Since the number of people using tablets and smartphones in order to browse the web is on the rise, it’s essential that you have a website that works across multiple platforms. After it was launched more than 4 years ago in 2012, RWD or responsive web design is now regarded as the ideal way of creating websites mobile users will simply love browsing. And while 2013 is regarded as The Year of responsive web design, that’s hardly old news even today.
In other words, RWD means that based on the device or devices (such as PC, tablet, smartphone) the website is being accessed from, the website’s pages reformat themselves in order to ensure the user interface remains user friendly. But why has this generated so much interest and had such a great impact within the web design industry? Well, the answer is simple: RWD is quite different compared to existing mobile solutions of creating a separate or dynamically served mobile websites.
Also, when it comes to search engine optimization, it’s very well known that responsive layouts have much better chances of succeeding in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
The reason for that is simple:
Google Loves Responsive
Since Google is the most popular search engine in the world, it’s wise to learn more about what it loves in order to eventually impress it with your website. As emphasized by Google, not only do they recommend people to use responsive web design as the ideal way of targeting mobile users, but the search engine giant also seems to favor mobile optimized websites when presenting results for search queries performed from a mobile device. This is especially the case when mobile users explore local services.
There are still a lot of people out there who are wondering if it’s actually a good idea to have a separate mobile website as well, yet from a search engine optimization perspective, a single RWD website is the better choice. Separate mobile websites have different HTML if we are to compare them to their desktop version (including their own URL), yet RWD websites use just 1 URL and 1 set of pages and files. Because of that, it’s easier for Google to index their content.
1 URL, 1 Website
There are quite a few benefits to creating a separate mobile website though and there are even cases when having a standalone mobile version can be very useful. For instance, if you have a website that you post on very often (such as a news website), having a responsive version of it may eventually become a scrolling version, which means that users need to seriously work their index finger to navigate it. However, this is exactly where a mobile website with carefully refined content for mobile browsing can be very useful.
Looking at it from an SEO perspective, the main challenge of having a separate mobile website is that you have to work very hard in order to build its authority and the majority of such websites rank poorly in search engines when compared to their desktop version.
But if you choose to go the RWD route, then you can keep your backlinks, yet also focus on SEO on a single website. As a result, your links are going to be directed to a single domain instead of to one desktop and one mobile website, allowing your responsive website to be ranked higher in the search engine results pages.
Better yet, when you have a responsive website, it’s easy to build social shares for a single URL, so when the website is shared (either on a desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone) the content will be easy to navigate and clear.
Combat High Bounce Rate By Going The Responsive Web Design Route
You may have a website that does well in the search engine results pages, but if it fails to run smoothly for mobile and tablet users, then you’re going to have a great bounce rate to worry about. A mobile website can be greatly affected by a high bounce rate if its content is too different from the one offered by the desktop variant or if the content is too stripped down. The way Google sees this is that the high bounce rate means the website offers extraneous content to visitors and as a result, it’ll drop its rankings.
Luckily, a website that was responsively designed can combat this issue by displaying the exact content seen on the desktop website, yet in a very functional way. Responsive web design means that you don’t have to worry about compromising on the content you wish to display, so users can always access the information they need and spend more time on your website.
Superior User Experience
A website is basically a tool that allows you to share content. If the website is user friendly, then visitors can find the information they need, absorb it and then pass it on to others a lot easier. But most importantly, responsive web design focuses on designing for the user. Since user experience is an essential ranking factor, there’s no surprise why Google recommends developers to embrace responsive web design.
If people browse a website using their tablet or mobile phone, the content should be as easily accessible as when they access it using a personal computer. Let’s say that you’re browsing the web and land on a website where you find some interesting information and want to share it with a friend of yours who’s going to access it using his mobile phone. If the website is responsive and was also designed well, the content is going to be displayed just as well on his device as on yours.
RWD is a great step forward for website owners, since it helps them engage modern users who generally use a mobile device to browse the internet, yet want their mobile browsing experience to be exactly the same as their desktop experience. Therefore, it makes great sense to ensure your website is responsive since this way you can offer your visitors a smooth and overall great user experience.