In today’s digital age, a business without a responsive website design is like a shop without a sign. As the internet has become more effective than traditional media when it comes to creating brand awareness, you will miss out on a whole host of opportunities in relation to promoting your brand if you don’t have an online presence.
However, having a website doesn’t necessarily guarantee more sales or a bigger ROI. With countless similar websites vying for your target audience’s attention, you need to understand how to set your website apart from all the others. At the same time, you should also know how to play by the rules set by Google and other search engines.
Whether you are creating a new website from scratch or having an existing one redesigned, it is imperative that it is responsive. This will help strengthen your search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns.
Importance of Responsive Website Design to SEO
In recent years, there have been numerous changes to the way we consume online content and among them is the way we actually access the internet. Previously, we would visit our favorite websites on our desktop computers. However, due to the popularity of smartphones and tablets, mobile web browsers have overtaken their desktop counterparts as the preferred platform for the majority of online users.
As a consequence, it is now more important than ever to incorporate responsive web design. This will ensure that users will be able to access and navigate your site regardless of the device they are using. In addition, implementing responsive web design has many other benefits, as set out below.
1. Better site usability
Google uses “time on page” as a fundamental indicator to determine a site’s search rankings. The more time visitors spend on your site, the stronger the likelihood that you will rank highly on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
If internet users cannot navigate your site properly, they are likely to leave in double-quick time. This will have a negative impact on your “time on page” stats. By using responsive web design, you will improve your site’s usability. As well as enhancing your “time on page” stats, this will also lead to more conversions and repeat visitors. Moreover, you will be able to satisfy both your target audience and Google.
2. Shorter page loading times
Another benefit of using responsive web design is the shorter page loading times. For many years, Google has emphasized that websites that load faster rank higher on the SERPs than their slower counterparts. In fact, as well as the superior search rankings, having shorter page loading times also improves the overall user experience.
3. Improved social sharing
Responsive website design is much easier to share on social media than one that isn’t. Hence it follows that if your site has responsive web design, it is more likely to be shared on social networking sites. This could help your exposure. With a larger audience, you will have increased traffic, engagement and, more importantly, search demand for your brand.
4. Reduced bounce rate
The bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave your site after viewing only one page. Having a high bounce rate will harm your SEO because Google will think that the content you are offering isn’t relevant to what users are searching for. As a result, you will rank poorly on the SERPs.
Pairing good content with responsive web design can help reverse a high bounce rate. By reducing your site’s bounce rate, you can improve its search rankings, which in turn can lead to more traffic and ultimately conversions.
5. Prevent duplicate content
You might be thinking, “What if I just create a separate site for mobile users?”. Many SEO experts advise against this practice because it entails you using a separate URL. The problem with this strategy is that, despite the different URLs, the content remains the same. Duplicate content is a big no-no as it can harm your search rankings.
A responsive website design addresses this issue. With a single URL you can avoid duplicate content, regardless of the device being used to view your site.
Strategies for a Responsive Website Design that is SEO-Friendly
If your Responsive Website Design is optimized for mobile devices and search engines, here are some tips on how you can make it more mobile-responsive and SEO-friendly.
1. Ensure that your website is user-friendly
As mentioned earlier, users are more likely to leave your site if they are unable to navigate it easily. Therefore, to ensure that visitors will stay long enough for them to see what you have to offer, you should make sure your responsive website design is easy to use.
To reduce your bounce rate and make your website easy on the eyes, go for a cleaner and more organized layout. Also, create a user-friendly navigation system using common words such as “home”, “about”, “blog” and “support”. In this way, visitors will be able to determine where they should click to find the information they require without any trouble at all.
When setting up your site’s navigation system, ensure that there are no dead links and that all internal links point to relevant web pages. If you do wish to use external links, they must open in a new window. This will encourage users to return to your website after they have visited the linked site.
2. Incorporate keywords into your web content
It is a given that your web content should contain relevant keywords so that Google and other search engines can index it better. However, you should not limit the use of keywords or key phrases to just your articles or blog posts. You must also include keywords in headings, title tags, meta descriptions, footer links, internal links, image alt tags, and URLs, among other locations. This approach will strengthen your SEO as it makes it more convenient for Google’s search bots to crawl your site.
3. Minimize page loading times
Make sure that it doesn’t take more than five seconds for your site to load. Otherwise, you are likely to lose visitors and good conversion opportunities.
Since some users may be viewing your website on their mobile devices, you should avoid using excessive graphics, animation, multimedia and other unnecessary page elements that can slow your loading times. Another option is to switch to a new CMS or a better web hosting service. This way, the image and overall web page quality will not be compromised for the sake of page loading speed.
4. Keep your website fresh
As the internet is continuously evolving, it is important to remember that your website should never remain static; you must always keep it fresh and up to date. If you don’t update your site to keep up with the times, your search rankings could suffer.
If you haven’t done so already, add some blog content as this helps to keep your site new and relevant. For example, let’s say you are selling clothes online. To attract new visitors whilst still keeping your existing customers interested, you should write articles about the latest fashion trends as well as other stories relevant to the industry. This will engage your audience whilst at the same time allowing you to stay in line with the standards set by Google.
5. Optimize your website’s typography
Don’t forget to enhance your site’s typography to ensure that your web content will remain readable even on smaller screens. Experts recommend using 16px or 1em for your body copy and then adjusting the size of your headings accordingly.
Furthermore, you should avoid using decorative or script fonts both in your content and your site navigation system. These fonts are difficult to read, especially when viewed on smartphone and tablet screens.
Ensuring that your website is optimized for both mobile devices and search engines is an excellent way of establishing a strong online presence. Fortunately, there are numerous techniques you can use to make your site more responsive and SEO-friendly. If you don’t know how to do this on your own, you can always seek professional help in order to achieve the best results.
Sam Sayer is a guest blog contributor for MBA Team, Inc.