efore we talk about responsive websites and their benefits, we should make sure that we understand this term. What is a responsive website? This is website coded in such a way, that it renders itself to the visitor in a way that is tailored to the device that visitor is using to view the page. Please refer to the following image.
What the image is showing if that should a visitor view the website on a desktop computer, the website will display conforming to the resolution of the desktop monitor. Should however, the visitor view the same site, but on a smartphone or tablet, then the same website would appear in a correspondingly different layout.
The reason for this is the following: if we were to show the same content, laid out in the same way to the smartphone user, that visitor would have to pinch, zoom, and drag their way through the site content. Alternatively, with a layout formatted for the user's device, the visitor can simply read through the content in the most intuitive manner that suits the device.
This is essentially reason number one – responsive websites enhance the user experience of the site visitor. Moreover, should the layout of your site prove cumbersome to the smartphone visitor, the time spent on site would go down, and the site's bounce rate would go up thus negatively influencing your site's SEO performance.
In addition to lowering bounce rate, search engines like Google have announced that they are returning search results from those sites that serve mobile friendly content, over those sites that do not. Here again – one can see that responsive websites are a good tool to help increase SEO performance.
As recently as July of 2014, Google unveiled yet another change to the way their search engine returns search results. They are now warning that a site may not display correctly, or at all on your device, if they find long deprecated technology such as Flash* content on the site.
One final SEO benefit to responsive websites is that there is only one domain to optimize. In the old days (before responsive sites) one would be forced to maintain, update, and optimize two different sites. This increases the long-term cost of ownership by increasing the time spent on even the simplest of updates. Responsive sites offer the far better option of only having one site to maintain, update, and optimize.
Responsive design is not a fad. It's a new standard, at least for now as it is not news to say that the Internet is here, nor is it news to say that we are accessing it with increased frequency from an ever increasing collection of web-enabled devices. It is exciting to know that this technology exists and can be affordably integrated into today's websites.