Frequently Asked SEO Questions
It’s no secret that SEO matters. Whether you’re considering SEO or are already doing it, we’re sure you have some burning frequently asked SEO questions about the hows and whys of your digital marketing strategy. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked SEO questions separated into category sections.
Basic Frequently Asked SEO Questions
One of the most frequently asked SEO questions is, “do I really need SEO?” No matter what your business is, how big or small, the answer is absolutely!
Every business can benefit from SEO. SEO generates more traffic to your site and converts that traffic into customers. Aside from increasing traffic and generating more leads, SEO also helps maximize your site’s efficiency. Without SEO you likely could have problems with your site that deter your customers and you would never know about.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is to strategically make websites and digital content the most effective it can be. The result of making a site or content being more effective is that it will rank higher on search engines and be seen more often.
There are various guides to learn more about SEO. SEO tools usually have tutorials that explain the process and reasoning. There are also online courses to learn about SEO.
SERPs stands for Search Engine Results Page. SERPs are the page you land on, after entering a query on a search engine. SERPs are what you are working towards with SEO, you want to organically get further to the top of SERPs.
- SEO brings you traffic that is relevant to your business, so people that are looking for something like you.
- SEO provides you with the data to understand your user’s behavior and your site’s strengths and weaknesses.
- SEO allows you to observe your competition and see what worked and didn’t work for them, giving you a comparable example to learn from.
We aren’t sure why this is a frequently asked SEO question because SEO absolutely is not dead! As long as search engines are around SEO will be around.
SEO is not as easy as it used to be, since it is more prevalent, as long as you’re getting high-quality SEO for your site you will significantly improve your rankings on search engines.
SEO can bring a small business website organic traffic because of the higher ranking on search engines. With the increased rate of traffic, some of those users will turn into customers. A higher rank means more brand awareness. Learn more about small business SEO here.
Your strategy should start with your goals, what do you want to achieve out of SEO, what benchmarks can you use to determine the effectiveness of your strategy. Next, come up with a list of possible keywords and use those keywords appropriately in pages.
Creating a blog would be another step forward in your strategy; come up with a schedule, along with a list of topics to write about and use the remaining keywords for each blog post. Determine how you will go about link building and lastly upkeep and gradually improving your site.
White hat SEO is the use of techniques to improve your search engine rankings that are within the terms of service of the search engine. White hat SEO is predicated on giving users a high-quality experience with relevant content.
Examples of a white hat are: making your website mobile-friendly, performing keyword research, and matching your content to user intent.
Black hat SEO is using certain techniques that break the rules to rank higher in search engines. Punishment for black hat SEO includes downgrading or even delisting your site, from the search engine. If you do not want to lose traffic, users and your site’s reputation, avoid black hat SEO methods.
Keyword stuffing and excessive paid linking are two methods to avoid. Keyword stuffing is excessively using keywords in a page, to “game the system,” this method leaves content looking unnatural and not user-friendly.
Excessive paid linking is to pay for someone with a site that has a high authority rating to link your site. Search engines use manual reviews and algorithmic detection to catch paid linking that is in violation of their policies.
E-A-T means Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. E-A-T comes from Google’s search quality rater guidelines as the idea of E-A-T is used by raters to understand if content fits with the E-A-T idea. If your content fits the idea of E-A-T then you likely have high quality content. E-A-T doesn’t affect SEO directly but high quality content is how you can get the most out of your site.
You can view organic traffic, impressions, and clicks over time and if they are increasing SEO is working. Your keyword ranking, the higher your ranking is the more likely users will click on your site. Conversions would be another way to measure results, since generating sales is the main goal.
You can start to see results from SEO after 1 month. To see the significant change from SEO, a general timeframe is 4-6 months. What you can expect out of SEO will be dependent on what you put it, so when you will see results is really up to you.
You could run a campaign for a few months, it depends on your goals. If this campaign is going to be used for years, then it wouldn’t be wise to stop after a few months. If your campaign has an end data after a few months, stopping SEO would make sense but you shouldn’t stop SEO for your site and other campaigns.
SEO can’t stop because your competitors won’t be stopping as well. Stopping your SEO will lead to your site being ranked lower and lower as time passes. The hardest part of SEO is in the early stages of optimizing your site and its content and when you stop your SEO, when you pick it back up it is like starting all over again.
If you have the time to learn and work on your SEO, you can do your own. Most small business owners don’t have that luxury because they are pulled in so many different directions. If you don’t have the time, hiring an SEO agency would be worth it.
SEO companies are worth it, they are the experts who specialize in SEO and know the nuances that only years of experience can bring. SEO companies also vary in size and who they cater to, even if you have a small business there are companies that focus on working with small businesses.
You should hire an SEO company after you develop a plan of what you want out of SEO. Now with that plan, you should have the sustainable resources to consistently spend on SEO.
Local SEO FAQs
Understanding local SEO in your frequently asked SEO questions can help bring more customers to your store front. Local SEO is about aiming for results that are for a specific region. For example, a restaurant in Canton would want to be found by people in that area. When using keywords for local SEO, you should include your region and the areas surrounding it.
To add a new location to Google My Business start by signing into your account, click on Manage locations, and then choose a location group.
Now you will click Add location, then enter the information like business name and location.
Lastly you will follow the prompts to create the new listing.
When you create your listing, make sure to provide as much information as Google asks for. Adding photos to your listing is an easy way to help your listing. Make sure your website is responsive, so the traffic you gain will progress further into your site.
Positive online reviews help your local SEO. Better ratings will draw more traffic to your site. Taking a smaller view and improving your ranking in your area by using the opportunity that online reviews bring and converting new users to consumers is how online reviews help.
Technical SEO Questions
Technical SEO refers to the process of ensuring that a website meets the technical requirements of modern search engines with the goal of improving organic search rankings. Crawling, indexing, rendering, and website architecture are all important elements of Technical SEO.
A robots.txt file tells search engine crawlers which URLs the crawler can access on your site used mainly to avoid overloading your site with requests. Google Search Central, states that this is not a mechanism for keeping a web page out of Google.
Categories and tags are both examples of taxonomy systems. The correct use of a taxonomy system can increase your website’s search engine optimization. Taxonomy prevents individual pages from competing.
An example from Yoast, explains how archives of categories and tags are crucial for SEO. In fact, they can be even more important than individual pages and posts for eCommerce sites. In the search engines, those archives should be listed first and serve as landing pages. Therefore, they should also provide the best user experience.
A breadcrumb is a small text path, often located at the top of a page indicating where the user is on the site.
On yoast.com, for instance, the path to the Yoast SEO plugin page is Home > WordPress Plugins > Yoast SEO for WordPress.
This breadcrumb trail immediately shows you where you are. Every step of that path is clickable, all the way back to the homepage.
Redirects help fix errors but excessive amounts of redirects can hurt your site. Each redirect also has a different role and affects SEO differently. Redirects are an important part of search optimization since they help preserve the ranking authority from deleted pages. 301/302 Redirects and SEO go together often for this exact reason.
Website structure is very important for SEO. The structure provides search engines with where to look on your site and what content of it will rank the highest. Over time your site will get enough content that if it is unorganized it will be worse for user experience and will be a deterrent.
When a search engine is crawling but fails to reach a page, that is where you get a crawl error. URL crawl errors are from a specific page on your site. Site errors are errors that prevent the crawler bot from accessing your site.
404 errors don’t necessarily hurt your SEO but it affects search engines indexing those pages. If you have a 404 error, that page won’t be indexed, so if you want your page to be indexed, you should fix that error. What 404s affect the most is the user experience and it will be a deterrent to users.
On-Page SEO Questions
On-page SEO is optimizing an individual site page to rank higher in search engines. The aspects of your site that you control is what you would optimize for on-page SEO. On-page SEO can include the content, headers, meta tags, and more.
Meta tags are what appears on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) as what the user will see and what will entice a user to click on your site. Meta tags are also ranking factors for search engines and should be properly optimized to maximize your site.
Title tags are what you see at the top of your browser. When you Google something, they are the big blue sentences for each website. The title should draw the user in and have your keyword in it. Title tags are one of the most important pieces of information for search engines to determine what your site is.
A Meta Description is a snippet of information about what the website page entails. Meta Descriptions don’t have to be a visible part of your page, as they are a part of the site’s code. When you search for something on a search engine, the meta description is the small, gray paragraph beneath the title and URL.
Your meta description should be between 110 and 150 characters. It’s usually just a few short sentences that summarize what users will see on the page, while still being enticing. Each meta description across your site should be different.
Domain authority is a score that predicts how likely a site is to rank in search engine result pages. The score goes as high as 100 and a high score is between 50 and 60. The higher your score, the more likely you are to rank.
Page authority is a score that predicts how well a certain page will rank on a search engine.
Anchor text is the clickable text that will take you to another part of the page or to a different website. Anchor text usually looks blue and underlined like this: this is anchor text. Anchor text is how you will internally link and internal linking provides structure to your site.
To optimize anchor text, you should start by not using the same anchor text more than once.
Use text within the flow of the content, the anchor text shouldn’t take the reader out of focus like a “click here” anchor text could.
Use relevant text for where you are leading the user, so if your link is to an article about painting shutters then your anchor text should be something similar.
Off Page SEO Questions
Off-page SEO means the SEO impact from a different site. Backlinks are a good example, by having a reputable site link yours your SEO will improve. Another method is using social media because you can increase traffic and that traffic’s behavior can impact SEO.
Backlinks are links that are created when a site links to another site. Backlinks are like giving a stamp of approval from and to both sites. The more reputable the site you are linked to, the better you will be perceived by search engines.
Dofollow links help your search engine rankings. Nofollow links don’t.
In general, inbound links from these sources tend to be nofollow:
- Blog comments
- Social media
- Links in forum posts or other forms of user-generated content
- Certain blogs and news sites
- Links from “widgets”
- Links in press releases
According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, any links that you pay for should be nofollowed.
Link equity is the idea that a link can pass authority to another page. Link equity is important in algorithms for search engines. By having relevant links from indexed pages, you can improve your link equity.
Link building is the process of getting other sites to link your site. Building links is how you can improve your site authority and improve your search engine rankings.
Link building is the process of getting other sites to link your site. Building links is how you can improve your site authority and improve your search engine rankings.
The easiest way to build links is by listing your site to reputable directories. Creating a blog gives you more opportunities for internal linking, from where you can link and what you can link. Other sites that you have or sites from businesses that you know can be a good way to reciprocate linking.
Bad backlinks are links to your website from other sites that aren’t reputable and/or don’t have relevance to what your site is about. How you remove bad backlinks is through a process of disavowing those links. Go through a program like ahrefs to view all of the sites linking yours and then go through Google Search Console’s disavow tool to remove your association with those sites.
Online business listings direct users that are looking for a business like yours to you. Online business listings also help your SEO because when you create a listing you are creating a backlink to your site and the page’s authority will reflect positively on your site.
PPC & SEO Frequently Asked SEO Questions
Determining which is better depends on your goals. SEO is for organic growth over time and would be more ideal for a local business.
PPC is for the most visibility immediately and would work well for an e-commerce site that has to compete with large corporations.
SEO and PPC can work well together and complement your goals.
PPC doesn’t directly help with SEO, although it does help indirectly. PPC brings traffic to your site, how your newfound traffic behaves on your site can help SEO. Pay per click ads can also give you immediate data on what aspects of your digital marketing strategy are working and that data can be used for SEO.
SEM or Search Engine Marketing includes both SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and PPC (Pay Per Click). Search Engine Marketing often aims to gain traffic from mainly paid methods. SEO focuses on optimizing a website to gain organic (unpaid) traffic.
Google Ranking Frequently Asked SEO Questions
An algorithm is a process that a computer uses to solve a problem. Search engines use an algorithm to rank websites and their pages, to show users the most relevant sites. Search engine algorithms use ranking factors like keyword frequency, meta description, and header tags.
Follow the latest Google Algorithm updates on industry blogs like Moz and Search Engine Land.
Ranking factors are the factors that search engines look at to determine your site’s relevance and where you should be ranked because of that. Google has hundreds of ranking factors so you should focus on the ones you can manage.
Ranking factors that you should focus on include: optimized content, site speed, mobile friendliness and domain authority.
A Google Penalty is the punishment for breaking the Google webmaster guidelines. What causes a Google Penalty is suspicion of black hat SEO techniques or sites that do not fit in their algorithm updates.
If you receive a Google Penalty, you will see it, when you log in to Google Search Console or through email. The punishment of a Google Penalty is drastically diminished rankings or you can be delisted.
Ways to avoid Google penalties start with being aware of Google’s guidelines, when it comes to SEO, and being aware of updates.
Making original high-quality contact would make it almost impossible to violate Google’s guidelines.
Stay away from black hat SEO techniques as they will likely be the reason you could get a Google penalty.
Not only can we follow Google’s guidelines to know what works on Google SERPs. But you learn what works from analyzing analytics after an SEO decision is made.
Each decision and technique is then compared to others, to gauge their effectiveness. For a more broad approach, common techniques have been used so many times and been effective universally that they have been proven to work on Google.
Straight from Google Search Central, “Our users place a lot of value in speed — that’s why we’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings. We use a variety of sources to determine the speed of a site relative to other sites.”
From our perspective, site speed affects SEO both directly and indirectly. Site speed is a direct part of the search engine algorithms as a faster speed is more desirable. How site speed indirectly affects SEO is through bounce rate.
The longer a site takes to load, the more people will leave before it loads and the more people that leave before clicking on another page of your site means your bounce rate will increase. Bounce rate is a direct factor in search engine algorithms as the higher the rate is the less likely your site will be seen as relevant.
- Embedding a video from YouTube would be the best for preserving your site speed. If you were to upload a video to your site you should include your keyword in your title, file name, alt text, and description.
- File size is very important to site speed, keep your videos as small as possible, to not hinder your speed.
- Add transcripts, transcripts act as page copy, giving you more indexable text.
- Utilizing strong thumbnail images can have a tremendous impact on click-through rates and other video SEO metrics.
- Include your keyword in your video title and meta description.
- Search engine crawlers usually stop crawling for videos after that first video.
- Embed above the fold and make it the focus of the page.
Session duration time affects bounce rate, which does affect SEO. Bounce rate is the percentage of users that leave the site after visiting only one page. If your bounce rate is high that indicates the site isn’t relevant to who it is shown to.
In the past, Google has said that having an SSL Certificate is the easiest thing site owners can do to boost SEO ranking. Google encourages all sites to secure visitor information with SSL Certificates. That means that whether the Website collects personal information or not, Google will reward sites with SSL Certificates with a boost in search ranking.
Keyword Related Frequently Asked SEO Questions
Keyword research is the process taken to find the right keyword for your site to target. You should avoid targeting the most popular keywords in your industry because they are too competitive and will be expensive to advertise. You also should avoid keywords that nobody is searching for.
The 3 common keyword types are branded keywords, long-tail keywords and geo-targeted keywords.
- Branded keywords include a brand name, like “Nike shorts on sale.”
- Geo-targeted keywords contain a location, like “ice cream canton ohio.”
- Long-tail keywords have a specific intent and will have a low search volume like “what to look for in an orange peeler.”
A keyword is valuable if it has the balance of search volume, competition, length, intent of them and the relevance to your product or industry. The overly competitive keywords have too high a barrier for entry and the longer your keyword is the lower the search volume is.
For relevance, if your product is a water bottle then your keyword shouldn’t be “computer chips.”
Long-tail keywords are keywords that are longer than usual keywords. Longer keywords provide more specific results, as you will get fewer search results. An example of a long-tail keyword could be “where to go for banana costumes.”
Using geo-targeted keywords are beneficial for local seo, whether it is a region, city or surrounding areas of your business. With your location you should also list your product, service or industry. If you are a keychain salesman in Akron, Ohio a keyword to try could be “akron keychain for sale.
- To conduct keyword research, gather a few words or phrases that relate to your site’s content.
- Now head to a site with keyword research tools like Ubersuggest or KW Finder and plug your words and phrases into those programs.
- You will see the search volume and difficulty of your keyword, you may also see similar keywords. The keywords that have a moderate search volume and a medium or lower search difficulty are viable to use in your site, as long as the keyword is relevant to your site.
Search volume is the number of people that are searching for that query. Search volume is represented as a monthly average based on the last 12 months.
Search volume comes into play with keyword research as the higher the search volume is the more competitive it is.
You shouldn’t rely on exclusively low keywords, as you may be trying to gain traffic from a very small user pool. A low to medium strategy would be recommended, so you are reaching where users are looking but not wasting your time trying to fight with corporations.
To maximize your SEO, keywords should be in your content, title, URL, meta tags, and alt tags. Don’t spam your keyword, it should make sense within the context of its use. Your keyword should also be in at least one of your headers besides your H1.
Content Marketing & SEO FAQs
Blogging definitely helps SEO. Blogging creates more opportunities for you to rank in search engines. With each blog post, you use different keywords and can internally link to other content you have on your site. With each keyword, you get another chance at-bat.
Having a blog makes gaining backlinks a bit easier as you don’t want to have external links on the main pages of your website since the goal is keeping them on your site and converting users to customers.
There is no defined amount. For your home page it should be short, so you don’t overwhelm users. For blog posts the ideal minimum is 600 words and an ideal maximum is between 1200 and 2000 words. If your blog post or informative page is too long, users will ignore it. You have to find the right balance for your users.
There are many plugins or how-to SEO guides to help along the way like RankMath or Yoast. For the structure of your post, you should have 1 H1 per page, which should be your title. The next most important information like paragraph titles should be H2s and the content of those as H3s and so on through H6, if necessary.
To maximize your content, you can include your keyword in page title, URL, headers, in your meta description, and throughout your content.
According to Google Developers, having duplicate content on your site will confuse search engine algorithms when determining which pages to index. Avoid external duplication, which means either don’t plagiarize or if someone has plagiarized you take the necessary action to correct that problem, possibly through legal action.
You should change the duplicated content on your site, making slight modifications won’t work either as search engines will still view them as duplicates. Creating unique high-quality content is the best approach for your site because it creates the best experience for the user and the search engines.