RWD, or Responsive Web Design, is what Google recommends…
No matter what device your potential website visitor is using, you want to be found. Enter Responsive Web Design, or RWD. The term refers to a website’s layout – its ability to display correctly on any device, whatever its shape, size and operating system. It is predicted that, by 2014, more than 60% of the potential traffic to your site will arrive on a device such as a smart phone or an iPad. But that’s only if your visitor can find you in the first place.
Search engines can tell what kind of device is being used for a search (clever!), and will “serve” up results which are deemed to be both the most relevant and the most accessible in the circumstances. The sites they like the best are those which offer a one-stop, user-friendly experience to all users. On Google’s guide for developers, the advice is clear: “Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design…”
So Responsive Web Design must be good for SEO, right?
It sure is. When searching, Google will look for website that is not only relevant to the search terms used, but also those which will work best with the device used to conduct that search. If your site won’t display correctly to a given screen size, it may not show up in search results, even if it normally ranks well on a ‘normal’ computer. On the other hand, since not all sites are Responsive, you’ll have a better chance of showing up if your site is…so RWD is great for SEO!
If you’re not sure whether your site is Responsive, it’s easy to check. You can, of course, use your own smart phone to see whether it’s easy to read your site. If you have to scroll from side-to-side, rather than just scroll down, it’s not responsive…and it’s probably a pretty frustrating experience. You can also use a nifty online tool called the Responsinator. Enter the address of the site you’d like to check in the field at the top left corner of the site and you’ll be able to see it in a variety of views.
If your site isn’t Responsive, consider making appropriate amendments within the next few months in order to stay on trend with mobile web technology. If you’re in the market for a new website, make sure you put Responsive Web Design at the top of your requirements list!