How a Non-responsive Website Can Hurt Your Organic Search Ranking

Nov 25, 2014

The Google organic search algorithm is believed to contain about 232 factors that are used to determine a website’s ranking for a relevant search query. While many local business marketers understand the importance of acquiring inbound links and adding descriptive meta tags to their web pages, they frequently overlook or choose to ignore one critically important category of ranking factors: website responsiveness.

A businessperson on a limited budget may be tempted to hire a website designer “on the cheap” who has little or no experience with creating responsive websites. Only after the website proves difficult or impossible to rank well in the search engines does the high cost of that low price become evident.

can non-resposive websites hurt organic ranking?

What Exactly is a Responsive Website?
A responsive website is designed to provide the visitor with the best possible viewing experience. Responsive websites are quick to load and easy to navigate with a minimum of scrolling, panning, and resizing required no matter what type of device the visitor is using – desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

Is My Website Load Speed Really That Important?
Your website load speed is important enough for Google to include it as a factor in its search ranking algorithm. Visitors have high expectations for websites, expecting them to load in less than 2 seconds, and a large percentage will simply click away at the 3 second mark; personal computers in the U.S. have an average load speed of 3.5 seconds, with computers worldwide trailing at a sluggish 6 seconds.

Speed is important to Google because visitors who become frustrated with your site’s slow loading site may not only bounce from your site, they may abandon Google altogether for another search engine.

How Does My Web Page Design Affect My Search Ranking?

  • The more user-friendly your website is, the more likely it will rank well. A user-friendly site provides a better experience, reduces navigational problems, and enables the user to find information quickly and with the least amount of effort. The better experience a user has with your website, the less likely he or he is to “bounce” away. The lower your bounce rate, the better the rankings you are likely to achieve.
  • If you offer both desktop and mobile versions of your site, it may rank lower than a competitor who has a responsive site. Google has declared that responsive sites represent industry best practice because they are less confusing and more easily navigated by the user. With responsive web design, the same elements are still on the page across all versions – only slightly altered.
  • Multiple versions of your website may create duplicate content problems. Unless you create different content for each version, you are likely to receive a penalty from Google for duplicate content.
  • A responsive website allows you to build inbound links only once for your main site, which will translate over to your mobile version. Instead of splitting up your link juice across multiple sites, you will be able to concentrate your efforts for maximum effect and SEO benefit.