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What Is Responsive Web Design and How Does It Affect Your SEO?

What Is Responsive Web Design and How Does It Affect Your SEO?

Web Design – As mobile devices generate 54.8% of all web traffic, it’s pretty safe to say that users prefer to browse the internet via their smartphones. Consequently, websites should adapt their designs to improve user experience, increase conversion rates and keep up with their competitors.

That’s not all, though. Google puts user experience at the top of its ranking factors, meaning that websites optimized for mobile devices stand better at occupying the top spots within the search engine results page (SERP).

In other words, going mobile-friendly is now mandatory. You’ve got three options to do this: you can opt for a responsive, adaptive, or mobile-first design.

We’ve talked with numerous experts from the top SEO companies, and they suggest choosing a responsive web design. It’s cost-effective, easy to implement, and offers a consistent user experience across all types of devices.

So what is responsive web design, and how does it affect your SEO?

Let’s take a look.

What Is Responsive Web Design?

In short, responsive web design is a web design approach that allows websites to automatically adjust their appearance to render well on various screen sizes.

To do this, responsive websites rely on the following features: fluid grids, fluid images, and media queries.

1. Fluid Grids

The fluid grid system ensures that design elements take up the same amount of space regardless of the screen size.

It does this by dividing the width of a web page into multiple, equally sized columns, which will either scale up or down depending on the screen size.

Consequently, fluid grids will allow a website’s appearance to remain consistent across all types of devices.

2. Fluid Images

Although fluid grids will automatically resize most design elements, images will fail to adjust their size, giving your website a disproportionate look. That’s where fluid images come in.

You can create fluid images by using the following CSS command: img: {max-width: 100%;} 

This enables an image to shrink if a column becomes narrower while never exceeding its maximum size if a column grows larger.

3. Media Queries

Media queries are a CSS3 feature used to detect the screen size of a visitor’s device and adjust your website accordingly.

With media queries, you can define certain conditions like minimum and maximum width and height, to point out how your website will render on different devices.

How Responsive Design Affects SEO

1. Decreased Loading Times

Loading times are a big thing in web design. First off, loading speed is a direct ranking factor, meaning that the faster your website is, the higher it will rank in the SERPs.

Secondly, 53% of mobile visitors will abandon a web page if it doesn’t load within three seconds. In other words, a slow website will experience a drop both in terms of rankings and traffic.

Responsive websites usually load faster than the rest, as they don’t have to redirect mobile users from the desktop version of the site to the mobile-friendly one.

Not only that, but the responsive approach will help you rethink your website’s content and layout to perform well both on desktops and mobiles. Thus, you’ll get to cut down on any unnecessary elements that may hinder your performance.

2. Lower Bounce Rates

As mentioned earlier, slow websites will lose many of their visitors. That leads to a higher bounce rate, which is also a direct ranking factor.

But, leaving performance aside, mobile users will still spend little time on a website if it’s poorly designed, regardless of how good your content may be.

In other words, you’ve got to make a good first impression and fast! It takes around 50 milliseconds for users to determine whether they should leave or remain on your website.

That said, implementing a responsive web design will let visitors know that your website is optimized for mobile devices the moment they set eyes on it, thus making them want to stay and explore.

3. Less Duplicate Content

Suppose your website already has a desktop version. Instead of redesigning your website, it might tempt you to leave it as is and work on a separate mobile version.

Sure, this might be a good choice if you’re looking to save a bit of time and money, but there’s a catch.

Building a separate version means that you’ll need a different URL. And given that both the desktop and mobile sites will share the same content, you might notice a drop in rankings. That’s because Google will register this as duplicate content.

Consequently, the content within the mobile website will likely be left unindexed.

With responsive web design, you’ll no longer have to worry about that. The same website can adjust its appearance for multiple viewports, so you won’t need to rely on multiple URLs.

4. Increased Social Sharing

Responsive websites are usually built with shareability in mind, making it easier for mobile users to share your content on social media platforms.

But what does this have to do with SEO?

The more shares your content has, the more traffic and engagement it will likely bring to your website, thus boosting your rankings.

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