One of the keys to modern web design is allowing websites to be viewed on multiple devices at different screen sizes with content and layout adjusting naturally to the size of the screen it is displayed on. This seamless adaptation can be achieved by responsive web design. The layout of the website can be manipulated depending on the size of the viewport on which it is displayed. This makes the website easier to use but also has many benefits for search engine optimization (SEO).
Imagine the websites that you use most often displaying in the same way on your computer and your phone. While the website may be well designed for larger displays if the layout is not optimized for the smaller screen size it may become cumbersome to use. Having to scroll a lot or zoom in to view website elements greatly degrade the user experience of visiting a website on a mobile device. These factors have been noted by major search engines.
Google uses how mobile-friendly a website is as a signal in ranking websites in search results on mobile devices. Considering the popularity of mobile devices and the popularity of the Google search engine having a responsive website is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury. Not only should websites fit on smaller screens but they should be optimized for use by touch enabled devices. This means navigation elements should be large enough for fingers to touch without activating neighbouring navigation elements.
Responsive web design is not just a fad but a best practice for designing modern websites. If your website is not yet responsive now is as good a time as any to upgrade. Although there are obvious benefits for search engine optimization the improvements in usability are the main reasons why your website should be mobile-friendly.