Steps to Boost Ranking for responsive sites in 2017

The first and foremost question that we all have in our mind is what is SEO? SEO as we know it or Search Engine Optimization is nothing but a process which affects the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine unpaid results. SEO may target different kinds of searches including image search, video search, news etc. SEO services companies as an internet marketing strategy consider what people search for, the actual search terms and the keywords that they use while searching and majorly knowing which search engine is preferred by which target audience. Optimizing a website search etc. may also involve editing its content and associated coding to increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers of search engines. Here is a graphic showing the working of SEO services companies.

To make sure that our site shows up in search results we first have to configure them accordingly. According to the Web Design and Development Company, there are three ways by which we can configure our SEO site in accordance with various devices.

Those three ways our –

1. Responsive Web designs — these refer to web pages that serve the same HTML Code on the URL regardless the user’s device and will render differently based on the screen size.

2. Adaptive Sites — this type of configuration uses the same URL in any device but creates a different HTML for a different device based on what the server on the device knows.

3. Separate URL’s — these types of pages serve different codes to each different device. This configuration tries to detect the user’s device and then redirects to the appropriate page using HTTP reader.

The most recommended type of configuration by Google is Responsive Web Design.

Hence, this brings us to the ongoing debate of whether the responsive sites get a ranking boost or not.

Any Digital Marketing Agency would prefer choosing the responsive design sites, but choosing these sites would not give us any ranking boosts on the search engine lists. There is no doubt in the benefits that we get by choosing the responsive sites, but none of these benefits include ranking boosts. The responsive sites have been given preference by the Google social media managers as having the same URL makes the work easier for them. This leaves them with less technical issues to deal with. There have been a lot of ongoing debates on this topic. The debates were finally put to an end by the Google’s John Muller that the responsive get no ranking benefits what so ever. There have been various proofs on this matter. Here down below we give you some of the proofs that have been put forward that the responsive sites are not given any ranking benefits.

Proof that responsive site are not given benefits

To test that the responsive sites are not given special ranking boost we undertook a hypothesis. The results of the test taken were as follows.

The major points that need to be taken into consideration and checked for by us before undergoing the test are –

1. When we look at the websites which get us majority organic traffic from online Google search they turn out to be responsive sites.

2. The majority of the sites in 2017 are responsive in nature hence the percentage of sites with a lot of Google search traffic that are responsive are likely to be higher than the percentage of sites overall.

3. The websites that get the majority traffic from search will have a higher percentage of responsive sites as opposed to other forms of configurations used.

In order to test this, we had undertaken a survey, we looked at the top 100 sites, and the top sites were the sites with most organic mobile search traffic from Google. After the survey, we had to remove some of the sites due to parental advisory content and were left with ninety-four sites. These shortlisted sites were then noted down in the Screaming Frog application to help us see which sites were redirected to separate URLs. The rest of them were checked upon by us manually to see if they were adaptive or responsive. After this process, we came to a conclusion that the hypothesis failed. The three points mentioned above did not hold true. Hence this helps us in proving that Google does not give a ranking boost to responsive sites.

Now when it comes to the top 100 sites with most traffic, responsive is the most common mobile configuration strategy holding the share of 54% followed by adaptive sites at 28% and URLs at 17%. These data in accordance with the SEMRush top 100. Also, none of the above-shortlisted sites were un-mobile friendly all of them were a part of any of the three options. This helps in satisfying the first point but it doesn’t prove ranking boost of any sorts.

If Google were to give preference to responsive sites then the percentage of top sites would have had a higher percentage of responsive sites than overall sites as measured by organic traffic. According to the study published in the Smashing Magazine, we know that the percentages of all sites that are responsive are 52.11 percent. Hence, the percentage of responsive sites in the top 100 is high only by 2.06 percent. We have almost similar figures for the URL sites. The percentage of URL sites in the top 100 is higher just by merely a percentage. Hence, the conclusion drawn from this comparison is that none of these differences are statistically significant to us.

However, when we look at the difference in the percentage of adaptive sites we find a huge amount of differences. We have to keep in mind that when the survey was conducted we did not take into consideration sites with no mobile configurations. Whereas when we consider the overall percentages of the sites we find that sites with no mobile configuration have also been taken into consideration. Hence, we can conclude that

1. Mobile configurations make a difference in the ranking as there are much lower sites with no mobile configurations in the SEMRush Sample than in the overall sample.

2. It could be possible that the adaptive sites are given ranking boosts as there is a number of adaptive sites in the top sites than in the sample of overall sites.

It is also likely that there is a number of adaptive sites in the sample of top 100 sites as adaptive designs are only achieved with significant resources and it is assumed that the top sites in the world have access to greater resources than an average blog or local business site.

Hence the bottom line is that we found nothing in our survey to suggest that responsive sites are somehow more successful at SEO than sites that use Google’s other two supported mobile configurations.

When we go back to the last criterion that we have on our list we don’t see responsive sites ranking boosts either. The top site that we have on our list is Wikipedia, which is an example of the separate URL type of configuration that Google uses. It is a similar situation for those next in line which is Facebook, Youtube, imdb.com. The next two in line Amazon and Google, however, are examples of an adaptive type of configuration. Amongst the top 10, we only have responsive site fb.com which is a domain of Facebook.

The largest sites that we have listed are not responsive sites they are of the separate URL type configuration. Hence, we see that the URL type sites get more search traffic as compared to the responsive sites.

Now that you know the facts about the responsive sites you observe that the sites are given no ranking boosts but are merely preferred as they make our work easier. Apart from this a lot of Social media management teams also tend to prefer responsive sites as they give us a wide database which is exactly what they look for.

With above given extensive research we can come to a conclusion that in no way does Google give ranking boosts to responsive sites. The myth was just broken by us. As an SEO services companies, we might recommend our clients to go for responsive sites as this would help is avoiding a lot of technical issues and also would make the workload less for us. But with the developing web design companies, we can always give a try to the other two types of configurations as well.

Also according to the extensive hypothesis that we just conducted, it is believed that the responsive sites don’t give us the desired search traffic outputs that we need. Even after being immensely efficient and extremely mobile friendly we don’t seem to get the desired outputs by following the configuration settings of the responsive sites. But the research did show us the benefits if the other two types of configurations. With the largest sites in the world following the URL type configuration, most of the companies would also want to stick to the same. This is because as seen in the hypothesis above us can clearly see that the amount of search traffic we get from the URL type is in majority when compared with the search traffic that we get from the responsive sites. Similar numbers have been seen with the adaptive sites.

Therefore, Now that you know the true facts of the configurations it is your call to choose which configuration you would like to opt for.

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