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While PCs and laptops remain popular for conducting online searches, a large number of modern consumers also engage in what’s called multi-screening. In other words, in addition to searching on their desktop and laptop computers, these customers also frequently visit websites while on other mobile devices.
Given how common smartphones, tablets, and other internet accessible platforms are today, this should come as no big surprise. In fact, mobile searches already surpass desktop searches, and there is no turning back. Emerging devices like smart watches ensure that mobile searches will continue to increase.
Nevertheless, some small business owners still fail to realize the value of having a mobile friendly website.
Here are four top SEO benefits to having a mobile-responsive website.
#1 Mobile-Responsive Websites are Favored By Google
Given how important search rankings are to small businesses, it just makes sense to format your website according to advice from the top search engines.
In the case of Google, this recommendation is pretty clear. Specifically, the search giant has stated that it favors businesses with a mobile-responsive design over those who choose other options such as creating a separate mobile website.
And Google isn’t the only one. Bing has also made this same recommendation.
Of course, you can format your website however you’d like, but most business owners would be wise to take Google’s preferences into consideration.
In addition, Google has gone so far as to label mobile-friendly websites in search results, when conducted on a mobile device.
See the grey mobile-friendly label in the picture to the right, just under the green URL? (Click on the image to see a larger version.) If you’re website is not mobile-friendly it will be very clear to searchers and they will be less likely to visit your website when there are mobile-friendly options available.
#2 Better Linking and Ranking
As well as being preferred by Google and Bing, the single URL nature of a mobile-responsive website also results in a stronger linking setup. This is because all of your backlinks are going to the same domain instead of being divided between a desktop website and a separate mobile site.
Your overall page ranking benefits as well. After all, instead of your web traffic being diluted across multiple URLs, all of your SEO efforts are funneled into a single place. You also minimize the chance of being penalized for having duplicate content.
#3 Lower Bounce Rate and Load Time
Related to the linking setup described above, a mobile-responsive website also means that visitors on different devices won’t run into common accessibility problems.
Consider what happens if you have separate URLs and someone shares your desktop website. When their friend opens the link on a smartphone, they not only have to deal with a redirect and long load times, but also things like tiny fonts, elongated designs, or having to pinch-and-scroll.
These unpleasant accessibility issues cause the majority of visitors to quickly navigate away from your website, which hikes up your bounce rate.
In comparison, a responsive website reduces both of these problems. Specifically, the single URL format means no lengthy redirect times and also ensures that no matter what link was shared, the visitor accesses the version that is correctly formatted for their device.
#4 Reduced Maintenance and Costs
While it may cost a little more upfront, because we are designing for multiple device sizes, a mobile-responsive website is easier to manage and typically requires less time and money to maintain.
Specifically, the consolidated design means that you don’t have to reformat content or transfer new features twice, like you would with multiple websites.
Moreover, everything is streamlined so your marketing and development team won’t need to deal with as much web code, bug fixes, or worry about running two SEO campaigns.
Have questions or comments about mobile-responsive websites? Please share them below.
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To your success!