Link Building Strategy SEO Expert

Is responsiveness a ranking factor now?

Google has already stated multiple times that responsive design is their major preferable criteria for mobile configuration. It leads people actually to speculate whether it helps in boosting the Google ranking. In this post, we are going to discuss the truth behind the popularity of responsive web design.


Google searches are done mostly through mobile devices in comparison to computers. Even in countries like the US, searches are mostly conducted through mobile devices. It is needless to mention that mobile configuration is a part of the SEO future as well as digital marketing.


The way to success in Google is really synonymous with a successful mobile presence. Now the question is what kind of mobile presence? When it comes to designing a website for mobile users, there are mainly three options available – adaptive, responsive and traditional.


What is the preference of Google? Are there any such differences in ranking with different web designing options? What does it have to do with the ranking factor?


Mobile configurations

Let us first talk about mobile configuration before moving ahead further. As already mentioned above, there are three available choices for web design. So, what are the differences among them?


Separate mobile design

This configuration delivers multiple HTML on separate URLs. It depends on the device detected. The main arrangement is to have the system or desktop site located on the subdomain and the mobile-friendly website pages on “m” subdomain. This configuration is now widely preferred by the top brands.


Adaptive design

It is referred to as dynamic serving by Google. Adaptive design serves multiple devices with a similar URL structure. It does so by generating completely different versions of the HTML sites. The site comes with several versions that are similar through the common URLs.


Responsive design

Often termed as RWD in abbreviated form, it approaches portion-based grids, uses fluid, varying CSS style rules and flexible images for delivering user experiences to the tablet, desktop as well as mobile devices, while maintaining similar URL structure and HTML. The website grows or shrinks according to the device.


There are several factors why Google prefers the responsive design. Improved user experience, saving Google’s resources and avoiding SEO pitfalls like the fragmented clean present and bad redirects are some of the reasons.

If you are wondering about the kind of mobile configuration that is preferable by Google, the answer is simply unequivocal.


Years ago, Google started to push for reducing poor-quality content and duplicate content as well canonical tagging became the norm. People used to joke that Google can forgive a site once for using bad HTML, but not for wasting their resources. Today, this joke has become a reality, and we are reminded of that with their position on the responsive design. Google would always prefer web designers who support the crawling efficiency of the RWD’s HTML, instead of having several sessions they keep fresh and index. You can check out with Google to know about their branding for nonprofits criterion.


According to Google, the best way is to have a site that works in both worlds, i.e., desktop and mobile. Both of them make use of the responsive design techniques in order to adjust the size of the user’s settings or device. Now, does this actually put the entire issue to rest? No, of course not. It certainly states that Google prefers responsive web design, but at the same time, it does not even tell us whether the preference has translated into the SEO ranking factor.


Do studies implicate responsive design’s role as the search engine ranking factor?

Causation-focused case studies show that similar but different websites with no such mobile presence were launched with adaptive, responsive and mDot configurations. These studies would measure the advantages of having the mobile presence, and responsive design was viewed as a positive ranking factor than other selections.


Mobile first indexing by Google

On 26th March 2018, Google announced that it would prefer mobile first indexing, which means that indexing websites will be there on the basis of mobile-version, and not on the desktop version. After this update, desktop searches have become the minority, while mobile searches have become the majority. The major aim of Google is to assist the largest possible number of searchers. So, with the latest mobile search trend, they adopt the popular search means.


Do non-mobile friendly websites hurt the rankings?

Since April 2015, Google started rewarding search rankings of mobile-friendly websites and penalizing non-mobile friendly sites. Studies showed that sites that do not have mobile-friendly platforms before 2015 were hit heavily with around 50 percent traffic reduction penalty. This penalty came as Google dropped their ranking, which resulted in just only a handful of people landing and clicking on the websites. Similarly, the same study showed that around 70% of the websites on the first result page of Google are mobile optimized. Out of these 70% mobile-friendly sites, the rate of conversion tended to reach the heights after the switch.


Is your website mobile friendly?

If you have a site and wish to check whether it is mobile friendly, you can make use of Google’s mobile-friendly test. In case, you need to make any sort of adjustments to your site; you can always go for installing a responsive theme on the WordPress platform or any other content management system. On the basis of the blogs that are posted by Google, we can definitely assume that companies do not prefer to optimize their website for being mobile-friendly will certainly see a drop in their SEO ranking. On the other hand, the higher ranking will be enjoyed by companies who prefer to setup mobile-friendly websites.


Bottom line

 Having a responsive website is one of the major Google criteria for ranking sites. There are multiple advantages to having a responsive web design. It even increases the number of searches because most of the users prefer to search using mobile, tablets, etc. Thus, having a responsive website design enables people to access your site from any device. The site will get automatically organized according to the settings of the device from which it is being opened. 


If you want to know more about Google’s updates, stay tuned to us. Our expert bloggers will share the latest updates with you.