Responsive website design has become a must in recent years due to the proliferation of mobile devices. First it was tablets. Then it was smartphones. Heck, now we have smart watches that can surf the internet. Responsive websites can be displayed on all devices, but why does this have an impact on search engine rankings? I’ll help you understand the relationship in this article.

What Makes a Website Responsive?

When the term “responsive” first came out, I had customers tell me that of course they want their websites to be responsive. They weren’t talking about responsive design. What they wanted was for people to RESPOND to their content by emailing or calling. In other words, they wanted a tangible marketing response from their website. Of course. That’s the goal, but it’s not what we’re talking about in this case.

Responsive website design is a way of setting up the layout and content of a website to display across all internet-enabled devices that have screens and browsers. We’re talking about desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, smart watches, and any other device people come up with to surf the internet. Close to 60% of all online queries are made from smartphones or tablets. Only a few years ago, responsive web design was a nice thing to do. Now it’s a necessity.

How is SEO Impacted by a Responsive Website?

Better UX = More Time on Page = Google’s Approval

When your site provides a better user experience (UX) people spend more time on your site. Google tracks this and uses it as an indicator of relevancy. Remember how many people are visiting sites on mobile? If your site is responsive and optimized for mobile, people will spend more time on it when visiting on their mobile devices. Making your site more user friendly for all visitors regardless of how they’re visiting your site will enhance your SEO. Non-responsive websites will not get this boost compared to their responsive competitors.

A Responsive Site Can Reduce Bounce Rate

When a visitor comes to your site and leaves viewing only one page, Google calls it a “bounce”. Sites with high bounce rates may not be considered as relevant. If visitors take a minute to read all the content on the page they access but don’t engage with your website any further it is still considered a bounce.

If a mobile visitor comes to your non-responsive site there’s a chance they will leave right away. In this way, having a non-responsive website can create to a higher bounce rate and will be seen as either less relevant or having a poor user experience in Google’s eyes. Either way, the higher bounce rate will not contribute positively to Google’s impression of your website and could lead to lower rankings compared to other sites with lower bounce rates.

In short, responsive website design is a must if you’re serious about SEO. The good news is that virtually all professional website designers will create a responsive site by default. If you have an older site and need to switch it over to a responsive version, please feel free to contact about responsive website design.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s SEO tip. Please leave us a comment below to let us know your thoughts. Thanks for reading!