How Google Kickstarted The Responsive Web Design Revolution

The year 2015 marks a watershed for responsive web design. It was during this year that search engine major Google rolled out modifications in search engine algorithms that factored in the mobile-friendly quotient of a website as a ranking signal. Following Google’s landmark decision, SEO gurus innovated and marketing mantras underwent a sea change. The website now needs to be usable on not just the smartphone, but multiple browsers and devices. We now thrive in a mobile-first era moving towards a mobile-first index. As smartphone users swell in numbers and tablets soar on popularity charts, responsive design is no longer considered an innovation. It has become the norm, not the exception.

Google Directive: Building for Mobile-First Users

Responsive web design has progressed at an incredible rate since Google kickstarted the agile design revolution. A major disruptor in the status quo, Google has changed web design irrevocably. Google is built for users which search the web. As the ranks of mobile search users grew, so did Google’s intention to make responsive web design the basis of successful search engine ranking. Favouring websites optimized for people and not just desktops, Google has rewarded sites that are intuitive, responsive and agile.

The Fall Out

#1 Improved Site Usability

One of the most important results of this Google announcement has been the recognition of time on page as a fundamental and key indicator of site value for a certain query. Responsive web designs make sites easier for users to read and navigate. An improved user experience and greater time on site is the result of the Google shift in priorities, for responsive websites.

Good usability scoring also increases the rate of conversion, besides helping referral and repeat business. Google is in the business of solving queries. A mobile-friendly site is central to a good user experience. Google, therefore, rewards sites that provide users with such an experience. Customer experience and site navigation are important factors in influencing conversion.

Positive reviews, traffic and advancement in branded searches also impact ranking as a reflection of positive customer experience. Design elements of the site are critical to consider. Not just Google, but even the market rewards businesses that succeed in creating mobile responsive design that shapes customer journey and experience.

#2 Faster Page Speed, Quicker Load Time

Page loading times are another advantage of responsive designs. A mobile friendly site is easier and faster to load on the smartphone than only one which is desktop compatible. Consistently, Google has been supporting fast loading sites in its search results. The move to mobile responsive sites that result in a positive user experience laid the basis for SERP analysis and search engine marketing.

#3 Bounce Rate and Your Business

Bounce rate is associated with the time on the site. How fast do visitors backtrack or leave the site? Google pays attention to user behaviour when it comes to a website’s entry and exit points. Shorter dwell time can be interpreted as a sign that content searchers found on the site were not meeting their requirements. This can lead to a negative adjustment in search engine rankings for that particular query. Design is as important as content. If the design prevents easy comprehension, visitors will not choose to stay or return to a site. The preference for a mobile responsive site was born of this basic fact. Providing clean and crisp interface for users, mobile-friendly sites owe their origin and development to Google’s vision for a smartphone proof web development future.

#4 Cutting Down On Duplicate Content

Google’s intelligent algorithms use direction from websites to determine which content is integral to meeting user needs. Separate mobile sites means duplicate content. Using a separate site for mobile clients even involves a specific URL. This duplicate content was adversely ranked by Google. If Google is not clear which content is vital, indexing can be a real problem. So can lower search engine results, as separate mobile sites are canonicalised to PC counterparts. So it was Google’s directive that led to SEO marketers focusing on a single site to avoid duplication of content.

#5 Growth of Social Sharing

Google also made allowances for the social media revolution, not just the smartphone boom. Responsive web designing ensures social sharing is easy for dominant demographics online such as mobile users. Social media plays a critical role in SEO and establishing a deeper connect with the audience. A wider demographic or audience segment translates into more traffic and engagement which will make Google sit up and take notice. This formed the reasoning behind Google’s strong emphasis on mobile responsive sites.

Google: The Ultimate Gamekeeper

The ultimate gateway to how a website is perceived through its search engine rankings, Google makes or breaks chances¬† of success for any website. Google’s rules ensure websites are created as per the search engine’s preference. Responsive design forms the cornerstone of Google’s evaluation, and that is reason enough for SEO marketers to jump onto the bandwagon. Before the responsive design approach, optimal user experience meant additional website versions were needed to translate effectively on smartphone screens and tablets. The strength of the responsive design is that it automatically adjusts the page in a manner that webmasters can retain content on the same URL.

One URL, Unique Websites

Responsive designs mean less work for Googlebots, as these do not crawl and index separate versions of the site. The ultimate am of SEO is that search engines should be able to analyse the site easily. Google at the end of the day, wants to provide visitors with search query responses on the first single SERP. Inconsistency in pixel size with expensive mobile data costs, makes it problematic  for users to may leave the site to find one that is easier to explore. Responsive design revolution marks the birth of sites that present content in a functional way that is simple to view and enhances user experience.

Google Stats: When Numbers Talk

Google has noted there is a 61 percent chance smartphone users will log onto another website if the present one is not optimised for the device or the browser. Google covers 95% of the mobile SEM market so its directive on responsive designs is the cornerstone of the mobile-first revolution. Whether it’s better link building or ranking for mobile searches, delivering the best UX is possible through a responsive site.