Newbies to search engine optimization often struggle to remember every step in the SEO process. Even SEO veterans run into new problems from time to time.
Questions happen, don’t worry.
Here are some answers to the most common SEO-related questions!
SEO Questions for Beginners
These are the questions tailored to those of you who barely understand SEO. Everyone has to start somewhere, and here is a great place to start.
What is SEO?
The acronym “SEO” stands for search engine optimization. To design effective websites, developers must use a set of rules to list them on an HTTP URL. Creators must also follow a series of guidelines in order to have their website listed on search engine result pages (SERPS).
When discussing SERPs, SEO efforts target Google’s search guidelines because they are the benchmark for all search engines. Other search engines like Bing and Yahoo follow similar procedures for SEO.
Search engine users type queries into the search bar in hopes that they will receive the most relevant content. Google’s algorithm ranks all the possible answers to that particular query, and they show that list to the user on the SERP.
Ignoring paid ads and other content on the search results page, Google gives the top spots to the most relevant, authoritative, and trustworthy websites.
Although there are no surefire methods to guarantee one of these top spots, SEO can help you gradually increase your search engine rankings over time.
How Important is SEO?
In short, very important.
Unless your website content covers unfathomably unique topics, you will face some form of competition. The chances are that one of your goals involves increasing organic traffic to your website. If you want your website to increase traffic gradually, you have to make sure you can optimize your pages better than your competitors.
Just for some perspective on the importance of search ranking, the average CTR for the first search result for a query is 28.5%. This number lowers to under 2.5% beyond the tenth spot.
The factors Google uses to rank your web pages also rank your domain as a whole. As you create optimized content, your entire domain will increase in relevancy, trustworthiness, and authority.
SEO is vital for businesses and other website owners, but it is also important to Google’s users. Imagine searching for something on Google and getting results that fail to answer your questions. Without SEO, Google’s algorithm would struggle to identify what websites to show on the SERP.
How Much Does SEO Cost?
In theory, search engine optimization is a free way to grow your website organically. In practice, the lowest possible cost for SEO is a few hours of your time every week.
Keeping SEO efforts in-house will help you keep initial costs down. As you, or an employee, surpasses the optimization basics, you will need to purchase online tools and software to increase your ranking. Licensing multiple 3rd party tools can cost more than an agency would charge.
This leads to the next option, hiring an agency. You probably don’t have hours on hours to spend on optimization. So why not outsource the job to people who specialize in SEO?
Here is some additional information about the cost of search engine optimization.
Like many things in this world, you pay for what you get. If you think you aren’t ready to invest loads of cash into your website, you should pursue a low-cost option. You may consider a more expensive alternative to ensure a top spot on SERPs if you have a considerable advertising budget.
What is the Difference Between Off-site and On-site SEO
Funny that you should ask. We have an in-depth guide about the difference between on-page and off-page SEO.
As you may have guessed, on-page SEO encompasses all of the elements on each of your web pages that you can optimize to increase search results. Off-page SEO accomplishes the same goal by using components outside your owned properties.
Another SEO term you may have heard is technical SEO. The activities that enhance the search rankings for your domain fall under the technical SEO category.
How Long Does SEO Take?
The length of time depends on a few different factors. Your goals, current SEO score, content, industry, location, and budget can contribute to a longer timeframe.
According to Semrush, you should expect to see results between 6-12 months.
Don’t expect to spend only half a year on SEO. Even if you begin to see results within six months, you are only starting the journey.
Think of your optimization efforts as a linear path instead of an exponential curve. If you quit right when you start to see improvements in your performance indicators, you will miss out on the rest of the slope!
Common SEO Questions
So now you know a thing or two about SEO. Here are some of the more common questions for intermediate search engine optimizers.
What are the Best SEO Tools?
There are countless SEO tools available for you to use, so it would be impossible to discuss every single one. Here are some of the best all-purpose tools to have in your arsenal.
Ahrefs: Complete SEO audit and analysis tool that contains data for multiple search engines
Semrush: Complete SEO audit and analysis tool with a focus on additional tools
Moz: Complete SEO audit and analysis tool with a focus on data accuracy
Surferseo: SEO content and keyword tool
Google Search Console: Useful web analytics focused on search ranking
Google Analytics: Complete set of helpful web analytics
Yoast: Plug-in to help with SEO content creation and formatting
Most of these tools have free trials, accessible features, and cheaper plans for those who want to optimize on a budget. Make use of these options before committing to an expensive plan.
How Should I Track SEO Strategy
Some of the websites listed above come with tools to measure the essential variables that show success. These variables, also known as key performance indicators (KPIs), should guide your future efforts depending on which succeed and fail.
Here are a few popular KPIs for SEO:
Organic Traffic: Measures the visits to your website from organic search results. This metric excludes paid advertisements and is considered one of the best ways to measure SEO success.
Click-Through-Rate (CTR): Measures the percentage of users that click on your website after seeing it listed on Google search.
Bounce Rate: Measures the percentage of users that exit your website after viewing only one page. High bounce rates can indicate poor navigation or irrelevant website information.
Conversion Rate: Measures the percentage of users that convert for your business goals. Plenty of factors can cause a low conversion rate, but it can act as an alert to look into other metrics deeper.
Keyword Rankings: Shows traffic, ratings, and intent for any keyword. You can use this metric for keyword research, but keyword rankings can also monitor keywords that may need to change over time.
Link Quality: Measures the authoritativeness of external links and backlinks. Both types of links must involve connecting high-authority websites with your own.
Backlinks: Measures the number of total links back to your website. These can come from any other website outside your website domain.
Backlink Domains: Measures the number of total websites that link back to your website. Some websites contain multiple backlinks throughout their pages.
Page Load Speed: Measures how many seconds it takes to load each website page. Google prioritizes websites that have a low loading time.
Use Google Analytics and Google Search Console to track these KPIs and more as you implement your SEO strategy. Check back frequently to see if there are any elements you need to tweak.
How Does Google Find my Page?
Google uses robots called “crawlers” to scan page information. Crawlers hop from page to page just as regular users would by clicking and following each link listed on a page.
Once a crawler finds your website domain, they will travel through your internal linking structure to determine content topics, context, and other elements that help distinguish your pages from others on the internet.
If your website is new or lacks a comprehensive link structure, you should consider creating a sitemap for Google.
Why Isn’t My Website Showing up on Google?
If you simply cannot find your pages on Google, there could be a few different issues.
First, look at your source code to see if you accidentally blocked indexing or crawling for your website. You want to make sure that you don’t have a “noindex” meta tag. Take a look at your robots.txt to ensure your web page isn’t blocked.
There’s also a good chance you didn’t give Google enough time to rank your website. Google can’t index a web page that they haven’t found yet.
As you wait for Google to list your page on SERPs, take some time to work on SEO elements that will increase authority.
For example, Google would crawl a page with 50 authoritative backlinks quicker than they would for a website with only one quality backlink.
What is the Best Kind of Content for SEO?
You can use a mix of authoritative blog posts, lists, how-to guides, videos, and infographics to extend the value of your product or service. These items will gradually increase the ranking score for your domain and its individual pages if done correctly.
A FAQ post is another excellent example of SEO-friendly content. Using a FAQ page can answer multiple kinds of user queries in one compressed format.
You should primarily focus on creating content that answers your customers’ search queries. Keyword research, content plans, and other content creation tools can help you keep content optimized for search engines.
For more information, check out our content creation guide for beginners.
How do I Know Which Keyword to Use?
A better question is, “What are my customers asking on Google?”.
To answer both questions, consider using keyword research tools like Semrush.
You want to find long-tail keywords that are relevant to your industry. Look for multi-word keywords with a decent traffic level and a low competition percentage.
For example, you wouldn’t want to use the keyword “Ice cream” as the primary keyword. Unless you are the web designer for Dairy Queen, you will likely struggle to compete with the thousands of websites that already compete for that keyword.
Instead, use a long-tail keyword like “Sugar-free ice cream in Lancaster, PA.” You should find it much easier to rank on SERPs with relevant keywords with lower levels of competition. Furthermore, the users that see your Google search listing should have a better idea of what they want to buy.
Check out the keyword section of our how to improve search engine ranking guide for more information.
What is Link Building?
Link building is one of the fundamental ways websites increase their authority score. A sound link-building strategy aims to have as many authoritative websites link to your site as possible.
You should spend some of your precious SEO time reaching out to notable bloggers and content creators in hopes that they will direct their users to your content. Remember that you need to “earn” links by creating valuable content.
In addition to asking for links, you can try offering to write guest blog posts on other creators’ websites. Some find this strategy more successful because both parties have something to offer.
Keep in mind that you can’t scam Google’s algorithm as you could back in the day. Spammy link-building strategies are likely to fail and can ultimately hurt your SEO score in the end.
Does it Matter Where Backlinks Come From?
Absolutely, Positively, 100% yes.
Google considers backlinks as one of the top-ranking factors for SEO. As mentioned before, you need high-quality backlinks to increase your SEO rankings. These come from authoritative websites.
On the flipside, poor-quality backlinks can decrease your ranking on SERPs. Google may penalize your page if they find too many irrelevant or toxic backlinks.
To manage and remove these harmful links, you need to conduct a backlink audit and perform a link detox for your pages. Consider reading our post about removing harmful links to your website for more information.
More SEO FAQs
You likely understand some of the ins and outs of search engine optimization by now. Here are just a few additional questions you may run into along the way.
Does Social Media Help SEO?
According to Semrush, social media posts do not directly contribute to SEO ranking. Instead, social media adds exposure and website traffic to your content that can increase your SEO value.
Let’s say you want to increase traffic to a blog page. The page itself may garner some attention by utilizing proper on-page SEO, but it likely won’t break any huge milestones on its own.
You can increase your page traffic by developing a series of promotional social media posts. Use these posts to promote new content, revive old content, or build your brand.
The best part…
Is SEO Better Than PPC?
You should probably know what SEO stands for at this point, but you may be new to the term “PPC.” Price-per-click represents the style of search engine advertisements where website owners pay Google for every user that clicks the link.
Google uses an auction system to sell advertising space for each keyword. Users who search for that keyword should see a small group of ad links at the top of the SERP.
Since these listings rank higher than the results for organic searches, you may think PPC is the way to go.
Here are a few things to keep in mind about PPC ads:
- They can cost a lot
- PPC is a short-term strategy
- Success is limited
Overall, SEO and PPC work great in different situations for different reasons. You should consider using a combination of both to maximize the success of your website pages.
Not sure yet? Here’s some more information on the SEO vs. PPC debate.
Should I Pay Someone to Help With SEO?
Should you hire a plumber to fix your toilet?
Should you hire an electrician to fix your fuse box?
Unless you have the skills and confidence to fix the situation on your own, you’ll want to look to pay a professional.
While websites and toilets may not have much in common, both will stink if they are inadequately maintained.
You should have ample time each week if you want to handle search engine optimization on your own. You may also need to purchase some SEO tools that can cost more than it would cost to outsource.
If you want to look elsewhere for SEO professionals, there are plenty of digital marketing agencies out there willing to help. Take some time to look for a search marketing agency that you can trust.
Unanswered SEO Questions?
Have a pressing question that we didn’t answer yet? Want to learn more about our SEO services?
Feel free to contact us!