Responsive web designing is the hottest topic these days. It’s not just affecting the web designers, who have to think responsively while designing different websites, but also the SEO experts who need clear understanding of the concept to make responsive websites shining in search engines.
What does the word responsive mean? The first most important question that strikes the mind of designers at any website design company, and that needs a clear answer. Responsive means active in responding. A website that responds efficiently regardless of the device being used by the user is termed as responsive website and the design is responsive web design. Thanks the evolution of Smart phones that have made people accessing internet far conveniently. These smart mobile devices have forced the designers, developers, and SEO pros to think seriously about responsive web designing.
How is responsive web designing the future of digital marketing? This piece of writing will dig the topic deeply.
The Need Of Effective SEO
Here are the ways responsive web designing help the search engine optimization efforts.
To enhance website usability
Google recommends that websites should be responsive to help the end users who want things that way. Websites having different versions for different devices add nothing but confusion for the site visitors. A visitor may have seen something else at the desktop version of a website, but finds that missing at the mobile website version, a frustrating situation. A responsive web design provides the visitors with all the important information that they want on any device they are using.
To avoid the content duplication issue
If the same website has different versions for different devices, there are more chances of content duplication. The same content is used for different versions and Google may consider that negatively. Responsive web design means the website content is available at a single place; just the presentation way is changed for different devices.
Mobile search optimization
As Google recommends responsive web designing, it means such websites will get higher ranks for mobile-based searches as well. There is no need to optimize websites separately for mobile devices, as responsive web design is for all devices and for all users.
It helps link building
The links for a main website are the same as those for the mobile site because the same site is catering to the needs of mobile and desktop users. A separate mobile version can’t get higher count of quality backlinks, because mobile websites are new at the scene. Such kind of link building gives an edge to your business due to strong backlink profile whether you are dealing with just the mobile users.
It stimulates favourable results
Making a website responsive not just helps the business in winning over mobile-based audience, but also increases the main website traffic. The results achieved from a responsive website aren’t just limited to more site traffic, but high conversion chances and the business growth.
Is It All OK To Get Started With Responsive Web Designing?
After reading the advantages of making websites responsive in the lines above, you might think that responsive web designing is the only option left for the SEO experts to consider. It’s not like that. Just like any other innovation introduced in the world of online marketing, responsive web designing also has its cons to be aware of. Here are mentioned a few of them.
It takes time
Creating a responsive website requires the attention of web designers and developers, so it takes more time to finish the project. The web building teams have to understand this new approach before they start working on the project.
More pages for slim devices
A responsive web design means the whole content to be displayed onto the smart devices. It means a website with more web pages has to load all the pages for mobile devices. It may frustrate the mobile visitor who has to wait for longer to get the complete pages displayed or has to dig deeper for the desired information. Many news websites like NYTimes and CNN have different versions for mobile users and for desktop users. The mobile versions have limited content available to keep the website slimmer for the slim phones.
Different user experience
A responsive web design means presenting the same information to the users on whatever device they are using. The Smartphone users aren’t provided with enhanced user experience because they have to explore more on tiny screens using their fingertips, not like the desktop users who are supported by keyboard and mouse.
Is It A Better Choice?
You own a simple website and don’t know whether it’s better to switch to a mobile version of the site or get the site redesigned to become responsive. It’s a tough decision that needs support from Google Analytics. Here you go!
Do you really need that?
Get the mobile overview report from the Analytics. If there is less traffic from mobile devices, then you don’t need the mobile version of your website. On the other hand, if there are more mobile visits, then go to Goal Set to track the conversion rate. If the mobile-based conversions are less than half of the desktop conversions, you need to optimize the website for mobile users.
What about mobile site visibility on users’ screens?
Know about the Screen resolution by digging the Standard Reports option of the Analytics. Try the report with different screen resolutions. You may get the picture that your site is having a simplified version for many slim devices that you might not like. Your website may look good at half of the users’ screens, but also consider it looks bad on the remaining half. You need to make that responsive.
What is the bounce rate?
Check for that by going to Standard Reports option once again, then to Mobile, and then to Overview. What’s making the site visitors leave your website more quickly? The bounce rate for mobile visitors should be the same as that of the desktop visitors.
You can conduct complete mobile website audit to know more about the working of your website on Smartphones and whether you need a responsive website or not.
Points To Ponder Over
If you have decided that responsive web designing is the only option left for you, then you need to be aware of the little mistakes or the points to consider while designing responsively. Here is the list with little detail for your help.
Compressed images for quick loading
If you use big sized images for the responsive website, it will take more time to load onto the screens of the users. Use compressed images sparingly. You can use certain tool for compressing the images like Smush.it.
Consider all screen sizes
Many web designers, new to the responsive web designing concept, design just for one or few screen sizes, which is a bad practice at all. There is variety of Smartphones, tablets available in market, which users use to access websites, so all screen sizes should be considered while making a website responsive.
Display complete content
Although, it seems overwhelming to display the whole content on a responsive website, but that’s the beauty of this approach. Instead of placing more Ads, the actual content should be displayed on a responsive website because users want the maximum of information even on smart devices.
Your website users might be using the touch devices, so make your website touch-friendly. It should have nothing to do with the screen sizes of the devices being used.
Cross browser compatibility
Don’t limit your website testing to IE or Firefox; there are more browsers being used over different devices. IE9, IE10, Chrome, Safari, Android, Dolphin, and Opera are other additions to the browsers’ list.
Switching to a responsive web design is although a good approach, but it involves a lot of complication. It can give a business an edge over the competition in future when there is more search being made through Smartphones. The SEO perspective of responsive web designing is what web marketers have to ponder over because without this approach, even Google doesn’t consider a website user-friendly.
What’s your opinion on responsive web designing affecting SEO? Your comments are needed.
Emma Jones has written this post for average readers, web designers, developers, and SEO experts. She has been working with a well-known graphic design agency in Dundee city, with prior experience of designing and developing. Emma has her own circle of friends, all designers, developers, and SEOs, so she loves to listen and share whatever is new in the industry. You can follow on twitter @vaniatech