Responsiveness is an SEO factor? Let’s dig a little deeper
When a user visits a site and leaves shortly after Google get the indication that the content on the site is not relevant and their goal is to ultimately get visitors to reach the answer they are looking for at first glance. The bounce rate is one factor in Google’s algorithm that calculates how you rank against other competitors for the same keyword. Although there might be numerous criteria which ultimately decides your rank, everything works together as a whole to place you amongst your competitors. If your website does not adapt well to different devices will most likely have problems with viewing it on small screens, images will take long to load as they might not be optimized (which also lead to high data costs). Simply put, visitors will most likely leave the site to find one which is easier to navigate and works well on a mobile phone.
This is where responsiveness plays a tremendous role, not only does it ensure visitors stay on your site, it also ensures a lower bounce rate which will have a positive impact on your SEO and how well your website ranks.
Building a separate mobile site might not be the best idea if you want to improve your SEO as you will have two sites with identical content and this will definitely set of some SEO alarms as Google is trying to avoid this as much as possible, even if it means dropping their SEO ranking or kicking them out of the results completely and that’s not something we want, now do we? You will also need to build up your ranking for your mobile site as well which can prove to be quite difficult and mobile sites generally don’t rank well in search engines. Having a responsive site, on the other hand, will help with a headache, you will only have one site’s SEO to focus on, you don’t have to link to mobile and/or desktop versions of your website which means you will only link to a single domain. Besides the costs involved in getting both sites ranked, the cost of developing 2 websites instead of one doesn’t make much sense at all, unless you have an existing website that you do not want to change
Responsiveness ensures you deliver the best user experience, in the modern society you want present content to your users as effectively as possible, that’s the main reason for the web after all and with 20% of the searches on the web being on mobile devices it might be a good idea to optimize your site as roughly 61% of the users will leave your site if it’s not optimized on their device. On top of that 67% of users will end up using the service if they have a positive experience, so if you have hopes of growing your site in the future these guidelines should be seriously considered.
Google owns about 95% of the mobile search market and with that being said if you want to stay ahead of your competition you definitely want to take responsive design into account as this does not only improves your user’ plays a crucial role when it comes to the SEO strategy for your website.