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7 Top SEO Benefits Of Responsive Web Design

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7 Top SEO Benefits Of Responsive Web Design


“Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.”

The responsiveness of your website is unequivocally an important factor in improving user experience and avoiding common SEO pitfalls that can hinder your Google rankings.

And while responsive web design is not a confirmed ranking factor, Google has implied its importance on multiple occasions.

But how to create a responsive website – structurally and visually – is a practice that alludes to many marketers and designers alike.

The good news is that there are detailed steps to improving the responsiveness of your website.

Let’s start now.

Here are seven ways having a responsive website benefits your SEO strategy, as well as some tips on how to make your site more user-friendly.

What Is “Responsive Web Design”?

Responsive Web Design (RWD) involves creating web pages that render well across a variety of devices and screen sizes.

In this way, web designers are able to create a website experience that accommodates the many different ways users access and interact with websites.

Mobile traffic accounts for nearly half of all web traffic, globally.

This means it is essential for website owners to have websites that are accessible and easy to navigate, even on a small screen (such as a tablet or smartphone).

Why You Need A Responsive Website

Many website owners have been slow to adopt responsive web design, despite the slew of published statistics that show responsiveness produces a better user experience.

Considering that 61% of users will never return to a website that’s not mobile-friendly, the adoption of a responsive environment seems like a no-brainer.

This fact alone should be a good reason for website owners to prioritize the user web experience and opt for a more responsive design.

1. Google Prioritizes Mobile-First

It’s no secret that Google has moved toward a “mobile-first” approach in recent years.

With more users searching from mobile devices than ever before, it’s become increasingly important for websites to be easily rendered on any device.

Google aims to provide valuable and accessible content to users.

The algorithm is most inclined to rank a site that fits the bill – by being responsive and user-friendly.

Google favors websites that are optimized for mobile devices and have adopted a mobile responsive web design.

2. Improved Usability

Time on Page can be an important indication of whether your content matches what the user is searching for and whether they’ve had a positive experience on your site.

The reasoning is that if a user is unsatisfied by your content (or, in this case, your website experience), then they are unlikely to stick around.

Responsive web design makes websites more accessible, fast, and easier to navigate.

It makes it easier for users to then find the information they are looking for and typically encourages them to stay on your site.

Plus, fantastic usability may encourage users to come back to your website in the future.

And not only are users staying on your site for longer, but they are far more likely to turn into paying customers or subscribers.

3. Better Customer Experience

Google is primarily concerned with keeping users happy by showing them the content they are most interested in.

Create a user-focused experience, and Google is likely to reward you with higher rankings in the search results.

Responsive web design is essential in creating a positive experience for users.

Happy users are more likely to turn into subscribers, leads, and paying customers.

Having a responsive website is one of many ways to ensure users have a positive experience on your site.

4. Improved Page Speed

Page speed is another factor that greatly impacts your SEO and, in turn, your rankings in Search.

How quickly your website loads can make or break a user’s experience with your site.

Then, it’s no surprise that your website should be optimized to load quickly and without hiccups.

Mobile responsive websites load faster on both mobile and desktop devices.

Optimize your page speed for more traffic and conversions on your website.

5. Lower Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to how quickly users visit and then immediately leave your website.

This metric can be an indication of whether your site satisfies the user’s search.

A high bounce rate may also hint that your website didn’t load quickly or didn’t provide the positive experience users were looking for.

The result may then be an increase in your bounce rate and even a drop in your rankings for that search query.

It doesn’t just come down to content, though.

Your content may be fantastic, but if your web design makes it difficult for users to navigate the site, users will drop off and look for information elsewhere.

6. Avoid Duplicate Content

When you prioritize the responsiveness of your website, you necessarily start to pay attention to your site’s content and UX overall.

And while responsive web design is not necessarily the mechanism by which duplicate content is prevented, it can often help you catch this common pitfall.

When building or redesigning your site, it’s easy to accidentally create two versions of your website – one mobile and one desktop – which can lead to duplicate content issues.

Though the two URLs may be different, the content is often the same, and this can confuse Google as to what content to prioritize.

Responsive web design best practices emphasize creating a single, mobile-responsive version of your website.

This can help prevent URL duplication across two versions of your site.

At the same time, it’s important to keep your eye out for other duplicate content issues.

7. More Social Shares

When users like your content, they’re more likely to share it with their friends.

Having a responsive website makes it easy for users to engage with your site, thoroughly enjoy your content, and then share it on social media.

Many RWD designers build sites with social sharing capabilities in mind to make it easy for users to share your content far and wide.

Though social shares don’t directly impact rankings, they do help you grow your audience online.

More social traffic means more users visiting your site, which could mean even more customers or subscribers for your business.

Additionally, a great social media presence can drum up more visibility for your website.

With easy-to-use social share buttons, your mobile-ready site will encourage users to share your content, reaching a much wider audience.

Offer Users A Fast, Friendly Mobile Experience

Establishing a mobile-friendly strategy as the base of your website design (or redesign) will set your site up for success.

A responsive design puts users first, makes it easy for them to engage with your site, and gives the “thumbs up” to Google that your site is built for search on any device.

Planning your web design from the get-go will also help you establish a fully optimized structure that’s easily accessible on any device.

Having a solid framework from the beginning will help set your website up for SEO success.

Is your site mobile-ready? It’s time to step it up with a responsive, user-friendly design.

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Featured Image: muhammedbinzain/Shutterstock





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SEO

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

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Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Google defines “breadcrumbs” as navigation that indicates the page’s position in the site hierarchy.

When you hear the term “breadcrumbs,” Hansel and Gretel might come to mind. In the old fairy tale, the main characters leave behind a trail of breadcrumbs to avoid getting lost in the forest.

Similarly, breadcrumbs are helpful for users as they drill down into your site hierarchy.

A website can display a “breadcrumb” trail of internal site navigation so that a user can easily find their way back through the website’s structure.

Screenshot from NASA.gov, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

So, we know that breadcrumbs are helpful for users and that Google always tells us to focus on the user experience. Does that mean breadcrumbs are a ranking factor?

[Deep Dive:] The Complete Guide To Google Ranking Factors

The Claim: Breadcrumbs As A Ranking Factor

In 2009 Google announced that search results would begin displaying site hierarchies.

This was an effort to show users the location (thus providing context) of a page on the website.

Below is an example of what Google search results looked like in 2009 before and after this monumental change.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from search, Google, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Given that Google is tight-lipped on what exactly ranking factors are (for a good reason), the search community relies on what is accessible to better understand how search works.

This includes a medley of what we can see in the search engine result pages, patents, official documentation, and what Google representatives say.

Google changed how search results were displayed and wrote, “By analyzing site breadcrumbs, we’ve been able to improve the search snippet for a small percentage of search results, and we hope to expand in the future.”

Search marketers listened and asked the question: Are breadcrumbs a ranking factor?

The Evidence: Breadcrumbs As A Ranking Factor

Search engines try to make sense of your website by analyzing how the text is organized into main topics and subtopics.

Breadcrumbs reinforce the hierarchical arrangement of pages on a website and how those pages are related.

Google developer docs explain that using breadcrumb markup in a webpage’s body helps categorize the information from the page in search results.

Because a webpage ranks for more than just one keyword, users often will arrive at a page from multiple different types of search queries.

Each of these unique search queries returns the same webpage. But, thanks to breadcrumb markup, the content can be categorized within the search query context.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Google Search Central, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

In January 2009, Google filed a U.S. Patent Application titled Visualizing Site Structure and Enabling Site Navigation for a Search Result or Linked Page.

The patent may suggest that Google could include breadcrumbs in search results even if a website doesn’t use them.

However, the patent also explains how this could make it easier for Google to understand a website’s structure and include that information in search results.

The patent has since been listed as “abandoned.” Could that be a clue that Google has abandoned using breadcrumbs in this fashion?

[Recommended Read:] Google Ranking Factors: Fact or Fiction

Breadcrumbs Pass Pagerank

In reply to a question on Twitter about breadcrumbs, Gary Illyes, Google webmaster trend analyst, said, “We like them. We treat them as normal links in, e.g., PageRank computation.”

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Twitter, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

PageRank (PR) is a link analysis algorithm used by Google to rank webpages in their search engine results.

While it doesn’t have as much impact as it used to, Google still uses PageRank, among many other factors, to rank results.

Google Search Console Warning

There is a Warning in GSC featured guides under breadcrumbs for manual actions against websites that misuse structured data guidelines.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Google Search Central, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Most manual actions address attempts to manipulate Google’s search index.

If breadcrumb markup were not part of Google’s search index, it would not likely be at risk of manual actions for spammers abusing it.

Not only is Google serious about not wanting people to manipulate breadcrumbs, but they are also invested in website owners implementing breadcrumbs properly.

Check out Google Search Console’s tweet below, from September 2019.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Twitter, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

GSC updated its interface to show users where there were errors in search enhancements, including breadcrumbs.

That same weekend GSC started emailing accounts with breadcrumb structured data errors on their sites – and they’re still doing this three years later.

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?Screenshot from Google Search Central, June 2022Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

If breadcrumbs were not important to Google, why would they spend time and resources to educate website owners on proper implementation and send notices when there were errors?

[Discover:] More Google Ranking Factor Insights

Our Verdict: Breadcrumbs Are Kind Of A Ranking Factor

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

Are Breadcrumbs A Google Ranking Factor?

 

Breadcrumbs are inadvertently a ranking factor.

A ranking factor is a set of criteria that search engines use to evaluate web pages and put them in the order you see in search results.

Does Google use breadcrumbs to evaluate web pages?

Yes, Google documentation supports the theory that breadcrumbs are used to evaluate webpages.

And a representative confirmed that breadcrumbs are considered normal links in Google’s link analysis algorithm, PageRank.

The weight given to those links is unknown.

Does that mean that adding breadcrumb markup will propel your page to the top of search results or that you’re doomed to never reach page one by not having them?

Of course not; the Google algorithm is far too complex for that.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

Ranking Factors: Fact Or Fiction? Let’s Bust Some Myths! [Ebook]Ranking Factors: Fact Or Fiction? Let’s Bust Some Myths! [Ebook]

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