The Complete Guide to Google Recommended Responsive Web Design

Starting April 21st, 2015, Google uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This means if your website is still not up to code with mobile displays, you will be penalized in search results. In other words, your website will not show up in Google for mobile searches.

Comscore’s mobile usage report shows that since 2014, the growth of mobile browsing has surpassed desktop browsing. Mobile browsing accounts for 60% of total time spent on digital media.

Therefore, having a responsive design that can adapt to different user devices sets the foundation of web design and marketing.

What is Responsive Design?

A responsive web design or RWD will fit and function properly on any screen size. It is a compatible design that will render correctly on desktop, tablet and mobile devices.

Responsive design automatically detects and shifts webpage elements according to the device used to view the website. It works by grouping web elements into grids. These grids shift and rearrange according to different screen sizes. We will discuss this in a bit.

What are the Benefits of a Responsive Web Design?

So why choose a responsive design? We summed up six major reasons why a responsive web design will benefit your business. We will talk about each point in detail.

  1. Google recommends responsive design
  2. Works on all screen sizes
  3. Promotes UX (User Experience)
  4. SEO application syncs to any device
  5. More link juice with mobile opportunities
  6. Eliminates duplicate content penalty

1. Google Recommends Responsive Design

Google recommends a responsive design for a variety of reasons. The intent behind this concept is better content displaying, sharing, and indexing.

It is also one of the important metric Google uses to evaluate a website for SEO ranking. When Google sends bots to index your website, it only needs to crawl content under the same URL once with a responsive design.

Overall, it is a great choice because responsive design streamlines website management and optimization across all devices.

2. How Responsive Design Works on All Screen Sizes

You want to make sure that your website loads correctly on any screen size. Let’s take a look at the Google recommended responsive design and how it provides optimal viewing on multiple devices.

Let’s imagine your website as a 2x2 grid numbered one to four.

seo web responsive design 2x2

Now take this grid and make it to a 4x1 grid instead. This represents a widescreen view of your website.

seo web responsive design 4x1

Respectively, if the same 2x2 grid transforms into a 1x4 grid, it represents a narrower screen view of the same website.

seo web responsive design 1x4

So no matter how you stretch your website, all elements will responsively adjust accordingly to a user’s screen size. Whether your website is viewed on a 24-inch screen, a tablet, or a mobile phone, content will dynamically rearrange according to the viewing device.

3. Responsive Web Design Promotes User Experience

User experience or UX is one of the most essential metrics of successful online marketing. With different types of mobile devices emerging, businesses should make sure that their websites look and function well across all screen sizes.

Having a responsive website can improve user experience and at the same time enhance SEO effort. When elements on your website are easily navigable and have a logical flow, viewers are more likely to respond and engage.

A good design can ultimately help you to increase conversions and gain more business.

4. SEO Applications Syncs to Any Device

It is all about having a beautiful, functional, and intuitive website. Web design options have expanded vastly over the past years. Whether you are customizing your own website or using a pre-built template, choosing a design that works for both UX and SEO is vital to the success of online marketing. Having a responsive design strikes a balance between esthetics, usability, and optimization.

So how does a responsive design affect SEO? If your website lacks usability on mobile, Google will simply eliminate it from search results. On the contrary, when responsive design is applied correctly, all SEO implementations on the website will work seamlessly on any device.

5. More Link Juice with Mobile Opportunities

When you switch your website over to a responsive design, the same URL and HTML code are in place for desktop and mobile. This means, all links pointing to your main website also point to your mobile version without losing any link juice.

Link juice is an SEO term that describes the value created by an external or an internal link. For one thing, you will not need to create two separate designs for different devices. So all the SEO work and tracking you have in place on the website works for both desktop and mobile search. Now you have 2 opportunities to rank and receive traffic.

6. Responsive Design Eliminates Duplicate Content Penalty

Remember Google Panda? It punishes websites that produce duplicate content in an attempt to cheat the ranking system.

So is it a concern that your website has the same content on desktop and mobile? Nope, you don’t have to worry.

Since responsive design serves the same URL on all devices, there is no issue with indexing the same content twice. That is one of the biggest reasons why Google recommends the responsive design.

How to Build a Responsive Website

You have many options when it comes to making a responsive website. If you have a design and marketing team, you may want to build everything ground up according to the specific needs of your business.

If you want to avoid the complications of a custom design, then you have the option to buy a premade template. Both are good options as long as the design has a good navigational flow and delivers a great user experience.

Custom Web Design

If you know what works for your business, it is a great idea to create a website to your exact standards. Even if you do not have an on-site design team, you can always draft your own design in programs like Adobe Photoshop and hire a freelance web developer to code it for you.

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Adobe Creative Suite

  • Photoshop is the industry standard for web design works. It is easy to use, versatile and intuitive
  • Your work is automatically synced and accessible through web, desktop, and mobile with Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Subscription comes with your own online portfolio website, premium fonts, and free cloud storage

$19.99 Monthly

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99Designs is a reputable network that manages and streamlines freelancer hiring. You can post a job or vet the networks for an appropriate contractor to execute your design. The freelancer’s ratings, past works, and reviews can be checked before the hiring to make sure you find the right fit.





  • Pick from dozens of design services from logo, website, or advertising designs
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Template Web Design

There are many beautiful, responsive website templates out there for sale. Template makers like Template Monster and GavickPro have huge selections of responsive designs that fit almost every type of business.

Website Template



Template Monster

  • Get the best Wordpress, Joomla, or Magento template themes to meet your business needs
  • Gain access to thousands of design templates that are all responsive and mobile friendly
  • Modernize your website with a new look and feel to improve user experience

Start with Free Templates

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Installation comes with instruction and is easy to do. Choose a template that works with your CMS (Content Management Systems). Two of the most popular CMS are Joomla and WordPress.

In addition, you can customize color themes or further manipulate the design to fit your business needs.

Learn about responsive web design and how it works with Google Developers.

Design for SEO Success

Ultimately, responsive design is functional, appealing, and user-friendly. However, it does not automatically ensure that you get the best SEO performance.

Design work is only half the work. Content optimization, keyword research, and link building all need to work together with a good design to convert SEO results.

Learn more about how to improve your website’s organic conversions.

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