10 Popular Questions (and Answers) about SEO

Many People Thinking of Questions

What is SEO? 
Some of you might be rolling your eyes at this one, but is actually still an enormous number of organizations that know little or nothing about SEO and the come to us to find out what it is and how it can help them.  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is used to describe the ways that website owners manipulate their website information so that it achieves better rankings in search engine results. The higher your website ranks in search engine results, the more traffic your website will get and continually using SEO techniques can help your website to be successful.

Is SEO worth my time?
That depends entirely on who’s doing your SEO for you. SEO is a consistently changing industry and because of that it’s good to find specialists with a strong background in SEO who are up to date on the most recent best practices, but it will also depend on the keywords you’re targeting and your industry.  When your SEO is done correctly by a knowledgeable expert it can be highly effective in increasing website traffic but SEO done incorrectly will mostly be just a waste of time and resources. Our Advice? Make sure you choose your SEO consultant with care.

Why is my website ranking poorly?
SEO is a constant process because the rules for it are constantly changing. If you haven’t kept up with current best practices or aren’t using SEO techniques properly, you may not be ranking as well as you could be. Here are some of the main reasons why websites rank poorly:

  • Missing or incorrectly used Title Tags
  • Keyword stuffing (overusing your keywords excessively)
  • No Alt Tags on your images
  • Poorly written content that is missing naturally occurring keywords
  • Very few pages or content that isn’t regularly updated
  • Not enough relevant backlinks

What makes a link relevant?
Links are one of the most important aspects of SEO because they act like a “vote” for your website. Links from credible websites (ones that search engines deem reliable and authoritative) that have relevant anchor text (the text in the hyperlink confirms what your page is about) will help you to rank better because it proves to search engine crawlers what your website or page is actually about. There are many scams that claim to help you get relevant links, but please, for us, don’t get sucked in. These link “farms” or “exchanges” can lead to heavy penalties in search engines which will actually erode your rankings.

What is duplicate content and how can I avoid it?
You have duplicate content when you have multiple pages on your website that contain a significant amount of similar content to other pages and search engines will penalize for this just like for link farming. This is actually very simple to avoid: just write new content for each page! If your pages are relevant to specific topics and you’re writing according to what your page is about, it shouldn’t be too difficult to avoid this penalty.

Why is content important for SEO?
Your website’s content (blog posts, webpage copy, resources etc) is one of the best tools that you have to help improve your search engine rankings because it allows you to emphasize your keywords, build links and supplement your demand generation initiatives, but remember: you can’t just have any old content. Your content needs to be valuable to your audience for it to help you build links and bring traffic to your website.

What is an XML sitemap?
An XML sitemap is a file that lists all the URLs on your website. This type of sitemap is used to inform search engines about the URLs on your website that are available for crawling so that they get included in the search engine’s database.

How many keywords/Keyword phrases should I target?
That is going to depend on your website and your audience because your keyword choices should be derived from the terms that your users are utilizing to find your website. It will also depend on the size of your website and what products or services your company or organization provides to your audience. Having said that, the best practice is usually considered to be 2-5 keywords per page.

How can I figure out which keywords to target? Choosing your keywords carefully is on the most important steps when determining your SEO strategy and there are several different tactics for narrowing down the best ones. Brainstorming is a good way to get started, but after that there are plenty of free and paid online tools to help you generate keywords and determine which ones you should choose. You’re analytics are a good place to start as well (if you have them set up). Understanding what people are already using to find your website is a good way to narrow down your keyword strategy. Make sure when you choose your keywords you choose based on relevance and achievability. Just because a keyword is relevant for your website doesn’t mean you will necessarily rank for it. The more popular the keyword is, the less likely you will rank highly for it.

What is black hat SEO?
Pretty much everything we’ve already mentioned not to do is considered black hat SEO. Basically using black hat SEO techniques means that you’re doing things that break search engine rules to try and get higher rankings and are generally considered to be cheating and unethical (keyword stuffing is a good example).

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