3 Undeniable SEO Benefits of Responsive Web Design

Everyone is talking about search engine optimization (SEO) and a heck of a lot of people are talking about the benefits of responsive web design (RWD)—both for good reason. Know why?

Because RWD comes with loads of SEO perks. It’s true! First off…SEO benefits of responsive design

RWD explained: Put simply, when you create your website using responsive web design (RWD), your webpages automatically reformat to display on screens of all sizes, from small mobile phones to oversized desktop monitors. Responsive web design benefits your users because they experience essentially the same experience every time they visit your website—from ANY device. With a well-designed RWD website, your pages and posts will load fast and work fabulously on any sized screen.

Responsive website design first made the news in 2012, so if you haven’t invested in a new website in quite some time, it’s HIGHLY likely your SEO is falling by the wayside. Here are 3 reasons you should consider updating…ASAP.

1. Google Likes RWD

We all want to be BFFs with Google. After all, while there are plenty of other search engines in the sea, Google is unquestionably King of Search. The Google Gods have made their preference for RWD unquestionably clear, and their reasoning is sound.

While there’s no direct evidence that Google uses RWD as a ranking signal and assigns a higher rank as a result, Google engineers have noted (on several occasions) that web rank is affected by indirect factors that can be avoided with RWD in place. For example:

  • Redirect Errors: When you create a separate mobile-friendly website, both of your websites may be prone to faulty redirects, mainly because there’s a lot to keep track of between versions of your website, so some redirects might be overlooked between updates. If your redirect is broken and Google can’t find your mobile site? Too bad. Your site won’t appear in search results. Responsive design employs the same URL for all devices, eliminating this potential issue.
  • Duplicate Content: When you’re designing multiple sites for multiple device sizes, you’re essentially creating multiple copies of your original site. If each webpage doesn’t have proper canonical links, for example, or if you release a ton of duplicate content at the same time by updating all your sites at once, this could be misconstrued by Google as an attempt to skew search engine results and gain more traffic. Do not want.
  • Bounce Rate: While responsive design adapts to every device (whether desktop, laptop, phone or tablet), other types of design (including adaptive and separate mobile site design) don’t always fit any device properly. When elements don’t make sense, visitors get frustrated and they leave your website in a hurry. Bounce rate is an SEO ranking factor!

2. Better User Experience (UX)

As we’ve said, responsive design offers a better experience across all devices. Site visitors (read: your potential and current customers!) using any type of device—or even switching from one device to another—can easily navigate a responsive design on any screen. They can access the same content, plus your branding looks consistent as well. Who wants to lose a potential customer because they’re forced to view a stripped down version of your website with confusing navigation?

Better user experience means a lower bounce rate and, ultimately, more website visitors. Bonus points: those visitors are more likely to share and recommend a user-friendly site.

3. Oh-So-Easy Single URL

When your website is crafted with one URL that displays nicely on any device, you’re also increasing your social media share count. No matter what device your readers use to favorite, tweet, or share your content for their friends to view, your share value goes up on just one URL. Number of social shares is another clear ranking signal.

Any web team must consider SEO when planning a website design or redesign, and responsive website design (RWD) delivers some powerhouse SEO benefits. If you agree that your customers deserve the best possible experience when they visit your website, responsive web design is the best choice for a great website that displays optimally on any device.

Mobile-friendly responsive design is the KEY to great SEO. Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

 

Hybrid Responsive Website Design: Right for Your SMB?

Responsive web design

We’ve heard a lot of marketing companies suggest hybrid responsive website design (HRWD) lately. After all, going mobile friendly is now a must, so many business owners are figuring out the best way to go mobile. A hybrid design takes the best of both responsive website design (RWD) and adaptive website design (AWD) components, resulting in a user-specific experience tailored to exact devices resulting in specific goal-oriented outcomes.

Sounds great, right? It is. But while HRWD might be the “optimum tech solution,” the complexity, costs, and maintenance time required make it less than ideal for most everyday businesses. If your marketing company suggests this option, be sure they’re strategic about the build process and the configuration of ALL your website design components—and not just looking to stick you with a huge bill.

Note: Google recommends responsive website design (RWD), and so do we.
 

The Basics

Hybrid responsive website design is created with a dual approach: it marries responsive web design’s ability to flexibly adjust to the user’s device with server-side adaptive web design techniques to adjust how the content is displayed, based on user needs.

 

The Pros:

  • Each user experience is tailored to a specific user outcome, so your website will automatically deliver content and layout tailored to each user.
  • Like responsive design, responsive hybrid design uses a single URL for every device. This is important to your search engine ranking and your site’s accessibility to mobile users. You won’t be penalized for duplicate content or pages, and your users will have a much better experience with your site from any device.
  • Your customers will have no trouble finding what they are looking for, even when they switch from a smartphone to a desktop, and they’ll be able to recommend something on your site to friends, who will be able to then easily find the same page or button.

 

The Cons:

  • Building a hybrid responsive code is time-consuming and requires uniquely skilled website developers, which means development comes with a hefty price tag.
  • Responsive web design (RWD) is configured mostly on the front-end (i.e. CSS), while mobile-specific, adaptive and hybrid responsive design options require server-side configurations. This means a lot of set up and a lot of maintenance over time.
  • Hybrid responsive design requires a complex device detection process to decide what version of your webpage is delivered to each device. Because tons of new devices with different screens sizes are introduced each year, it’s essential to update your detection algorithm regularly. Again, more maintenance to worry about.

 
Hybrid responsive website design (HRWD) is a major undertaking—the most complicated of mobile-friendly website options. You’ll need a trusted web developer very well-versed in the complexities of hybrid coding, plus the time and money to make it happen. In many cases, it’s overkill for a small- or medium-sized business.

The real question is: Is it worth the extra time, cost, and maintenance hassle?

The trend today—and moving forward—is all about user experience, and ensuring ALL parts of your website are visible, accessible, and fast. Your best bet is to ensure every screen experience is the best you can deliver…within your budget.

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Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly

10 Reasons Your Site Needs Responsive Web Design

Today’s customers are accessing your company’s website on a variety of devices. That means they’re viewing your site via several different screen sizes on phones, tablets, desktops, game consoles, TVs, even wearable devices. Since you can’t predict the next screen size to come, the smartest way to build your site today is to use something called “responsive web design.”

Why?

Responsive design ensures that your company’s website seamlessly resizes, rescales, and reflows to adapt your content and your images so they display beautifully on any device — not just the desktop or laptop your site was designed on.

Responsive web design is more important than ever with the variety of devices available today. Find out why your business needs a responsive web design.A mobile version of your site shouldn’t just be a tinier version of your site that you have to enlarge and shrink to be able to read and click on what you want. A responsive website automatically adjusts so it’s in perfect proportion to be usable and engaging no matter what device your site is being viewed on.

So now that you know what responsive web design is, here are 10 reasons why getting a responsive website before the end of the year should be your #1 online marketing goal.

1. More conversions / More sales

If you want to improve your conversion rate, a great place to start is by using analytics to understand what visitors are doing on your site and for how long. If you’ve downloaded our FREE whitepaper on the power of Growth Cycle Marketing, then you know that it’s not enough to simply attract potential customers to your website.

You need a marketing strategy that sends the right people to your site at the right stage in their Buy Cycle. You can maximize your conversions by building a responsive website that is sales-ready (i.e., there are clear conversion paths mapped to your buyer personas).

Responsive web design ensures that whatever platform people are viewing your site on — mobiles, tablets, etc. — the action you want visitors to take is readily APPARENT and CLICKABLE so you can convert those leads into actual sales. (Wondering what items you need on your website to keep customers around long enough to convert? Click here.)

2. Decreased web maintenance costs

Many companies are maintaining their regular website for desktop computers and then developing a second mobile site specifically for mobile devices. This requires your marketers to develop and manage two separate SEO campaigns. Responsive web design, however, is ONE site that does everything for all devices. That means that after you redesign to a responsive site, your maintenance costs could be cut in half, since you’re maintaining one — not two — company sites. That’s a savings you can count on year after year.

3. More shareable content for social media success

Does your company have a strong social presence? Why not? If it’s because you don’t know where to start, then read this and this and this. If, however, you’ve already got a social media strategy in place, but it’s not getting you the results you want, maybe it’s because your website has a wonky display on different devices. If that’s the case, be sure you’re using responsive web design to make your company’s site attractive — and easily SHAREABLE — no matter what device it’s being viewed on.

If you’re working hard to share your great content via your website and social media, but it’s not compatible with mobile devices, no one can or will share it. Similarly, if your mobile website is shared by a smartphone user with someone on a computer, the desktop user will see your bare bones mobile site on their desktop and not be impressed. But — here we go again — responsive web design accounts for differences in all directions, making sure when your site is shared, it’s optimized to appear polished and professional for all viewers — on all devices. This means your site is ready to be shared on social media by (and for) anyone on any device.  Now, that’s how to get your shareable content numbers up.

4. A competitive advantage

If your competitors aren’t yet using responsive web design, your company can be the STANDOUT that shows you know what it takes to meet their needs. When visitors get frustrated with your competitors’ non-responsive websites and do another search, who will be there? You will. Swoop in and convert THEIR LEADS to YOUR CUSTOMERS. Go, you!

5. Lower bounce rates

Today’s customers will only stick around if your content is truly engaging and if what you have to offer is QUICKLY and EASILY found. If your web-only site doesn’t translate well to mobile, people who were poised to buy from you will simply leave. It’s that simple. And that harsh. In fact, 40% of people will simply choose another search result if your site is not mobile friendly. Today’s prospects won’t spend more than a few seconds hunting, scrolling, and resizing your web-based site on their phone. If your site isn’t using responsive web design, customers will go to a site where what they want pops up and screams, “What you want is RIGHT HERE… Buy me! Call us! Learn more with a FREE download!” Don’t lose sales over poor design or delivery.

Use responsive web design and “BEAT the BOUNCE.” {Tweet this.}

For other tips on creating a “stickier” website, check out 10 Reasons Why Your Customers Leave Your Website.

6. More consistent branding

With a responsive website, your site is designed from the get-go to look the same on various devices. Your site’s content and images shift around or slightly simplify to scale things down, but the look and elements are essentially the same. You want customers on a smaller device to feel that you care just as much about them and their web experience as you care about your desktop viewers. Responsive web design helps keep your brand (and your customers’ brand loyalty) consistent across platforms.

7. Increased Page Rank / Preference from Google

Responsive web design is Google’s recommended mobile configuration. This is because responsive design sites have only one URL and use the same HTML code across all devices. It’s easier for Google to find, index, and organize content from one company site than from two (a mobile site and a second site for your desktop viewers). Google also prefers responsive web design because a company’s content resides on a single website, and one URL is certainly easier for users to share and link to. With Google being the search giant it is, you’d be wise to yield to Google’s preference if you want to maximize your SEO and Page Rank with their search engine. (I mean, do you really want to be on GOOGLE’s bad side? Think about it…)

8. Happier customers

It’s just common sense to make the shopping/browsing experience convenient and attractive to your customers. Fewer disruptions or frustrations for your customers means they’re happier and more likely to buy from you or to refer you to others. According to Kate Zabriskie, “The customer’s perception is your reality.” Make sure you’re being perceived as a customer-focused business by all your site visitors.

9. More sales via smartphones

Retail sales made via smartphones are projected to reach $22 million in 2015. If you don’t have a site that works seamlessly on a mobile phone, you’re missing out. People are shopping at all hours of the day — and night — and from anywhere they want these days. You never know when someone is ready to buy. Don’t leave money on the table with a website that doesn’t measure up to the needs of today’s buyers.

10. Do you seriously need a 10th reason?

Those 9 didn’t convince you YET to get on the responsive web design bandwagon? Fine, then. Do it because… well, all the cool kids are doing it. Check out our Cultivate site on any device, and you’ll see responsive web design in action. We recommend it to all our clients!

And if you’re looking for further examples to inspire your own responsive website redesign, check out these 70 Stunning Responsive Sites displayed with a screenshot from a tablet and one from a smartphone for each site so you can see how the appearance of the site differs between the viewing platforms.

You just can’t go wrong with responsive web design.

Have you got an example of a great responsive site you’d like to share? Connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or the comments below and share the URL.