Responsive Web Design (RWD) is becoming more and more common today. And there is a reason that it is no longer an OPTION when building a website. It is very important from both a user experience and an SEO perspective. It is important to remember, that the web pages that are viewed through Internet web browsers get instructions to display the text, images and links from HTML, which can be written “by hand” using text editors, or it can be “generated” by web languages like PHP and ASP, which are created by web developers.

It is often the case that websites viewed through different lenses appear differently. A website viewed through a laptop won’t look the same as it will on an iPhone. Mobile websites are often more simple designs, and require less load times (Google guidelines for mobile sites say a homepage should load in 1 second or less). This makes sense since bandwidth is often more precious on a mobile device than it is on a hard-wired network like a cable modem connection.

What responsive design does is amend the site to whatever device/screen it is being displayed on. Now the website will look (nearly) identical no matter which device displays it. All the content will be displayed on whatever screen it is queried to display upon, but it may appear in a different order, or up to down on a mobile browser, and side to side on a desktop browser. Responsive design uses the same HTML to display the content on any browser, but uses CSS instructions to display the content in such a way that is ideal for the browser/screen displaying it.

How does this all play into SEO?

Well, for one Google recommends in its guidelines for smartphones that RWD be used to serve content to smartphone browsers. And another thing to take note of is if you do NOT use Responsive Design, and have something like desktop HTML pages and mobile HTML pages, you might have duplicate content and Google may potentially penalize you for having the same content twice on your domain. So steps must be taken to tell the search engines not to index the duplicate pages.

Other factors which come into play are the bounce rate of Google users is higher when they are directed towards a site that they cannot properly browse or appears to “not fit” on their screen. According to this article, 61% of visitors will return to Google if this happens. A responsive design will assure a lower bounce rate since your users will be able to see the content for which they are searching. There is no doubt; if your site traffic is more than 25% Mobile and Tablet you should definitely convert your site using RWD.

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Categories : Responsive Design | SEO