Frequently Asked Questions About SEO
#1: What Is SEO?
SEO, short for search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing or improving your website to increase visibility and organic visits.
This may include:
- Conducting a site audit to determine the health of your site
- Analyzing your competitors’ sites
- Optimizing your Google My Business
- Creating landing pages
- Building content, such as a blog
- Optimizing your local SEO
- And more
When done correctly, SEO will not only increase the amount of traffic to your website, but it improves the quality of the traffic.
#2: Who Needs SEO?
Any business with a product or service to offer can benefit from SEO. Without SEO, your website won’t be visible to your potential customers even after they enter relevant terms in search engines.
More specifically, there are a few industries that can truly benefit from SEO, such as:
- Medical practices or Medispas
- Multi-location businesses
- Online businesses
- Professional services (accounting, legal, IT, financial, etc.)
- Home renovations or repairs
- Pet services
- Real estate
Most people turn to the internet for these and other services, and 93% of internet users have admitted that online reviews have influenced their purchasing decisions.
If you own a business with customers — SEO is definitely for you.
#3: How Does SEO Work?
Google and other search engines have crawlers that collect information about the pages that exist on your site, which helps them determine if your website contains the information the internet user is looking for.
With more than 200 ranking factors in Google’s algorithm, an SEO strategy is necessary if you want to get noticed among millions of websites competing for the same search terms.
Google and other search engines are looking for specific information, such as:
- Quality and quantity of your content
- Page speed
- Title tags and meta descriptions
- Social shares
- Backlinks and internal links
- And more
A quality SEO strategy will ensure that your site is fully optimized to show on the first page of the search results for various relevant keywords (search terms).
#4: Is SEO Dead?
There are many claims that SEO is dead, after one too many algorithm updates that left some SEOs stumped, Google changing how paid ads look compared to organic (they look quite the same! confusing) and many featured snippets that pushed the organic results to the bottom of the page, many ask “is SEO dead?”
The simple answer is no. As long as the internet exists, SEO will continue to be relevant. The industry is currently worth $80 billion in the U.S. alone, so, while SEO is ever-changing, it’s certainly not going away.
#5: How Has SEO Changed Over the Years?
Over the last decade or so, search engines such as Google have changed the face of SEO by effectively eliminating previous practices that made internet searches less than enjoyable.
Gone are the days of keyword-stuffed content and scammy link schemes thanks to the changes made by Google over the years, making SEO rewarding for businesses with websites.
Some of the practices that have changed over the past decade include:
- Futile keyword stuffing
- Location-specific searches, such as “near me” searches
- Faster, optimized SERPs that favor quality content
- Rewarding mobile-friendly websites
- Semantic search results that match user intent and don’t rely solely on keywords
- Continual updates that focus on improving user experience
#6: What Are SEO Best Practices?
SEO best practices refer to the tasks that have been created to improve the search engine rankings of a website, including:
- On and off-page optimization
- Keyword research
- Building a backlink strategy
- Creating new content
On a foundational level, the first task that should be completed is making sure your current website is following the above best practices before adding anything new.
#7: How Long Will It Take to See the Effects of SEO?
Simply put, the more focus you put into your SEO strategy, the sooner you’ll see the effects.
With a solid strategy, results can be seen in as little as 3 months, and as you continue to invest in your strategy, you’ll continue to see the effects for years to come.
Below is an example of a company whose SEO campaign began in June 2020. They had almost no organic traffic at that time, but with a solid SEO strategy, they now have close to 50,000 organic visitors per month in just one year. That’s HUGE!
We try to set the right expectations, depending on the current performance, the authority of the website in question, and how much budget is being put, you should start seeing results within the first two months, given that all our recommendations for on-page will be implemented (the sooner the better!) and after 3-6 months rankings will start climbing and stabilizing.
#8: Can I Do My Own SEO?
This is not a cut-and-dry situation, and while you can fix your own car, stitch your own woods and build your own store’s furniture, many of these things are better left outsourced.
While it might be tempting to read some SEO blogs and try tackling your website optimizations on your own, the truth is that these DIY strategies usually fizzle out pretty quickly.
SEO is an investment in time and requires knowledge, which is why we recommend enlisting the services of a professional SEO company.
#9: Where Can I Learn How to Do SEO?
SEO can be learned over time through thorough research, or you can invest in a crash course, many of which can be found on the internet.
Remember, there are many professionals in the industry, and you’ll be competing with years of experience and knowledge when trying to take on your own SEO strategy.
SEO FAQs About Google’s Ranking System
#10: Why Doesn’t My Website Rank on Google?
With millions of websites all fighting for the first few positions on Google’s SERPs, it’s no wonder your pages might not be making the cut.
Without investing in SEO, it would be nearly impossible to rank in the top 10 spots.
But, maybe you have made an investment in SEO, and you’re still not seeing results. What then?
Not all professionals are created equal, so it’s possible your SEO team has missed some key factors that can kill your chance of ranking, for example:
- Not having a Google My Business page
- A website that’s not mobile-friendly
- A site containing duplicate content
- Inconsistently updating content
- Slow site speeds
- Ignoring social signals
- Not indexing your site
#11: Why Has My Organic Traffic Dropped?
Maybe your site was ranking well at one point but suddenly saw a drop in organic traffic. This can be caused by several factors, including:
- Google updates
- Changes made to your site
- Irrelevant content
- Losing links on your site
- Site errors
- And more
#12: What Are Google’s Key Ranking Factors?
Google is famous for making constant updates, so staying in tune with these ranking factors is an important part of any SEO strategy.
Here are some of the key ranking factors that can help improve your rank:
- The loading speed of your website’s pages
- Your website being mobile-friendly
- Pages linked internally to relevant content on your site
- Leveraging relevant keywords
- Including title tags, headers, and meta descriptions on all of your pages
- A well-structured URL
- Adding media, such as images and videos, to your webpages
- Evergreen content
#13: How Often Do Search Engines Make Updates That Affect SEO?
Every year since the inception of Google, they’ve made updates and changes to their algorithm. And every year the number of updates increases substantially.
While most often these changes go undetected, every once in a while Google will announce a major update — like the page experience update implemented in May 2021.
This update made waves because Google announced it ahead of time, giving SEO professionals an opportunity to shift their strategy.
#14: What Is a Google Penalty?
When Google issues a penalty, it means that your website will no longer be visible in search results, meaning that your target audience will not be able to find you in a search.
Penalties can happen to any website and could be prompted by efforts to improve your site’s overall ranking, but once it’s received, it’s not easy to have a penalty removed, so be careful!
So, why would you receive a penalty?
Anything that gives Google’s crawlers an indication that you’ve tried to manipulate the search results — or that you’ve broken Google’s Quality Guidelines — can harm your rankings.
Google takes pride in its ability to provide the most relevant content to its users (they’ve built an entire brand around it), so anyone who messes with that will be promptly penalized.
SEO FAQs About Technical SEO
#15: What Is On-Page SEO?
On-page (or on-site) SEO includes optimizing your web page content for search engine results and includes:
- Adding or optimizing title tags
- Creating content for your site
- Adding internal links to your web pages; and
- Ensuring your URL is structured for optimal results
We used SEO Minion, a Chrome extension that allows you to see the on-page SEO of any webpage. Have a look:
One of the top-ranking sites for the keyword “learn to play chess” has the keyword or variations of the keyword in the:
- Title tag
- Meta description; and
- Header 1
#16: What Is Off-Page SEO?
Off-page SEO includes everything you can improve outside of your site to help you rank better in search results and includes:
- Link building
- Content marketing
- Influencer outreach
- And more
Off-page SEO practices give search engines information about what other people and businesses think about your services, products, or site.
#17: What Is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is related to on-page SEO and refers to the technical aspects of your site that will help your pages rank in search engine results.
The entire point of technical SEO is to help search engine crawlers notice your site over others whose technical SEO is not optimized and includes:
- Site speed
- Quality internal linking structure
- Eliminating 404 errors
- Avoiding duplicate content
- Website security
- Structured data
- An XML sitemap
#18: Why Is Technical SEO Important?
Technical SEO is the first indication of a quality site, so optimizing your technical SEO will increase your visibility to search engines.
#19: Does My Site Speed Affect SEO?
Site speed is important because not only is it a direct ranking factor, but pages that take longer than 3 seconds have a substantial bounce rate.
#20: What Is PageRank?
Google’s PageRank relates directly to the number of links your page has, among other things, and Google depends on this aspect of their software to determine the importance of a website.
The higher your PageRank, the better your site will perform in search results. It’s important to note that while PageRank is a metric Google still uses internally, webmasters don’t have visibility to their own site and pages’ PageRank.
#21: What Is Domain Authority?
Originally developed by Moz, domain authority is a score ranging from 1 to 100 that determines the website’s ability to rank in search results and is used by many SEO tools.
Several factors, such as root domains and inbound link profile, determine your domain authority score. The higher your number, the better.
#22: What Is a Crawl Error?
Crawl errors can occur when a search engine cannot reach a page on your site. Well-structured URLs ensure that every link on your site leads users to a functioning page.
Crawl errors should be fixed to avoid your website getting flagged for errors.
SEO FAQs Comparing SEO to Other Strategies
#23: What Is PPC?
PPC, meaning pay-per-click, is one type of internet marketing that involves paying a fee each time one of your ads gets clicked on.
It’s a model that has advertisers buying visits rather than using SEO strategies to get organic visits, for example:
#24: Is SEO Better Than PPC?
Pros and cons exist for both SEO and PPC, and it can be argued that a good internet marketing plan involves both.
However, while it may cost more upfront, SEO is ultimately more cost-effective in the long run and will deliver consistent results year after year.
#25: What Is SMO?
SMO stands for social media optimization and leverages social media networks to grow your business’s online presence.
Social media optimization can raise awareness of your company’s products and services, help you connect with potential customers, and mitigate potentially damaging rumors or news about your company.
#26: Is SEO Better Than SMO?
Both SMO and SEO are effective in generating leads and organic traffic to your website, but which one is right for you?
In a perfect world, we’d suggest that you invest in both SMO and SEO for the best possible results, but both of these strategies require upfront costs that not all companies have the funds to fork out.
If it’s cheaper and faster results you’re looking for, then an SMO strategy might be a better fit for you, but if you’re looking for a more long-term strategy, then we suggest you make the investment in a solid SEO plan.
#27: What Is SEM?
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a term used to describe buying advertisements (like PPCs) that will appear on the SERP (search engine results page) for relevant queries.
These paid ads can appear in the search results in a variety of formats, such as text-based ads or PLAs (product listing ads).
PLAs are also known as shopping ads that allow potential consumers gather important information at a glance, such as:
- Product image
- Product price; and
- Customer reviews
SEO FAQs About Local SEO
#28: What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO is the process of optimizing a business for location-specific search queries. Based on an IP address (desktop) and geolocation (mobile), Google uses the location of the user to determine which results to rank in the top spots.
For example, if you wanted to look for a local doctor or contractor, the search engine would display only local businesses.
#29: What Is a Local Pack?
Google’s Local Pack is like the holy grail of local SEO and the ultimate goal for any local business.
The Local Pack is a feature that appears on the first page of the SERP for any local search query and features both a map and the listings of three businesses that are local to that search, for example:
Businesses featured in the local pack account for almost 50% of the click-through rate, so if you have a local business, this is where you want to end up.
SEO FAQs About SEO Tools
#30: What Are SEO Tools?
In addition to the analysis and insights these tools provide, you can also gain access to the SEO success of your competitors.
Each tool varies in the scope of its function and will depend on the type of tool you choose.
These tools are available in four model types, including:
- Freeware – This is the basic edition of a tool with limited usages.
- One time payment – Some tools require a lump-sum payment for lifetime access.
- Monthly or annual membership – This is the most common model, with discounts usually offered for a minimum subscription of 12 months.
- Per volume – It’s not as common, but some tools charge per search or results page.
#31: Which SEO Software Is the Best?
The SEO tool you choose will depend heavily on what it is you wish to accomplish. SEO tools are most often used by content marketers and bloggers, but they can also be used by motivated business owners planning to create their own SEO strategy.
Some of the top tools used on the market today include:
- Moz Pro
- Google Search Console
- And many more
Here is an example of the SEMrush dashboard:
SEO FAQs About Creating Content
#32: What Are Keywords?
Any term entered into the search bar of Google, or any other search engine with a results page, is considered a keyword.
In terms of SEO, keywords are used to optimize the content on websites to make them more visible to search engine crawlers which look for relevant content to match each term entered.
When used properly, keywords help website owners or SEO professionals achieve a higher ranking in SERPs.
Here’s an example of a keyword that an internet user might type into the search bar:
#33: Where Can I Find the Best Keywords?
Most SEO tools have a keyword function that allows you to find the top keyword for a particular topic as well as related keywords that can be used in your content to help improve visibility.
Among the top keyword tools are:
- Google Keyword Planner
- And many more
Using the SEMrush keyword magic tool, let’s see how popular our keyword above is:
As you can see, this keyword has a monthly search volume of 301,000 (tempting, right?), but a keyword difficulty of almost 92%, which would make it very difficult to rank for this particular keyword.
#34: How Do I Effectively Use Keywords?
As with anything SEO-related, there are specific dos and don’ts, and keyword usage is no different.
The first thing you need to do is determine what your main keyword will be and try to use that keyword in the …
- Title tag
- Meta description
- H1 header; and
- First paragraph
… of your content. If your keyword doesn’t seem to fit naturally within each of these components then try using a relevant keyword variation found within your keyword tool.
Using the keyword “how to lose weight”, we checked the on-page SEO for one of the top-ranking sites, and this is what we found:
As you can see, the keyword is used in the URL, title tags, and first two headers, and a variation is used in the meta description.
The main goal is to have natural-sounding content and to avoid “stuffing” your keywords in where they don’t make sense or negatively impact the readability or flow of the content.
This is what our keyword “how to lose weight” would look like if it were stuffed into the content:
“You want to know how to lose weight fast, but you don’t know how to lose weight and need expert advice. We’ll teach you how to lose weight and how to lose weight fast with our amazing How To Lose Weight in 5 Days Program, brought to you by the experts who know how to lose weight quickly.”
Not only does the content sound very robotic and unnatural, but Google’s web crawlers will see this as keyword stuffing and an attempt to trick your way into a top spot.
And trust us, they’re way smarter than that.
Quite simply, keywords are only effective if they make your content visible to search engines but also add value to your reader.
#35: Does Blogging Improve SEO?
The short answer is yes. Blogging is valuable, but only if it’s done with a focus on improving the overall value of your website and with SEO ranking factors in mind.
Here’s how adding a high-quality and relevant blog to your website can improve your SEO:
- It keeps your content relevant and current.
- Blogs create an opportunity for internal linking.
- A blog connects potential customers to your business.
- Blogs increase the amount of time spent on your website.
- You become an authority and increase your backlinks.
- You can target longtail and low difficulty keywords.
Blogging doesn’t have to be complicated, and you don’t need to write a college essay with every post.
The most important element to any blog is whether or not it adds value to your readers.
Next, factor in some of the SEO tips and tricks learned on this page, or hire an SEO marketing company, and you should start to see your SERP rankings improve over time.
#36: How Many Blog Posts Does My Business Need?
While quantity isn’t as important as quality, it definitely plays a role in how well you rank next to your competitors.
Let’s say you own a roofing and siding business in Houston, and you want to increase the organic traffic to your website and generate new leads.
First, you should look at your competitors to determine how well they are ranking and what keywords they are ranking for.
Next, you should develop a realistic content calendar based on how much content you can personally create or how much your company can afford to pay to have content created for you.
Finally, you should determine which keywords are most valuable to your customers to drive the most traffic to your site and start building content around those.
There is no magic number for how many blog posts you should have, but we recommend that you always keep your content current and never stop adding content if you want to remain visible in SERPs.
#37: How Can I Write SEO-Friendly Content?
You may have heard the expression, “content is king”, and where SEO is concerned this is still very true.
You can spend too much time worrying about how many blog posts you should be writing, but it simply won’t matter how much you write if your content:
- Doesn’t use keywords that match the search intent
- Isn’t relatable or geared toward your audience
- Lacks headers and subheaders
- Isn’t original; and
- Doesn’t keep your reader on the page
Google isn’t looking solely at how many blog posts you create — more than anything, Google’s quality raters are looking for just that — quality.
Quality content is also one of the best ways to earn yourself a featured snippet on Google.
See our search below:
Succinctly answering the user’s question in 50 words or less can earn you this coveted spot at the top of the SERP.
Follow these 9 steps to creating rankable content for SEO that Google will love:
- Analyze your competitor’s pages and aim to do better.
- Write in a way that matches the search intent of your target audience.
- Your content should be comprehensive and written for people, not search engines.
- Your title tags and meta description should attract your audience’s attention.
- Make your content easy to read by using shorter paragraphs, bullets, and numbered lists whenever possible.
- Link to high-authority websites to back any stats or claims made in your content.
- Add related internal links to all of your content.
- Keywords should be used naturally, rather than “stuffed” into your content.
- Incorporate images, videos, and other media for interest.
At the end of the day, if your content isn’t comprehensive and doesn’t add value to your reader, then you likely won’t find yourself on the first page of the SERP.
#38: Do YouTube Videos Improve SEO?
Google owns YouTube, so if for no other reason than this, you should consider adding relevant video content to your site.
But above and beyond the most obvious reason for including video in your content, here are a few other ways YouTube videos can improve your SEO:
- They generate more traffic.
- People will stay on your site longer.
- Videos get more links, and backlinks are essential to SEO.
- Customers are more likely to make a purchase after viewing a product video.
- Videos generate more social shares than content alone.
YouTube has one of the highest Domain Authority Scores as per SEMrush and also has a ridiculous amount of backlinks, as you can see from the image below.
Backlinks are also critical to SEO success. We’ll talk more about that below.
SEO FAQs About Link Building
#39: What Are SEO Backlinks?
Quite simply, a backlink is a link from one site to another and acts as a ranking signal for Google and other search engines.
When one website links to your content, that means they believe your content is noteworthy, and if the website is seen as legitimate then these backlinks can increase your visibility and ranking position in SERPs.
#40: What Is Link Building?
Link building is the process of gathering links from other websites to your own website. Basically, it’s a way for users to hop between pages on the web. It is also referred to as: Off-page or Guest blog posts, Blogger Outreach etc.
Search engine crawlers move around the internet using links, so the more websites that link back to your own, the more you will be seen as an authoritative source and the better you’ll rank.
Links are acquired by asking for them (from bloggers or influencers, for example) or by earning them organically by making your content link-worthy.
#41: What Is Broken Link Building?
We’ve all come across a broken (or dead) link on a website. You click the anchor text and get directed to a page that says “404 error not found”.
This is where broken link building comes in.
SEO marketers or professional bloggers might use this tactic of finding dead links on websites. They’ll then recreate the content and suggest to the website owner that they replace their broken link with your working link.
This can be a time-consuming task, but it’s also effective because anyone who understands SEO knows that broken links can harm your ranking.
#42: Why Are Backlinks Important?
Google has made thousands of changes to its algorithms over the years, but one ranking factor that remains consistent is the need for backlinks.
Backlinks are like a vote of confidence from another website that says, “We believe in this content and think it’s useful to our readers”.
The more backlinks you have, the higher you’ll rank on Google and other search engines.
Backlinko conducted a study (below) that proved that backlinks remain one of Google’s key ranking factors.
#43: How Can I Get More Links to My Site?
Attracting organic links comes down to creating link-worthy, valuable content such as studies, reference content, or skyscraper content that provides data to back up others’ arguments. But this can take years, and you’re up against a lot of competition.
Another (more effective) strategy for acquiring links to your site, especially when you’re just starting out, is to ask for them.
This might seem like an overwhelming proposition. Asking for links? Where would you even start?
One way to start is by building relationships with bloggers and influencers with an express interest in your industry.
If you have content that you think would be valuable to their readership, don’t be afraid to reach out with a friendly email letting them know:
- You read and enjoy their blog/advice.
- You read a specific blog that stood out to you (and why).
- You have a post, infographic, or e-book that covers the topic and could add value to their readers.
- You’ll be keeping up with their posts and/or following them on social media.
Outreach involves effort, but it works — why not give it a try?
#44: Can I Buy Links?
You can — but you should proceed with caution.
While Google might discourage this practice, itt has always been the cat and mouse game between SEOs and Google’s Algorithm.
Given that your website functions well, and has great content, the one differentiator remaining between you and your competitor is, how many sites out there are discussing your product, services or brand.
Link should be of high quality, from relevant thematic websites, content of the linking article should be researched and of high quality.
One way to check if a site is authoritative is to check for it’s DA (Domain Authority) but a better way is, to check if the linking site has rankings and traffic from Google (using SEMRush), this signifies that Google trusts this website and is sending users to it (sign of good backlinks and content on the linking website)
When it comes to buying SEO links, you should choose your vendor carefully.
#45: What Is an Internal Link vs. an External Link?
Using both internal and external links in your content is recommended for SEO purposes, but what’s the difference between the two?
Internal links are hyperlinks that take readers from the current page on to a different (but related) page on your website.
External links are hyperlinks that will direct your reader to a page on a website that doesn’t belong to you.
It’s recommended that external links are from both a reputable and non-competitor site.
SEO FAQs About Implementing an SEO Strategy
#46: Where Should I Start My SEO Strategy?
The best start to your SEO strategy should begin with hiring an SEO marketing company to do the dirty work for you, but we know not every website owner has the disposable income to do this.
So here are a few steps to getting your SEO strategy off the ground:
- Using an SEO tool, make a list of keywords that could add value to your website.
- Enter each of your keywords into Google and analyze the top websites to see what their content has to offer.
- Create more comprehensive content that adds value to your reader.
- Optimize your on-page SEO (see our tips above about technical SEO).
- Make sure that your content is hyper-relevant to your keywords and matches the search intent of your potential readers.
- Beautify your content with visualizations and graphics.
- Build links to your content.
- Keep your content updated and optimized.
#47: Can I Analyze My Competitor’s SEO?
You can — and you should.
Analyzing your competitor’s websites, especially the content that’s ranking well, is your first step to determining what you need to do to rank well in SERPs.
To obtain the most valuable information about your competitors, such as …
- Top-ranking keywords
- Web traffic
- Visitor engagement
- Domain score
- On-page SEO
- Number of backlinks
- And more
… you can utilize a paid SEO tool or hire an SEO marketing firm to conduct a full competitor analysis for you.
For example, a small to midsize massage therapy chain with no SEO strategy should analyze the SEO of a much bigger chain, like Massage Envy, to see what keywords they’re ranking in the top 10 positions for, for example:
The organic research tool in SEMrush will list …
- Every keyword they’re ranking for
- Their position
- The search volume
- The keyword difficulty
- And more
… making it easy for the smaller chain to cherry-pick a few keywords that might be easy to rank for next to competitors who already have an SEO strategy in place.
#48: What Is White Hat SEO?
White hat SEO refers to SEO tactics that are ethical and follow Google’s (and other search engines’) best practices.
Some instances of white hat SEO include:
- Making your site mobile friendly
- Increasing your site speeds
- Creating comprehensive and high-quality content
- Improving your on-page SEO
- Making sure your site is easy to navigate
- Creating well-structured URLs
If you’re not engaging in white hat SEO tactics, then you run the risk of being penalized — and even banned — from search engines.
#49: What Is Black Hat SEO?
Black hat SEO is the opposite of white hat SEO and includes damaging tactics, such as:
- Keyword stuffing
- Content Spinning
- Link schemes
- Sneaky redirects
- And more
Engaging in black hat SEO is never a good idea.
As Google and other search engines continue to make algorithm updates, their crawlers get smarter, and the black hat tactics are more likely to get you in trouble.
#50: Are SEO Companies Worth It?
In a nutshell, the quickest and most effective way to increase visibility and organic traffic is to improve your SEO.
Hands down, the best way to do this is by hiring a professional SEO marketing company.
SEO professionals have the expertise to quickly and effectively:
- Optimize your technical SEO
- Create meaningful content
- Build links
- Improve your local SEO
- Drive organic traffic; and
- Increase visibility
Putting your SEO strategy into the hands of a professional will yield better results than attempting to do the job yourself — every time.
7Greatmedia: White Label SEO Solutions for Any Business or Agency
- A business owner who knows the value of a quality SEO strategy but doesn’t know where to begin
- An SEO agency with your own clients and you need help increasing your bandwidth and scaling your business
… 7GreatMedia can assist you with your SEO goals.
Using only white hat SEO strategies and services, we can supply you with the essentials to drive organic traffic to your website and increase your online visibility, including:
- A complete website audit
- Keyword research
- On and off-page optimization
- Content creation
- Link building
- Analytics tracking
- And much more
You can trust our capable specialists with all of your SEO needs. Contact us today to speak with one of our SEO professionals.