Responsive web design is simply the art of crafting web sites to provide an optimal viewing experience for easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices. Put more simply, responsive web design makes your site automatically adjust and reconfigure to what ever device accesses it. Today responsive design is more important than ever and not having a mobile friendly site will hurt the readability, bounce rates and search traffic it gets depending on it mobile traffic. As of January 2014 58% of American Adults have a smartphone and 42% have a tablet. Over 50 percent of search now comes from mobile devices.
“Day by day, the number of devices, platforms,
and browsers that need to work with your site grows.
Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift
in how we’ll build websites for the decade to come.”
– Jeffrey Veen
There are two different types of mobile-friendly web designs.
- Responsive Website Design
- Mobile only Website Design
You can easily tell if the site is mobile only – it’s URL will start with an “m.” To see if a site uses a responsive web design simply drag a corner of the site and see if it changes it’s screen size and adjusts to fit your browser.
So what makes responsive web design better than mobile only web design?
Content is kept under the same URL.
As stated above mobile only sites change the structure of the URL. This makes Google (and other search engines) scan two different sites. Both sites compete for ranking against each other and you have to maintain two different sites.
Improved Bounce Rates from mobile devices
Today, over 60% of adult cell phone owners now use their phones to access the Internet. In addition, 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience. Google tracks bounce rates. If your site has a high bounce rate Google and ranks your website poorly because it’s gathering that you’re not an authoritative figure.
Reduces duplicate content
While Google may not penalize your sites for having duplicate content, it does require every website change to be made twice. In addition to the extra time to maintain two sites there is the additional chance of human error.
Improves Search Results
Google is expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.
Link building all goes to one URL
Google tracks both inbound and outbound links to your site. This is used by them to evaluate how authoritative your site is and is re-flexed in search ranking. Responsive Web Design gives you the ability to maintain just one site and all the links will go to and from one site instead of two. If your marketing plan includes off-page SEO, link building is a critical component to that plan.