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Since the early 2000s, responsive web development has continued to remain a topic of discussion in the sphere of web development. That period saw the high proliferation of mobile devices into the market, and in effect, there was growing concern about having website versions that work well on both desktop and mobile screens. Because developers had to develop different versions of websites for both desktop users and mobile users, they devised a means of developing a single version that displays well on desktop and mobile, and that was how responsive development was birthed.
In responsive web design, website users do not have to scroll across their screens to view all the contents of a web page. Furthermore, they do not also need to zoom in and out or to pinch their screen to view all contents. Responsive websites fit gracefully into any screen size and offer the reader an opportunity to read the contents of a website on any device without stress.
Responsive development impacts many things in the sphere of web development. It impacts page speed; it impacts conversion rates, it impacts bounce rates and lots of other metrics. It also impacts SEO. We are going to see how responsive web design impacts SEO in the next couple of paragraphs.
Let’s try to understand what SEO is first – SEO means search engine optimization. If a website is search engine optimized, it means that the website is ranked higher by search engines and that users would be able to find the website when they do searches related to the contents of the website on search engines. To rank a website, there are many factors that search engines put into consideration – they consider the relevance of the content that the website has to the user, they also consider the page speed of the website, its bounce rate, etc.
Back to responsive development, we said that responsive web design ensures that a website displays content that fits into any screen size or device without muddling up the contents of the website. Now, if a website is not responsive, it means that the developers of the website would have to create two different code bases for the website – one code base catering for the mobile users and another code base for the desktop. This can greatly slowly the loading speed of a website. (make your website loading slow)
Search engines are always looking out for the websites that provide the best user experience to website visitors. Unresponsive websites are not known to provide this needed user experience. On an unresponsive website, a user would have to keep scrolling across the screen to be able to view all content. Sometimes, images are blurred or distorted. Some elements of the website can also be distorted and misaligned. All these are not good experiences that any website user is glad to have. Because of the awful user experience that unresponsive websites provide to website users, users often close the websites when it fails to load the content they are looking for correctly, leading to high bounce rates. And as we saw earlier, high bounce rate impacts SEO negatively.
In addition to making a website rank low on search engine results, an unresponsive website can also attract the penalty of Google to your website. Since you have to create several versions of your website for the different devices, Google might see the contents you have on your domain as duplicate content. To Google, that is spamming, and they hate spamming so much that they can penalize your website for that. To avoid getting penalized by search engines, you would have to take steps to let search engines know which pages you want them to index and the ones you don’t want them to index. This is a lot of hard work, not to mention that you may end up telling them to not index the useful pages of your website, albeit unknowingly.
The bottom line is that responsive web design has serious impacts on search engine optimization. If your website is very responsive, it will boost your SEO efforts, and if it is unresponsive, it will definitely tell (affect) negatively on your SEO efforts. A good responsive website makes sure that your customers see your content on search engine result pages when they are looking for you. So, if you really want to serve the needs of your customers, you have to get a responsive web developer to convert your website into a responsive one.
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