Google: Responsive Design Doesn't Give You A Ranking Boost

Oct 18, 2013 • 8:29 am | comments (18) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Responsive Web Design & GoogleGoogle's John Mueller posted in a Stack Exchange thread that responsive design doesn't give you a ranking boost.

Yes, Google does officially recommend responsive as the approach to going mobile. But going responsive, doesn't give you more of a ranking boost that using any of the three accepted approaches to smartphone optimized sites.

Google does demote non-mobile friendly smartphone sites from ranking so well on mobile. And if you mess up with the techniques, they can hurt.

But responsive over different HTML with same URL, doesn't necessarily give you a ranking boost.

Google's John Mueller said:

No. Google currently doesn't differentiate sites like that.

You may see indirect effects (smartphone users liking your responsive site and recommending it to others), but we don't use that as a ranking factor. We are starting to use common configuration errors to adjust the rankings in smartphone search results though.

Forum discussion at Stack Exchange.

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David McSweeney

10/18/2013 12:37 pm

Ah well... I still think responsive is the way to go for offering the best user experience. Also much easier to maintain. Although... I guess the improved user experience might lead to more user engagement (shares/likes/comments etc), so the social signals might end up giving a rankings boost anyway.

Michael W

10/18/2013 12:37 pm

Good points. A responsive design will help webmasters avoid the issues that can surface in the creation of multiple websites for different devices and requires more maintenance. But at the same token, webmasters must be aware of the load time differences between desktop and mobile and make sure they have kept the difference in mind or you'll have a very slow responsive site on a mobile device!


10/18/2013 01:20 pm

responsive design doesn't but quality of website does, responsiveness is improving user experience so... also it's making things easier for backend use, then having 2-3 versions of same web.

Jonatas Leonel

10/18/2013 01:51 pm

Good point, I was expecting this response from someone like John Mu. A myth that is not a myth. Google itself is giving 3 different ways of creating a mobile website, so all of those 3 should be considered equally. Main concern here should be experience + performance.


10/18/2013 03:54 pm

If your building a responsive site to please search engines then there is something seriously wrong with you. Your decision to have a responsive site just be that it provides users a better user experience and as such should reduce bounce rate and improve conversion rates. What Google think should not really come into the decision anyway.

Jérôme Verstrynge

10/18/2013 04:32 pm

Glad my SO question finally got a clear answer !!!


10/18/2013 04:39 pm

I don't thnk anyone said they were building responsive to please search engines. I agree with your comment about user experience.


10/18/2013 09:48 pm

Best practices don't guarantee a boost in rankings.

osman musa

10/19/2013 01:23 am

My site was responsive from the beginning. In an era of mobile devices it would be wise to have responsive design.

Sergiu Draganus

10/19/2013 06:54 am

it doesn't gives you a direct ranking boost but it definitely improve mobile users browsing behavior ( time on site, page views etc ) plus social behavior ( like, plus, share, review ), which could make google rank your site better, at least for Local Rankings, reviews will definitely help. Conversion rate for mobile users will also be improved.

Richard Boss

10/19/2013 07:56 am

A responsive design website is made for mobile users and business will also be increased. In short means, responsive design attaract to users.

Rahul Trivedi

10/19/2013 01:26 pm

What about Google Mobile? It will boost the google mobile ranking.


10/19/2013 05:04 pm

happy google, we promise you to not tell good things about you to peoples.

Gracious Store

10/20/2013 04:04 am

It is good that responsive design is not one of the ranking factors, but even at that many webmasters and businesses will make their site to be responsive so as to attract users from different platforms including users from all type of smartphones and mobiles

Sharjeel Sunderani

10/20/2013 12:08 pm

50% are mobile users so mobile site is compulsory to capture them but what about those websites using, do they get better ranking?

Dinesh singh

10/23/2013 12:37 pm

I am not agree with your words, i can see you many very small websites going high in the matter of SEO ranking.I have a lot exp about this


10/28/2013 11:30 am

I 100% agree with this post because responsive design is for mobile users who want to access website perfectly, but getting raking is different thing is coming by organic traffic and social media. I am not saying that responsive designing is not affected ranking but ranking is not depend on it.

Rashid Manhas

12/22/2013 06:23 pm

Finaly got the one i am searching for

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