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Improve your Google Ranking using responsive web design

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Improve your Google Ranking using responsive webdesign

Responsive web design (RWD), simply put, are techniques adopted during web application creation to enable the reader with an easy reading and navigation experience across multiple devices such as desktop computer monitors to mobile phones. A RWD compliant web-site tends to adapt the layout of the viewing environment facilitating minimum of page resizing and scrolling.

The following techniques are commonly used to accomplish RWD :

1. Page elements are sized during creation in relative units like percentages rather than fixed units such as points or pixels.

2. Images are scoped in the web-pages as relative units (and not absolute ones).

3. Usage of different CSS style rules based on specifics of the device the site is displayed on – most commonly the width of the browser.

Responsive designing is a key

Responsive designing is a key requirement in web design with more target devices like the iPad mini finding their way in the market. Web-site owners today face the challenge of have a separate web-site designed per target device or making the current site responsive. Targeting specific devices is undoubtedly a costly affair adding up with maintaining the version going ahead.

Google, the big daddy of search engines recommends responsive web design as a preferred design pattern:

Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.

Google’s recent announcement

A recent announcement by Google stated they will be making changes to its rankings of smartphone search results. When a user ends up on a site which is not catered to run well on smartphones, the search experience could prove quite frustrating. A common outcome would be the user would cease the search effort or would spend more time than necessary to find the information he was looking for.

A common example of a non-adaptive site involves faulty redirects. We often observe pages on the desktop site redirect smartphone users to the home page of the mobile site. This would cause the phone user more time in reaching the destination page. A responsive design on the other hand, does not require queries to redirect users to a different URL. A critical aspect worth a big score in the ranking – the load time of the webpage – is thus achieved. Agreeably, page loading time is one of the most important aspects that Google uses while ranking a page, because of the impact of loading time on the user experience – and what is good for user experience is good for rankings.

Quality Content as good sign

Another common non-compliance is duplicate content across both the application variants. Web-masters who create hand-held versions of their web-sites usually borrow content from their main web-site. This dents credibility of the mobile site from the search engines perspective. On a similar context, an interesting point to note is the ability of RWD to help tackle a high bounce rate. Even if a site scores high in search results, if it doesn’t work effectively for mobile and tablet users, these websites may suffer from high bounce rate. Google will interpret this as a sign that it is not providing relevant or quality content to the users. This would likely lead to a drop in rankings for the site. A RWD compliant web-site tackles
this issue by presenting the same content found on the desktop site to other devices

Validate other Errors

Additionally, Google considers a down-side in ranking if your web-site is prone to ‘configuration errors’ like non-functional media (for e.g. unplayable videos), irrelevant cross linking to name a few. Unplayable media may occur due to licensing issues or missing capabilities / dependencies that the smartphone do not support. HTML5 standard tags are recommended to include videos in web-site instead of content in formats, such as Flash, that do not support all mobile devices. If your smartphone friendly URL has links to the desktop-optimized version and likewise a link from the desktop page to the smartphone page, it may not favor the Google algorithm. Therefore, you should make sure that the links point to the correct equivalent page.

Further-more, a simple and a user friendly web-design is equally important to gain maximum user attention and time, hence consider having your web application conceived by professional and experienced web designers. All in all, user experience is a key attribute in Google algorithm, hence highly responsive sites will see a rise in rankings.

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