SEO FAQ: Answering the 22 Most Asked Questions
General SEO Questions
1. What is SEO?
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of ranking a website on the search engines to increase its visibility when users search for relevant keywords and queries.
2. Do I/My Company Need SEO?
Yes, your business should be investing in SEO. Search engine optimization offers a way to increase traffic without paying for each and every click.
3. How Does SEO Work?
SEO is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher on the search engines. But how does SEO work?
Google uses over 200 ranking factors, and these allow the search engine’s algorithms to rank websites based upon the relevancy and authority of their pages.
4. How Can I Find The Keywords That People Are Searching For To Find Businesses Like Mine?
You can do this either using Google’s Keyword Planner as a free tool, or paid tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs to find relevant keywords for your business.
5. Why Isn’t My Website Ranking on Google?
If you see your site’s web pages listed, you know that your site is indexed. The reasons why your website isn’t ranking could be that:
Your site is new and hasn’t built up sufficient authority to rank for competitive search queries. You can’t launch a website and expect to rank for your target queries overnight; you need to demonstrate that you deserve to rank.
Your content doesn’t match the searcher’s intent or lacks in-depth analysis or quality compared to the pages that rank for the queries you’re looking at. You need to ensure that the pages you serve are at least as good as, ideally better than, what’s already ranking.
If you don’t see any of your website’s pages listed, this means that it has not been indexed. Reasons for this could include:
Your website is blocking search engines from crawling it (usually in your robots.txt file) or is instructing them not to index it (generally using noindex tags). Resolve these blocks, and you should see your site indexed.
Your site has launched very recently (within a few days), and you have not submitted the site to Google or linked to it from anywhere, meaning it hasn’t yet been indexed. Set up Google Search Console and request indexing.
Your site has received a sitewide manual penalty for violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. This is rare and unlikely. However, you would need to have been using some seriously black-hat SEO tactics for this to happen.
6. Why Has My Organic Traffic Dropped?
Fresh Content. Aging website without any updates to keep consistent loading times/responsiveness with new devices. Algorithm updates.
7. What Is A Google Penalty?
“Google Penalties are manual actions, meaning they are a human-driven process. When a site receives a penalty, it’s the result of a real person working for Google and reviewing the case.”
8. How Long Does It Take To Rank on Google?
Well, as is the answer for many SEOs: it depends.
Long gone are the days of launching a website, optimizing your title tags, and ranking in a few weeks. You can’t launch a website and expect it to rank for competitive search queries overnight. It takes time for a website to perform organically as Google ranks relevant sites that have built up authority.
You need to earn your way to the top of Google and deserve to be there.
A good answer is somewhere between six months and one year, but this is very much based on the level of resources you allocate to your strategy, the level of competition, and what others who compete for the same queries are doing.
It might only take a few months to rank for a local term (e.g., plumber in [location]), whereas it could take years to rank a new website for, let’s say, the term “laptops.”
9. What Are Google’s Most Important Ranking Factors?
First, only specific individuals at Google know the absolute truth regarding the most to least important ranking factors for search. That said, from our experience and research – ASTOUNDZ looks at anything relating to Website Accessibility (Secure, Fast), content quality (keyword optimization), and linking (linking in and out of the page) as the core ranking factors to succeed on Google Search.
10. Should I Do SEO, Run PPC Ads, or Both?
In an ideal world, a business should balance multiple marketing channels to avoid a reliance on any single source of traffic (and conversions). But, especially for smaller businesses, budget is often a challenge, and resources must be allocated efficiently. Funds aren’t endless.
11. Does Social Media Help To Increase My Website’s Rank?
Social media does not directly contribute to SEO ranking, but the links you share across social platforms increase brand exposure.
Your shares across social media sites have no place in SEO rankings. Still, when more people share your content throughout social media, it generates social and traffic signals that indicate your posts are useful to your target market.
Technical SEO Questions
12. What Is The Difference Between On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, and Technical SEO?
Ultimately, on-page SEO covers your page’s content, meta tags, images, and the like. Think of these as the page elements that are visible to users.
Off-Page SEO is work that happens outside of a website that helps to generate and increase search rankings. This work can include link building, social media, guest posting, and review generation.
Technical SEO, on the other hand, is all about how Google crawls and indexes your site. Think things like site speed, structured data, canonicalization, XML sitemaps, hreflang, and more.
13. What PageSpeed Score Should I Aim For?
Google’s PageSpeed Score is not a ranking factor. Instead, it is a tool to help guide web developers in making their website as optimized for loading. It can be extremely resource-intensive to improve your PageSpeed score beyond a certain point, and sometimes the only way to improve your score is to cut content on your page. If you your page already ranking better than competitors, than there is no real need to improve the PageSpeed score, but instead to make sure the page is able to be loaded in under 2 seconds.
14. How Can I Find Technical SEO Errors?
Technical SEO errors can hold back your site and prevent it from performing as well as it could in organic search. You need to be able to identify and fix issues promptly and keep on top of them. To find these errors you will need to leverage a tool like SEMRush or Ahrefs to crawl and diagnose your site
Content Marketing Questions
15. How Long Should a Page of Content Be?
How long is a piece of string? Honestly, there’s no right answer to this question, yet it’s one that’s asked time and time again. Content should be as long as it needs to cover a topic in enough depth to rank.
But that’s not too helpful, is it?
When creating content, you need to look at what already ranks. Analyze at least the top 10 pages to understand the page’s intent and the approximate length to get an indication as to how long your content needs to be—looking for a helpful way to do so?
16. How Do I Create SEO-Friendly Content?
SEO-friendly content doesn’t mean keyword-stuffed content, far from it.
The reality is that SEO needs to be an essential part of the content creation process if you want your content to perform well organically. So then, how do you create SEO-friendly content?
You start with keyword research to help you understand the terms people are searching for, determine search intent, the right format, and get your on-page SEO right.
Link Building Questions
17. What Is Link Building?
Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to yours.
Think about links like this, If five people who didn’t know each other all recommended a particular restaurant as the best in your city, you would likely trust that you would be able to get a good meal there, as multiple individuals would all be vouching for it.
However, not all links are equal, and not all are of high quality. Some links are deemed manipulative and unnatural. Focus your efforts on earning links from websites that are topically related to yours and that are held in authority.
18. How Do I Get Other Sites To Link To Mine?
Broken link building
Unlinked brand mentions
Resource link building
The Skyscraper Technique
19. Should I Focus On Getting More Links?
Link building is about quality rather than quantity. You should never set your sight solely on building as many links as possible. This will only leave you feeling disappointed with the results. When you focus on numbers alone, the quality of links will inevitably drop. And that’s the wrong way to approach link building.
You need to emphasize earning quality links at scale, being sure to never sacrifice quality for quantity. Scalable tactics, such as digital PR, can help you earn links at scale from quality and authoritative sources. Still, it’s essential also to understand the link gap between you and your competitors.
20. Is It True That I Can Buy Links?
Most authoritative SEO sites will scream, ‘NO! You can’t and shouldn’t buy links!!!’. ASTOUNDZ looks at this differently. When it comes to core links, like directory links, finding paid solutions to build this at scale, like BrightLocal or Yext, is extremely beneficial and saves a ton of time.
Additionally, for local SEO campaigns, you can often find small, relevant blogs, like Mom Blogs, that have in-house advertisements that pass linking signals back to your site. Ads that are done through Google Adsense, do not pass any linking signals to a website.
And finally, yes, anyone can buy links; just do a quick Google search ‘link building services’ and you’ll find a plethora of options. There’s tons of risk in doing this though, as bad link building services can often compromise a site when core algorithm updates are made.
21. What Is PageRank?
PageRank is “a system for ranking web pages that Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed at Stanford University. And what it is important to understand is that PageRank is all about links.” In simple terms, it’s a measure of the importance of a web page according to the quantity and quality of links that point to it.
While Google still uses PageRank as part of its algorithm, the reality is that your focus should primarily be upon earning topically relevant links from authoritative websites.
22. How Do I Analyze My Competitor’s Link Profile?
Since Google does not want people working to create a link building economy, there are no free Google resources that help with link building. Therefore, to analyze a competitor’s link profile will require a paid tool like SEMRush and Ahrefs.
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