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Say a website implements responsive design in order to display a proper user interface according to the screen width of the device (smartphone, tablet, laptop...).

Does Google display different search results according to the device's screen width? In other words, if a website displays a better user interface for smartphone than competition, will it rank better for queries made from smartphone?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 11 down vote accepted

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.

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Thanks John, its always good to get some official word on items like this. –  Stephen Ostermiller Oct 17 '13 at 14:13
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What about the speed boost mobile design usually gives? Isn't that factored in in the ranking? –  Ivo van der Veeken Oct 17 '13 at 14:16

It will. I made my site responsive (using the same URL's, just different design) and I saw the number of incoming visits from Google on mobile devices rise by about 20%.

Edit: seeing JohnMu's answer, this must have been because of the speed boost the new layout gave the site.

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..and you can somehow prove that the sudden influx of visits from smartphones were because your rankings were improved on said phones, and not because you had just redesigned your website? –  zzzzBov Oct 14 '13 at 15:51
    
I can't, but they were unique, non-returning visits originating from Google. That's good enough for me. Google displays different results for smartphones or desktops. A decent mobile design takes speed into consideration and so does Google in its rankings. 1 + 1 seems to be 2 here. –  Ivo van der Veeken Oct 15 '13 at 8:07
    
What happened to your desktop visits? Without that information, this doesn't answer the question. –  Brendon Oct 15 '13 at 9:56
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Stayed pretty much the same. I had a 10% overall rise of traffic coming from Google (50/50 desktop:mobile visits). It's not a seasonal site, so it didn't accidentally coincide with a normal rise in traffic. Only the mobile traffic from Google rose and it was a little over a week after the chance. I know there's no way to prove it was thanks to the faster layout, but everything points in that direction. I should have probably said these things in the answer. –  Ivo van der Veeken Oct 15 '13 at 10:10
    
Did you change the content? the structure? provide a sitemap with your redesign? ... for this to be scientific, only the DESIGN has to change... was that the case? (Sorry for being too orthodox about this, but it's important to tell the difference). –  Mario Awad Oct 18 '13 at 9:54

When you test your server perf in Page Speed Insights, if you're testing a responsive page, the result shows 2 different pages:

  1. for your computer view and
  2. for your mobile view.

So, I guess that it will probably increase your PageRank, like this article says.

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Yes it does. The thing which contributes is the mobile loading speed of your website. A slower website will sure lose its ranks and yes a website which appear to have poor display on mobile will have high bounce rate and thus causes to lose ranks.

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