Below are several questions the SEO community hears a lot regarding SEO. We are going to address some of the common SEO questions that businesses ask to better understand Search Engine Optimization.
Should Businesses Optimize their Domain Name to Include Keywords?
In the past, yes, it did help, however, this is not the case anymore. Don’t add a keyword to your domain name simply to integrate a keyword. This will not help you rank better and could potentially damage your SEO. Obviously, some domains naturally include keywords, which is quite fine. But don’t waste money trying to buy domains that include your keywords, it won’t help.
Are Internal Links Different from Inbound Links?
Yes, they are and both types of links are valuable to SEO. Internal links – These links move from one page on your site to another page on the same site. These links are all within the same domain and are helpful to navigate users around your website. Inbound links (external links) – These are links on another website (not your own) that are hyperlinked to a keyword that points back to a relevant page on your own site. Receiving these type of links can have a huge impact on your website’s SEO performance, if done correctly. (See my next point).
Isn’t Link Building Sketchy?
Absolutely not, the web is built upon links. Links are how search engines and users navigate around the web. Link building has had a bad rap because there are lots of SEO firms who have misused this internet marketing tactic in a spammy way to build domain authority and referral traffic, while trying to trick search engines.
Think of a link as being a vote of endorsement. You want links from websites in similar industries, that are connected to relevant pages on your site. This will pass down equity to your site, improving the overall ranking of your site. Quality links, from quality sites, that have quality content, should be every business’s link building goal.
However, the opposite can be true and poor quality links can have detrimental effects on your site. If you are linking to a website that is in no way relevant to your site, Google could actually penalize your site, by removing your webpages from its search results. Make sure you are not connect to spammy links.
What is the Difference Between a Site Map and an XML Site Map?
A site map is a page on your website that shows a hierarchical list of pages that a user can click on to. It’s meant to help users find specific pages quickly. An XML sitemap is file on the server and in the Google Search Console, detailing what pages are available for crawling. It is designed to help search engines better locate your important pages when crawling and indexing your website pages and posts. This is something we suggest all business create for their site.
What is Crawling and Indexing? Is there a Difference?
Crawling and indexing are how Google ranks your website.
Crawling – Search engines send out bots/spiders to look through the content on your website. At this point they are crawling because they are trying to find and identify content.
Indexing – As these bots crawl your site, they index and save the information of a particular page so that it will appear in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) when certain user queries are type in. It is important to note, search engines decide what they will and will not index. As a result, it is very rare that all pages of a site are indexed.
How Do I See How Many Pages are Indexed?
Open up Google.com and type in (with no spaces) site:www.YOURDOMAIN.com to find out which pages of your site have been indexed.
What is robots.txt?
Robots.txt is a file is saved on your web server that informs search engines about which particular pages your business wants indexed or crawled. As a business owner, you don’t want search engines indexing all of the pages of your website. For example: the login page to the back-end of the site or shopping cart log-ins.
What’s the Right Number of Keywords to have on a Page?
STOP. Don’t even think like that. This is not how it works. This tactic is called keyword density and it’s old! Several years ago websites ranked well by having keywords stuffed on their pages. This looked unnatural, was not helpful to the user, and Google has taken action against websites that practice this. This is not how you should think about keyword optimization. Our suggestion is to always keep the user in mind. What do they want to read? What is relevant to them? Those are the keywords you want. Furthermore, with semantic search improving, search engines are relying less on keywords because they are able to better understand context and variations of the keywords on a page.
What is Domain Authority?
Domain authority is a metric gauging the overall impact of a website based on a variety of metrics and rules. The main influencers of domain authority are the number of external links, on-page content, and social signals. When your domain authority increases, the greater the chances of your site ranking higher in the SERPs.
What are Search Algorithms and How Do They Affect My Business?
When it comes to search algorithms, Google is the one to watch out for, as they carry the most weight. In essence these algorithms are a combination of aspects that influence what results are displayed for certain search queries. As mentioned, Google has a variety of different algorithms that are used to offer better results to the user. One of the more recent algorithm updates has been geared towards mobile search. This was nicknamed Mobilegeddon because Google wanted to give mobile-friendly websites better search presence on mobile devices.
Why is my Competitor Ranked Above my Business in Searches?
This is one of the most common questions we hear. No SEO professional can explain exactly how to get top rankings because there are so many factors influencing the search results. According to Google, their algorithms have over 200 ranking factors and each of those have about 50 variables. Oh, and they tweak these daily. Google knows that there is no humanly possible way for businesses to know all these factors. Google have created guidelines for internet marketers to follow which do align with their algorithms (but it is certainly not the whole story). If your competitor is ranking well, we suggest looking at what may have helped them:
- Do they have a blog? Do they blog often?
- Are their pages optimized? (Meta titles, descriptions, sub-headings and images)
- Do they have high-quality external links from relevant websites?
- Do they have a strong social presence?
You can learn a lot from your competitors. See what they are doing and try to implement some of the same marketing tactics.
How Long Will it Take My Optimized Site to Improve?
SEO is a marketing process, it is not a once and done deal. Results vary because it is organic and reliant on several factors, as mentioned above, such as indexing, keywords, links, competitors, and algorithms. We can encourage Google to take notice of your site and make suggested changes, but ultimately this is Google’s realm. In saying this, we have had some clients see results in just a few weeks while other (most often) took up to 6 months. Be patient. Here are some things that you can do to help accelerate your search rankings:
- Create high-quality content on a regular basis (relevancy)
- Create link opportunities where people want to share and link to your content (adding value)
- Create links back to your site. You can do this by contributing to your local chambers website, on forums, and LinkedIn groups.
- Show that you are a social presence and drive traffic to your site from social media