Would you like to zoom in and out to read those tiny little words? The users wouldn’t either!
Did you know that the majority of Google searches are conducted on mobile devices in comparison to desktops?
Considering the increasing number of mobile-phone users, Google has drastically changed the rules of mobile search and has taken mobile responsiveness to a whole new level.
The “Mobilegeddon” Update was one example of this. As a result, mobile configuration became a very important part of Mobile SEO and higher mobile search engine rankings.
You need to have a successful mobile presence to make your website stand out. And for that, you need to have a responsive web design.
But before we discuss how you can make your website design responsive, let’s walk through what is responsive design and why you need it.
What is Responsive design?
Responsive design, mostly referred as RWD (Responsive Web Design) is a design which makes the site layout adapt to the screen size it is being displayed on.
It follows an approach of using fluid, proportionately placed grids, adjustable images, dynamic CSS styles which offer different user experience across mobile, desktop, tablet, etc. while keeping the same URL and HTML structure.
A responsive design makes your content readable and navigable.
To put it simply, if your website has a responsive web design, it increases or reduces its size to match the screen of the device.
Why is Responsive Design Important?
Your SEO is not complete without a responsive web design.
- Google wants it
No reason can be more important than this! Google has pointed out several times that they prefer responsive web design for mobile configuration:
“Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.”
You should always listen to the almighty of the internet.
The reason that Google loves this design is because it makes their tasks easy too. They won’t have to crawl and index the mobile and desktop versions separately.
Also, the Mobilegeddon update confirmed that Google included mobile responsiveness in its ranking signals, rewarding websites that support multiple devices. So, making your website’s content easy to analyze by search engines, can boost your rankings.
- Enhanced User Experience
The same user might visit your site through different devices. So, regardless of the device, your content and UI should match users expectations. If a user switches from a desktop version of your website to a tablet version, he should be able to see the same information.
If he finds the information or experience inconsistent, he is likely to move away to your competitors. To win at SEO, you need to keep the users as a focal point.
- Easy to manage and maintain rankings
Maintaining a single website is in itself a difficult task. Managing several versions of your website and optimizing your SEO for all of them, would definitely be more challenging. In addition responsive design will reduce your link building efforts in half and help you maintain your rankings on mobile. Therefore, it is better to have one responsive design for your website rather than multiple versions.
Supposedly your website detects that the user is surfing using a mobile device. It will send that user to the “mobile-optimized” version. If you follow a “mobile-only” approach, you would have to keep both your websites updated, which is going to double your workload.
- Scalability for future
The best thing about Responsive web designs is that it supports any new device or screen that is likely to be launched in future. This means that whenever a new device is launched on the market, your website will adjust to those new screens with the best-suited design and experience.
But, why mobile?
You cannot deny the fact that mobile users have been increasing with time.
If you want to stay ahead of the competition and get an edge over others, it is necessary to optimize your website for mobile with responsive design. This will help both SEO and user experience.
Another important reason to consider this is the fact 61% of users will abandon your website if it does not fit their screen appropriately. On the contrary, users with a positive experience (on the mobile optimized website) have 67% chances of converting.
Google controls 95% of the mobile search market. So if Google holds a strong opinion on responsive design, then every webmaster should consider it in order to get better mobile search engine rankings.
Now, that we know how responsive design can affect your search rankings, let’s understand how you can make your website design responsive.
How do you make your web design Responsive?
- Use Bootstrap: This is the most effective and widely used CSS, HTML and JS framework for developing responsive mobile optimized websites. Its adjustable grids help create the design faster and better.
- Work on your page loading speed: You wouldn’t want the users to struggle with your website with a poor 3G network. Minify scripts and optimize your images to improve your page loading speed. You can use tools like compressor.io (for images) and Refresh-sf.com.
- Do not create a separate mobile website: The entire purpose of responsive web design would be contradicted if you create a separate mobile version of your website. First, the URL of the mobile website would be different so it might create confusion in the user’s mind. Secondly, it would require greater maintenance.
- Responsive themes: Most platforms offer responsive themes. If your website is built on WordPress, then you can use themes like Activello or Sparkling. For Drupal, you can go with Integrity or Sunrise theme.
- Responsive Plug-ins: Major Content Management Systems have responsive plugins that help make your website mobile friendly. Also, these plugins provide options to customize the mobile UI in order to render content in the best way possible. For a WordPress site, you can use plugins like WPtouch and JetPack. For Joomla, go with Responsivizer. For Drupal, MobileSwitch is recommended.
- Fluid Layout: Fluid layouts were being used even before the concept of responsive web design came into being. They can be created without any problem, only the static widths have to be replaced with percentage-based widths in CSS.
- Test your website when everything is done: Test your website across different screens (mobiles, tablets, desktops). This will help you spot errors which otherwise would have been difficult to find on emulators. Also, run your website through Mobile-Friendly Test.
Every website, irrespective of its business type or audience, will benefit from a responsive layout. Managing, updating and optimization just one site has always shown great results.
You need to take user experience very seriously if you want your website to stand out in the crowd. And the most effective way to achieve this is by being “responsive”.
What are your thoughts on the subject? I’d love to hear them!
Sahil likes making creative products that can help in automation of mundane tasks and he can spend endless nights implementing new technologies and ideas.
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- Improving Mobile Search Rankings Through Responsive Web Design - February 22, 2016