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Responsive design: Its impact on SEO

Content and external links have a recognized impact on SEO (search engine optimization). But what about websites that use responsive design? Does the fact that your website can adapt to different screen resolutions (such as tablets and smartphones) have a significant impact on your SEO? As Google has announced, it wants the web to become more suitable for the mobile environment, it is then normal to ask these questions.

At My Little Big Web, website design automatically involves developing a responsive website. The reason is that the responsive design promotes user experience and also SEO.

We’ll tell you four positive impacts that a responsive design of your website can have on SEO. But before we come to these points, we will explain what responsive design is and how it relates to a mobile site.

Responsive design vs. adaptive design and mobile site

To encourage users to visit a website from their smartphones, web developers can create a responsive website, an adaptive website, or simply create a website suitable only for mobile website.

Responsive design

The main advantage of responsive design is that a website will automatically adapt to different screen resolutions. To allow viewing of a website that adapts when it is accessed from a smartphone, work must be done by the developers on the CSS and HTML codes. The responsive design makes it possible to ensure that your website always appears in a professional manner for any user by choosing which elements will appear and in what order.

As Google searches are performed more often on mobile devices than on computers in 10 different countries (including the US), it is essential that a company designs its website to better reflect its image on mobile devices. Responsive design is a great way for your website to be present at all micro-moments as well as other moments.

Adaptive design

Adaptive design allows you to display your website depending on the screen resolution but this does not happen exactly the same way as with responsive design. If a user uses his iPad to visit a website, the type of device will be identified through the adaptive design and a special layout will be shown to that user.

Adaptive design application creates multiple versions for different screen resolutions. This means as well that you must adapt the CSS and HTML for each layout. Usually six versions for six screen resolutions must be developed: 320 pixels, 480 pixels, 760 pixels, 960 pixels, 1200 pixels and 1600 pixels.

Mobile site

Pages loading time for a website using responsive design or adaptive design can take longer that on a mobile site. This is why some companies decide to create their own mobile site. What this means is creating a new website with a specific mobile URL: (for example).

A mobile site is different from responsive design and adaptive design, as this type of site is created and suitable only for mobile usage, whereas responsive and adaptive designs are developed to be suitable for different mobile devices and computers. If you have a mobile website and a “desktop” website, you actually have two different URL locations so you can choose to have different content depending on the type of site. Although it’s more expensive to set up and maintain, a mobile site option is the one that offers more freedom.

Positive impacts of design responsive

There are so many different site configurations for mobile devices. Opting for responsive design can improve your SEO with four positive impacts.

Foster user experience

As previously mentioned, searches on mobile devices has overtaken conventional searches on computers in 10 countries. Thus, it has become essential to promote the mobile user experience by providing a website that will meet the needs of Internet users: easy navigation, fast loading pages, as well as information found easily and quickly etc.

This happens to everyone: having to use a non-mobile version of a web site on your smartphone. In this case, users have two options:

  1. Keep browsing on the site, trying somehow to find the information despite the excessive size of the site in relation to the small screen. This means having to zoom the display and navigate by moving the screen on the entire page of the site.
  1. Leave the site to find the information elsewhere.

Obviously, the second option is most common these days because people know they can easily find the information they are looking for on a site suitable for mobile devices. By promoting user experience, users will be encouraged to stay on your website longer, which is important for your SEO.

Bounce rate

Bounce rate is a data element that let’s you know the percentage of users who visit the site and leave without visiting a single different page.

With a better user experience, the bounce rate of your website will thus decrease. With a low bounce rate, the search engines will consider content on your site interesting. This data therefore encourages the SEO of your website.

But if your website has not been developed using responsive design, it is certain that your website will have a large bounce rate whenever users visit your site on their mobile devices.

So avoid having a high bounce rate for the good of your positioning on search engines!

Keep your domain authority

As we have explained in the section on mobile websites, mobile sites have specific URLs beginning with “m”. What this means for the SEO of your website? By creating a mobile site, you risk losing your domain authority because in the end it will be a new website in the eyes of search engines.

In addition, a mobile site will not benefit from external links that have been established previously for the “desktop” version of the site. Links are one of the most important factors for SEO because they show the search engines that a website offers relevant information for users.

A company must thus work on the SEO classic website, but also on the mobile site. With a website using responsive design, your anxiety level regarding SEO will not be doubled.

Google and responsive design

The last positive impact responsive design has on SEO is simply that Google favors websites tailored to mobile use and above all, it is advised to use such a configuration.

Google announced in May 2016 that the mobile-friendly websites will be better positioned in the search results. In order for your website not to be affected by this update, you can make it easier for Google bots by using a responsive designed website. Besides, if you use a mobile site that is not related to your main site, Google might take longer index it.

Conclusion: Long live responsive design!

We strongly advise you to have a website developed using responsive design. You will make the lives of your mobile users easier, in addition to making it clear to search engines that your website is suitable for various mobile devices. The mobile trend is not about to stop, and Google updates will continually enhance the mobile experience, so it is critical that your SEO strategy be adapted.

If you want to make sure that your website is suitable for mobile, please use the Google test.

Do not hesitate to contact us at 514 572 7758 or via our contact form if you would talk to an expert who will answer all your questions.


Cofondatrice et Spécialiste SEO-SEM

Eugénie a commencé sa carrière en marketing Web chez Microsoft auprès de partenaires tels que Hewlett-Packard et Dell. En 2013, elle co-fonde My Little Big Web avec Maxence afin d'aider les PME à optimiser leur marketing Web. Ses compétences en SEO, publicité en ligne et expérience utilisateur permettent aux clients de My Little Big Web de se positionner rapidement et durablement en haut des résultats de recherche. Le partage de connaissances fait partie de ses priorités. Elle donne donc de nombreuses formations internes et externes ainsi que des conférences sur de multiples thèmes relatifs au marketing numérique.