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7 Top SEO Benefits Of Responsive Web Design

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7 Top SEO Benefits Of Responsive Web Design


“Responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern.”

The responsiveness of your website is unequivocally an important factor in improving user experience and avoiding common SEO pitfalls that can hinder your Google rankings.

And while responsive web design is not a confirmed ranking factor, Google has implied its importance on multiple occasions.

But how to create a responsive website – structurally and visually – is a practice that alludes to many marketers and designers alike.

The good news is that there are detailed steps to improving the responsiveness of your website.

Let’s start now.

Here are seven ways having a responsive website benefits your SEO strategy, as well as some tips on how to make your site more user-friendly.

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What Is “Responsive Web Design”?

Responsive Web Design (RWD) involves creating web pages that render well across a variety of devices and screen sizes.

In this way, web designers are able to create a website experience that accommodates the many different ways users access and interact with websites.

Mobile traffic accounts for nearly half of all web traffic, globally.

This means it is essential for website owners to have websites that are accessible and easy to navigate, even on a small screen (such as a tablet or smartphone).

Why You Need A Responsive Website

Many website owners have been slow to adopt responsive web design, despite the slew of published statistics that show responsiveness produces a better user experience.

Considering that 61% of users will never return to a website that’s not mobile-friendly, the adoption of a responsive environment seems like a no-brainer.

This fact alone should be a good reason for website owners to prioritize the user web experience and opt for a more responsive design.

1. Google Prioritizes Mobile-First

It’s no secret that Google has moved toward a “mobile-first” approach in recent years.

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With more users searching from mobile devices than ever before, it’s become increasingly important for websites to be easily rendered on any device.

See also  James Pate On SEO At IBM & Using Airtable For Managing Enterprise SEO Data

Google aims to provide valuable and accessible content to users.

The algorithm is most inclined to rank a site that fits the bill – by being responsive and user-friendly.

Google favors websites that are optimized for mobile devices and have adopted a mobile responsive web design.

2. Improved Usability

Time on Page can be an important indication of whether your content matches what the user is searching for and whether they’ve had a positive experience on your site.

The reasoning is that if a user is unsatisfied by your content (or, in this case, your website experience), then they are unlikely to stick around.

Responsive web design makes websites more accessible, fast, and easier to navigate.

It makes it easier for users to then find the information they are looking for and typically encourages them to stay on your site.

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Plus, fantastic usability may encourage users to come back to your website in the future.

And not only are users staying on your site for longer, but they are far more likely to turn into paying customers or subscribers.

3. Better Customer Experience

Google is primarily concerned with keeping users happy by showing them the content they are most interested in.

Create a user-focused experience, and Google is likely to reward you with higher rankings in the search results.

Responsive web design is essential in creating a positive experience for users.

Happy users are more likely to turn into subscribers, leads, and paying customers.

Having a responsive website is one of many ways to ensure users have a positive experience on your site.

4. Improved Page Speed

Page speed is another factor that greatly impacts your SEO and, in turn, your rankings in Search.

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How quickly your website loads can make or break a user’s experience with your site.

See also  Google’s Mueller Offers Two Tips for Getting Indexed

Then, it’s no surprise that your website should be optimized to load quickly and without hiccups.

Mobile responsive websites load faster on both mobile and desktop devices.

Optimize your page speed for more traffic and conversions on your website.

5. Lower Bounce Rate

Bounce rate refers to how quickly users visit and then immediately leave your website.

This metric can be an indication of whether your site satisfies the user’s search.

A high bounce rate may also hint that your website didn’t load quickly or didn’t provide the positive experience users were looking for.

The result may then be an increase in your bounce rate and even a drop in your rankings for that search query.

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It doesn’t just come down to content, though.

Your content may be fantastic, but if your web design makes it difficult for users to navigate the site, users will drop off and look for information elsewhere.

6. Avoid Duplicate Content

When you prioritize the responsiveness of your website, you necessarily start to pay attention to your site’s content and UX overall.

And while responsive web design is not necessarily the mechanism by which duplicate content is prevented, it can often help you catch this common pitfall.

When building or redesigning your site, it’s easy to accidentally create two versions of your website – one mobile and one desktop – which can lead to duplicate content issues.

Though the two URLs may be different, the content is often the same, and this can confuse Google as to what content to prioritize.

Responsive web design best practices emphasize creating a single, mobile-responsive version of your website.

See also  What It Is & How To Use It

This can help prevent URL duplication across two versions of your site.

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At the same time, it’s important to keep your eye out for other duplicate content issues.

7. More Social Shares

When users like your content, they’re more likely to share it with their friends.

Having a responsive website makes it easy for users to engage with your site, thoroughly enjoy your content, and then share it on social media.

Many RWD designers build sites with social sharing capabilities in mind to make it easy for users to share your content far and wide.

Though social shares don’t directly impact rankings, they do help you grow your audience online.

More social traffic means more users visiting your site, which could mean even more customers or subscribers for your business.

Additionally, a great social media presence can drum up more visibility for your website.

With easy-to-use social share buttons, your mobile-ready site will encourage users to share your content, reaching a much wider audience.

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Offer Users A Fast, Friendly Mobile Experience

Establishing a mobile-friendly strategy as the base of your website design (or redesign) will set your site up for success.

A responsive design puts users first, makes it easy for them to engage with your site, and gives the “thumbs up” to Google that your site is built for search on any device.

Planning your web design from the get-go will also help you establish a fully optimized structure that’s easily accessible on any device.

Having a solid framework from the beginning will help set your website up for SEO success.

Is your site mobile-ready? It’s time to step it up with a responsive, user-friendly design.

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Featured Image: muhammedbinzain/Shutterstock

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A Simple (But Complete) Guide

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A Simple (But Complete) Guide

Making money via blogging is real. Whether you’ve just started a blog or have been running one for a while, implementing tried and tested tips can greatly help you increase your blogging income. And that’s what you came here for.

But before that, here’s my story.

I started blogging in 2012 (when “Blogspot” was a thing). Over the years, I’ve started and run multiple blogs. While a few have been successful, a lot of them failed. 

However, blogging has changed my life completely. It has helped me generate side income, get freelance writing opportunities like this one from Ahrefs, job offers, and more.

And I’m super excited to share everything with you in this guide, which I’ve divided into two parts.

Let’s dive into the first.

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Four steps to start driving traffic that you can monetize

Many people who start blogging believe they need huge amounts of traffic to earn a decent income. However, that’s not true. 

High traffic doesn’t necessarily translate to higher income. 

No matter what niche you’re in, focusing on driving traffic that you can monetize is critical. You can do this in four steps.

Step 1. Choose a profitable niche 

Today, people blog about everything, including knitting. But not all niches are profitable.

For example, niches like making money online, finance, and health are more profitable than gardening and outdoor sports. 

However, it’s also a fact that the most profitable niches are often the most competitive, and choosing them may lower the chances of your success. 

Hence, the first step before starting a blog is to check if the niche is profitable and how competitive it is.

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Look for affiliate programs 

One quick way to determine if a niche is profitable is by checking the number of affiliate programs in it. You can do this via a quick search on Google. Try searching for niche + affiliate programs, e.g., “knitting affiliate programs.” 

Google SERP for "knitting affiliate programs"

You can also check the top blogs in the niche and see if they’re:

  • Selling any digital products.
  • Promoting any product as an affiliate.
  • Providing consultancy services.

And more.

Page about knitting materials reader needs to follow tutorials

Check the competition 

Choosing a less competitive niche has multiple advantages. For example, it can help you attract organic traffic faster. Here’s how to do it.

1. Look up the topics you want to write about on Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.

Ahrefs' Content Explorer search results for term "knitting"

2. Switch to the “Websites” tab to see the top 100 websites that cover the topic.

List of top 100 websites in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

3. Click through to the Organic Keywords report (in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer) from the caret next to the domain name in Content Explorer.

4. Check the Keyword Difficulty (KD) score, Cost Per Click (CPC), and traffic for each of the top 50–100 non-branded keywords. 

Organic Keywords report results in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

If you’re still confused about which niche to pick, we recently covered the six best niches for affiliate marketing that are both profitable and uncompetitive.

Write what you’re passionate about 

More than the profitability and competition of the niche, your passion for the niche plays a huge role in the success of your blog. 

When you’re passionate about something, you can write effortlessly for a long period of time without worrying about traffic and revenue. It also gives you a competitive edge, as the published articles will be unique and impactful (because they will contain your personal experience). 

To summarize, you should choose a niche that:

  • Is profitable.
  • Has low or medium competition.
  • Is something you’re passionate about (most important!). 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l45QlTFNWaQ

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Step 2. Develop the right mindset 

Developing great content takes a lot of time. So even if you’ve chosen the perfect niche, it will take a long time for you to build an audience that you can monetize to generate blogging income. 

Hence, compared to something, e.g., freelance writing, where you earn money after every article you write, a blog requires a lot of consistent hard work and time.

This is why having the right mindset is critical. Here’s my advice to anyone looking to start a blog:

  • Start a blog for the long haul, as it can take multiple years to see any significant results
  • Block a time (e.g., around 30 minutes) every day for blogging 
  • Focus on content quality and promotion rather than revenue in the early stages
  • Don’t blog full-time unless you have a predictable income coming in every month and/or have a comfortable emergency fund
See also  Google: Webpages with Featured Snippets Won’t Appear Twice on Page 1

Step 3. Build credibility

Whether you’re promoting an affiliate product or an ebook, readers will be much more likely to convert when they trust you. 

Building credibility may seem more important in a few niches (e.g., health and fitness). But if you’re serious about growing your blogging income, you should focus on credibility too.

Also, building trust among your readers takes time. However, you can get started by:

  • Creating a good About Us page. Try telling your true story (as Pat Flynn has done in the example below) and why readers should trust what you write. We’ve briefly explained how Wirecutter does it in our SEO case study.
  • Showcasing comments and shout-outs from readers. 
  • Sharing website metrics like monthly visitors, number of email subscribers, and students (if you sell a digital product).
  • Showcasing websites you’ve been featured in (also in an example below). 
Page about Pat Flynn
Publications (in grid format) that Ryan Robinson is featured on

Step 4. Focus on building an email list 

Email is not just another distribution channel. 

Email subscribers are your true fans. And whether you want to promote a blog, launch a new course, or plug an ebook, there’s no better way to launch and drive traffic than by sharing the content with your email subscribers. 

You can get started on building an email list by adding a blog subscription box in the sidebar or promoting an email newsletter. A few other popular ways of building an email list are by:

  • Providing checklists as content upgrades (see example below).
  • Launching an email course.
Page to download free basic budget template

Six ways to make money blogging

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Before getting into the different monetization ways, here are some things you should keep in mind before leveraging them:

  • While diversifying your blogging income is important, you don’t need to capitalize on all the different ways.
  • Try focusing on one monetization method at a time. 
  • Never scrape off a monetization method until you’ve given it enough time. 

That being said, here are the six main ways to make money blogging:

  1. Advertising
  2. Affiliate marketing
  3. Sponsorships
  4. Selling digital products
  5. Paid communities
  6. Consulting and freelance writing

Let’s look into each of these in more detail.

1. Advertising

Let’s start with the most popular monetization method: advertising. Most bloggers start their journey by leveraging ad networks—the most popular being Google AdSense—to generate income. 

How do bloggers make money through advertising? 

Most advertising platforms pay a fee for every thousand impressions, also known as CPM (cost per mille). This depends on various factors like the user’s location, type of ad, and the advertiser. 

For example, impressions from geographies like the U.S. and U.K. will earn you a higher advertising income compared to impressions from Asia. 

A few popular advertisement platforms are Google AdSense, Media.net, and PropellerAds.

Drawbacks

  • Most ad platforms give you limited control over the type of advertisements you want to show your readers. 
  • Advertisements also hurt the user experience of the reader. This can be minimized by placing the ads in the right places and reducing the number of ads per page. 
  • When compared to other monetization methods like affiliate marketing, income from advertising per visitor is the smallest. 

Featured website – Search Engine Journal

Search Engine Journal is a popular blog in the SEO niche that leverages advertisements as a monetization channel. Since the majority of its content is about marketing and SEO news, advertisements make a lot of sense for the blog. 

Example of ad on SEJ article

2. Affiliate marketing 

Affiliate marketing is the most effective monetization method bloggers can leverage to generate income. Unlike advertisements where you get a few dollars per thousand impressions, affiliate programs pay you up to 90% of the total sales generated through your referral link. 

From Amazon to GoDaddy, many companies have affiliate programs. And joining most of them is fairly simple. 

How does affiliate marketing work? 

When you join any affiliate program, you’re given a unique referral link. Any sale generated through this link is attributed to you for a certain period of time (usually one to two months). 

Companies pay a percentage of the total sales generated from your link in the form of affiliate revenue. This is usually a fixed percentage that can increase upon negotiation or when you’ve successfully reached a certain milestone. 

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For example, if you run a blog about gardening, you can recommend gardening equipment by sharing Amazon affiliate links.

See also  The Beginner's Guide to Lifecycle Marketing

Recommended reading: Affiliate Marketing for Beginners: What It Is + How to Succeed

Best practices to follow

While joining an affiliate program and promoting a certain product are fairly simple, here are a few additional best practices that you should know:

  • Before joining any affiliate program, be sure to read the guidelines to understand things such as commission, minimum payout threshold, and more.
  • You should track your affiliate links using WordPress plugins like Pretty Links or other similar tools. 
  • You should ensure all affiliate links have nofollow or sponsored attributes. This is an SEO best practice. 
  • For authentic and detailed product reviews, try to use the product yourself if possible. Most software affiliate programs are open to providing free access to the tools for a limited time. You can also survey your readers to gain insights. 

A few popular affiliate platforms are Amazon Affiliate Program, ShareASale, and ClickBank.

Featured website – RyRob.com

Ryan Robinson runs RyRob.com, a popular blog in the “make money online” niche. Affiliate marketing is one of the primary ways he earns revenue through his blog. 

Most of the sales are generated through reviews of blogging tools and web hosting companies. You can read one of his latest blog income reports to gain more insights. 

CTA asking site visitors to use Bluehost, a web hosting service

3. Sponsorships

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you may have already received inquiries for sponsorships. This may be in the form of sponsored articles, newsletter sponsorships, advertisement banners, and more. 

Sponsorships are a great way bloggers can earn money. However, finding a sponsor is difficult, especially when you’re just starting out. 

To get sponsors consistently, you need to build a strong brand and have good traffic and engagement numbers to show.

How do sponsorships work? 

Most bloggers are paid a one-time fee for publishing a sponsored article or for a newsletter placement (as shown in the example below). 

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The fee is often based on the reach the blog/newsletter can provide. For newsletter sponsorships, for example, sponsors look at relevancy and metrics like active email subscribers, average open rate, and click rate. 

If you run a newsletter, you should consider monetizing it through email sponsorships. 

Example of a sponsored newsletter

Best practices to follow

  • Be sure to disclose when an article is sponsored
  • Share your honest feedback when writing a sponsored post/review because it’s not worth losing the trust of your followers

In the past few years, more companies have been leveraging sponsorships to generate brand awareness and leads. Here’s an example of Ahrefs collaborating with Harry Dry, who runs MarketingExamples.

MarketingExample's homepage: short write-up about Ahrefs and link to Ahrefs' site can be seen on page

4. Selling digital products 

Selling digital products is a great monetization method to generate blogging income, especially when you’ve built a strong brand. Alongside its scalability, you don’t need to worry about the challenges that come with selling physical products, e.g., shipping.

The best part about selling digital products is that you create them once and sell them forever (while making minor changes).

Here are some popular digital products that bloggers sell:

  1. Ebooks
  2. Online and cohort-based courses
  3. Printables

Ebooks

If you want to experiment with digital products, start by launching an ebook. Unlike a course, writing and then publishing an ebook are comparatively easier to do.

Harsh Agarwal, the person behind the popular blogging blog, ShoutMeLoud, launched multiple ebooks in the past. One of them is “The Handbook to Affiliate Marketing.” 

Page about ShoutMeLoud's ebook, "The Handbook to Affiliate Marketing"

The ebook was launched a few years ago. Since then, it has generated a consistent monthly income for Harsh. After publishing it, he just had to spend a few hours every year refreshing the content. 

A few popular platforms for selling ebooks are Gumroad and Payhip.

Online and cohort-based courses

Online learning has exploded, and the recent pandemic has fueled its growth further. People want to learn from their favorite creators who’ve already made it big in a particular niche. 

Most successful bloggers run online courses, and it’s also often their top three income sources. For example, Ryan promotes the course “Built to Blog” on his blog, RyRob.com.

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Page about the "Built to Blog" course

Even though courses are more impactful and valuable, the sad truth is most students don’t complete courses. 

If that’s also your experience, try cohort-based courses. Unlike prerecorded courses, these courses are online where a batch of students are taught at a time. 

See also  SEM vs. SEO vs. PPC Defined: What’s the Difference?

A few popular platforms for hosting and selling courses are Teachable and Podia.

Featured cohort-based course – PTYA

Ali Abdaal runs a successful cohort-based course known as Part-Time YouTuber Academy, where he teaches students how to start and grow their YouTube channels from 0K to 10K subscribers. 

CTA asking site visitors to join the waiting list for PTYA, Cohort 6

Printables and more

You can also sell printables on your blog, including cheat sheets, planners, and other templates, to generate revenue. You can also sell digital versions of such content—similar to what Marijana Kostelac does on her blog, Freelance Bold.

CTA asking site visitors to buy project planner

5. Paid communities 

As bloggers, you may already have thousands of engaged followers whom you describe as your “true fans.” 

While you may be interacting with them through comments and emails, you can take it a step further by starting a paid community. 

With platforms like Patreon, Slack, and Memberstack, you can get started within a few minutes. 

Featured community – Peak Freelance 

Elise Dopson started Peak Freelance, a community for freelance writers. Being a successful freelance writer and having contributed to websites like CoSchedule and Shopify, she decided to share her knowledge with other freelance writers—especially those just starting out. 

Starting a paid community is a great way for her to share her knowledge in exchange for a small monthly fee.

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CTA encouraging site visitors to join paid community

Today, communities are more than a platform to get questions answered. You can organize monthly Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions, host other influencers from the industry, and more. 

For example, alongside the membership, Elise grants members access to monthly town halls, private podcasts, a data library (containing statistics), and more. 

Page showing what all-access members can enjoy, e.g., book club, monthly town halls, etc

If you’re starting out, you can build a free community and plan to monetize it later. 

The secret to any thriving community is that it genuinely needs to add value. 

If you already run a paid community, you can look at scaling it by hiring a dedicated resource who assists you with onboarding, organizing events, flagging spam content, and more. 

Best practices for starting a paid community 

Before you build your paid community, here are a few things to keep in mind. It’s important to: 

  • Create a community guideline and ensure it’s shared with all members. On Slack, you can create workflows that trigger a warning message when certain keywords are detected. 
  • Accept members who can truly benefit from the community. 
  • Onboard new members, but don’t forget to also take feedback from existing members and implement the changes.

6. Consulting and freelance writing

If you’ve been blogging for a while, you may have already received emails from companies seeking your services—be it for consultancy or freelance writing.

In many ways, a blog is a reflection of you and your skills. It is by far the most powerful way to showcase your skills and knowledge. 

I still remember getting inquiries for freelance writing services just after publishing the first few articles on my blog. 

Key steps to follow 

Here are a few steps you can follow to get started:

First, create a dedicated page sharing details about your services. Highlight it by adding a section on the homepage and the menu bar. 

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CTA asking site visitors to book a free chat to discuss Peak's marketing and SEO services

Second, you can increase credibility by adding testimonials and logos of your previous clients and work samples.

Lastly, to filter your leads and get the right ones, make sure to ask different questions such as industry, budget, exact requirements, goals, and more. I love to use Typeform to capture such details, but there are many alternatives out there that are equally good. 

To ensure you generate quality leads, provide all the important details of your service, including the process you follow. You can also answer frequently asked questions. 

Section outlining Peak's process

If you have the bandwidth, offering consultancy or freelance writing services can be a great way to diversify and grow your blogging income. 

Final thoughts

Blogging is much more than just a way to earn passive income. It greatly impacts your personal and professional life in different ways. 

I’m a living example. My blog has helped me to contribute to websites like Ahrefs’ blog, which was a far-fetched dream a few years ago. 

While often overlooked, writing blogs can open new avenues for opportunities, help you learn new skills, improve your craft, get you speaker opportunities, and more. 

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.



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