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Is Google Just Ranking Websites that are Responsive?

What is Google's Next Big Move?

On our page explaining what "Responsive Website Design" is, we mention:

From what we've seen, Google is a few steps ahead (of course). They're starting to serve up different results on searches originating from mobile devices. They're favoring websites optimized for mobile use when the search is done on a mobile device.

That has to do with mobile devices, so what about desktops? I mean, people can have their browser windows resized at different sizes, right? It seems a lot of people have their web browsers maximized but I'm not one of those people. I have a clean desktop on my computer and like to have some desktop icons I use a lot visible to me at all times (yes, I'm a power user) so my application windows - including my browser windows - are not full screen.

Isn't it better, then, to have a website that adapts to whatever size the browser window is set to? Wouldn't that make the user experience the best that it can be? Wouldn't Google want to rank websites with that kind of design higher than other websites?

It's our opinion that websites that have responsive design will (or are going to) rank higher.

What's Google's next move? They already made their move!

It's Not Just Our Opinion

Here are some more articles related to responsive design:

Google Officially Endorses Responsive Design (wsiwebspecialist.com)

Did you know that your website has to be programmed to appear properly on a mobile application? Users shouldn’t go to your site on their smart phones or tablets and simply see a miniature version of what they would get on their laptop or desktop computer. Miniature websites are too hard to read and navigate without zooming in or "pinching" the screen. Additionally, your website may not appear in mobile search engines if it is not programmed to be mobile-ready. (Yes, Google and other search engines can tell!)

Mobile SEO: Google Raises the Bar (webvanta.com)

Many businesses that weren't ready to invest in a fully mobile-optimized site have created simple mobile sites, sometimes only a single landing page. While this approach may have been acceptable in the early days of the mobile web, it has serious drawbacks and is hard to recommend today.

With simple mobile sites, people searching the web on their phones will find links are redirected to a mobile landing page (bad behavior), or that deliver a non-mobile-friendly page (not-quite-as-bad behavior).

From Google's perspective, redirects to limited mobile sites reduce the quality of the search experience for a phone user — the visitor did not get the page that the search results referenced. This is what Google calls a "faulty redirect". Google has said that it will, at some time, begin penalizing sites that exhibit this behavior.

Google Takes Stance On Mobile SEO: Site Not Mobile Friendly, You Won't Rank Well. (seroundtable.com)

Google has taken a strong stance on mobile SEO, announcing there will be demotions if your site is not mobile friendly or is misconfigured when it comes to being mobile friendly.

Google said the demotion will only impact mobile, smartphone friendly, search results and only impact web pages that are not smartphone friendly or misconfigured when it comes to being smartphone friendly.

Is Responsive Design Better for SEO? (zerogravitymarketing.com)

If you have a mobile site, visitors can get frustrated that they cannot get to all of your content that is on your full website. If you don’t have a mobile site at all the visitor’s experience can be especially poor. Either way, many visitors will return to Google to find one that is easily readable and your search engine rankings will decline.

Above, Google itself is even saying that your website won't rank well if you are not using repsonsive design.

Changes in rankings of smartphone search results (googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.in)

Although we covered only two types of mistakes here, it's important for webmasters to focus on avoiding all of the common smartphone website misconfigurations. Try to test your site on as many different mobile devices and operating systems, or their emulators, as possible, including testing the videos included on your site. Doing so will improve the mobile web, make your users happy, and allow searchers to experience your content fully.

Conclusion

If you do not switch to responsive design, your competition will. When they do, they'll have an advantage over your website. Why give them that? You need to make you're not giving your competition an edge. All projects we quote include the option for responsive design. If your current website developer isn't offering it, then we need to talk.

-Tony

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