Responsive Web Design was listed as the #2 Top Design Trend by .net magazine in 2012. And when Forbes went on to publish an article about it, the concept was cemented in the minds of tech commentators. So what is Responsive Web Design? And why has it become almost mandatory from a mobile SEO point of view?
Responsive Web Design is an approach to web design, and as the name suggests, it is a manner of design that responds. It responds to a very particular technological development- the slow movement away from desktop usage to mobile usage. Through this, the designer ensures that a website is optimized to function glitchlessly on a device other than a desktop.
Tech gurus agree that the following three criteria essentially define this technique.
- Fluid Grid: Percentages are made use of to define column or div widths instead of pixels or points. For example, a “hero” might have a width of 650px in fixed width design, whereas it would be labelled as 100% in the CSS of a fluid width design.
- Media Queries: Media queries enable custom CSS based on the min-max width of a browser. For example, a media query with a max-width of 450px would be intended for mobile only browsers.
- Responsive Images: Similar in nature to the fluid grid, responsive images don’t have fixed widths but instead have a max-width (typically labelled at 100 percent when displayed on a desktop). This enables images to be scaled down to fit the width of the screen on which the webpage is rendered.
However, to come back to the question- WHY responsive design? Why not simply have a different website meant for non-desktop usage? Here’s why not. One, because Google said so. We take Google seriously because its market share is 67%. It has gone as far as to call it ‘best industry practice’. This makes Google’s job easier. They don’t have to choose between your desktop site and mobile site. Secondly, and most importantly, it simplifies user experience. Users can enjoy the same site over multiple devices and can share, link and interact with the content more accessibly.
Considering that both Google and an enhanced user experience are indispensable for your SEO strategy it is not difficult to see why a Responsive Web Design will boost your SEO efforts. Especially because experts predict that Mobile Internet usage would trump Desktop Internet usage as 2014 comes to a close. Moreover, your SEO strategy would be simplified. Otherwise, you must attempt two strategies- one for desktop, another for mobile. Using this technique would simplify strategy (now one SEO strategy would cover both desktop and mobile), conserve resources, and make everyone’s life much easier.
Resource: This article discusses Responsive Web Design and explains why it important for mobile SEO efforts. It concludes that RWD in fact simplifies SEO and is in sync with technological development. Find more about responsive website design .