Responsive Web Design: A Big Deal

“How do I get on the first page of Google?”

This is the first thing I hear from any new client. The fact is, there are a lot of little things that add up into SEO magic. Meta data, alt text for images, well written copy, it all helps your search results, but none of it does any good if you don’t have a firm foundation. That foundation is the very structure of your website, how it was built. Namely, is it responsive?

Responsive web design means that it updates the layout of the site in real time as you resize your browser. That’s nice and cool while you’re sitting there seeing if this blog is responsive (I’m watching you). What it really means is that you only need to design a web site once and it resizes itself properly on all devices. That’s pretty cool. But more than just being cool, it’s actually one of the most fundamental things you can do for your search optimization.

As of April 21, 2015, Google is using mobile-friendliness as a parameter in how it scores your site. Mobile versions of your site, where you have different URLs for each version of your site, are one option. However, Google has recommended responsive design over this method to decrease the number of duplicate sites it searches. The result of this new method of web design lessens the amount of data Google has to search, and ensures that it can deliver your site to a mobile device, regardless of make or model.

As a matter of fact, there are cases where having a separate mobile version of your site actually causes you to compete with yourself when someone does a relevant search. This means that it’s possible for neither version of your site to be delivered to a potential client! That’s kinda scary, huh?

Before you panic, here are a few things that might help:

Google’s Overview on Building Mobile Friendly Sites

Google’s Mobile Friendly Test

Most small businesses use WordPress or Squarespace, or something similar, to create and manage their pages. You can check their templates to see if you can switch to a responsive template. There may also be plugins you can install that make a mobile version of your site based on your current theme.

If none of that can help you, it may be time to consider updating your website.

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