It’s been almost two years since Google started rolling out mobile-first indexing. This was two years after it had been confirmed that mobile web browsing overtook desktop for the first time. As Google is user-centric, their announcement didn’t come too much as a surprise. With more users searching via a mobile device, it was only a matter of time before Google adapted its algorithm to match. However, there are still websites which aren’t responsive to different devices and therefore won’t be ranking near the first page. Not only will they not be ranking well but their design won’t be user-friendly. If users can’t see all the content on a page, they’re not going to stick around. This means the website’s bounce rate will increase – which will also negatively affect your SEO.
We have taken a look at the SEO benefits your website can achieve by having a responsive design.
Site usability and UX
If a user struggles to see all the content on a page or can’t easily navigate your site, they will quickly leave. A responsive web design solves both of these problems and will increase the time users will spend on your site. A factor which will positively affect your SEO score. Google rewards sites that are built with the user in mind by increasing their rankings in search.
We have previously written about how UX is important for search, but it can also help increase the number of conversions on your site as well. If a user is able to easily find what they are looking for on your site, then it also makes it easier for them to convert into a customer. A study from Forrester Research found that a website with a good UX design can see conversions rates up to 400%.
Page speed is a known ranking factor in the SEO world and it was rumoured that Google may even start shaming websites which load slowly. It is also well known that the slower your page loads, the more likely a user will bounce. Having a responsive web design can massively affect the page speed of your site. It allows the site to condense the pages, making them smaller and faster to load. This will result in a more positive user experience on your site, keeping users on your site for longer.
It’s important to keep an eye on your website’s bounce rate. It is related to the time on site and measures how quickly users leave your site. There could be a number of reasons for users to leave your site quickly. Poor user experience and slow page speed are just two examples. Whatever the reason for a bounce from your site, Google will know that your website wasn’t relevant to their needs. The more people who bounce, the more likely Google will push you down the rankings for the search query. This is because you are not helping the users.
However, you could have the right content on your site, but the layout might be poorly designed. This would make it hard for users to find what they are looking for. Responsive web design can reduce your bounce rate by solving this problem with a clean design and fitting the content on the page.
If you have a website for mobile and another for desktop, you’re going to have duplicate content across the sites. Google will see them as two websites that have the same content on and will penalise both sites. Having a responsive web design eliminates the chance of duplicate content as there will only be one site for both. Two sites also reduces the effect that inbound links will have as other sites will link to one site or the other. Whereas one responsive website allows inbound links to go to one site which can positively affect your website’s SEO score.
As you can see, having a responsive web design can positively affect your SEO score and see your site climbing up the search rankings. It also saves you time as you will only have one website to manage and publish content to as well as an increase in conversions.
If you would like to discuss your current website and how a responsive web design can support you, get in touch with the bolt team today.