Frequently Asked Questions about SEO - SEO FAQ
SEO FAQ – We have compiled the main questions that customers in Clare, Galway, Cork, Limerick and all over Ireland want to know.
How can you sign up for SEO if you don’t know what you are signing up for. These questions are aimed to give you an understanding about SEO basics and why it is so important for your website.
“A website without visitors is like a ship lost in the horizon.”
While we try to cover all possible SEO FAQ’s, please get in touch if you have any further queries.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It refers to the process of optimising your online presence to improve the ranking of your website on the search engine result pages (SERPs) for organic traffic. As such, when a user enters a relevant search term or keyword, your website can maximise traffic by maintaining a visible position on the SERPs.
SEO experts focus their efforts on creating a website that works for readers and search engines. To do so, they focus on essential changes to the web design and web content to make search engines crawling more effective and maintain their visitors’ engagement. Search engines such as Google scans through the content of the World Wide Web to identify and order the websites that are relevant to the current search terms.
Understanding how to do SEO is a matter of maximising your efforts to meet the ranking factors of search engines and the expectations and needs of your target audience. As search engines use a variety of ranking factors to display the list of relevant web answers to each search entry, your SEO consultant ensures the following:
- Relevant content using proactive keyword research
- Individual content page for each product or service of at least 500 words
- Easy to navigate web design and user-friendly interface
- Accessible and crawler-friendly HTML code
- Up-to-date efforts for current ranking factors with targeted SEO Google (Over 70% of online searches happen on Google)
- Combined strategies with other SEM activities
It’s important to understand that when it comes to online presence, SEO is one of the essential components of SEM, search engine marketing, to target the highest search engine results positions. SEO focuses on organic traffic, but digital marketing experts will also consider additional strategies to secure your visibility.
You can find three distinctive types of SEO services that divide your SEO strategy into activities related to on-page components, technical components, and off-page components. Ideally, you want to work with an SEO company that can offer a combination of effective on-page SEO, technical SEO and off-page SEO for a rounded online presence.
On-page SEO refers to the content on your website. It is indispensable to help search engine results as it helps to identify your website as a valuable source of information for each keyword phrase and search term relevant to your audience. On-page SEO relies on keyword research and content creation. It is one of the leading SEO activities that you can carry on in-house with the external support of an SEO consultant for guidance. Your team will need to manage the following actions:
- Keyword research: You utilise your understanding of the market and the target audience to identify the best keywords for each web page. Your SEO company can also rely on dedicated SEO tools to monitor keyword trends and rankings.
- Content creation: Your website needs to display high-quality, informative, and engaging content pages that target relevant keywords. The purpose of content creation in SEO marketing is to focus on one keyword phrase per page. Search engines, otherwise, can find it difficult to crawl your page and rank it accordingly. Additionally, keyword stuffing, the process of using too many different keyword terms in the same content piece can cause ranking penalties on the search engine result page.
- Keyword optimisation: This is the process of placing a keyword phrase strategically within the page, including H titles, meta tags, and content body.
Technical SEO happens in the background of your website and doesn’t interfere with your content. It is designed to improve your web design and web structure to improve crawling, readability, and overall user experience. Good technical SEO components can improve not only user engagement but also search engine marketing. SEO experts will help to improve the following factors using auditing SEO tools:
- Site speed
- Responsive and mobile-friendly web design
- Search engine indexing
- Site architecture
- Secured web design
- The use of structured data
Off-site SEO activities can boost the authority of your website in search engine marketing. Off-site SEO services typically refer to increasing link building activities to ensure your website receives high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites. Backlinks help search engines to see your site as a trusted source of information.
When you design your digital marketing strategy with SEO google results in mind, you need to plan for all of Google ranking factors. The favourite search engine counts 200 ranking factors that your SEO consultant can help with. As an overview, Google ranking factors focus on the following elements:
- User interaction
- Brand signals
- On-site webspam
- Off-site webspam
- Specific Google algorithm rules
Domain: Google considers the registration length, keywords and their position in the domain subdomain name, the history of the domain, its age, the WhoIs ownership factors, country code top level extension (such as .ie for SEO Ireland), and the age of the domain.
Page-level factors focus on the keyword position in the page structure, keyword frequency and density, length and in-depth quality of content, image optimisation, uniqueness vs duplicate content, relevancy and age of content, links quality and volume including internal links, page load speed, HTML code quality, and page layout.
Site-level factors refer to the overall value and trust of the site, architecture, server location, SSL certificate, mobile optimised web design, diversity of media – including YouTube videos, and reputation.
Backlinks are a ranking factor as they are used by search engines to identify how reputable, authoritative and trustworthy your site is, based on the links it receives from other websites.
Google pays attention to user interactions – including organic clickthrough rate, bounce rate, direct traffic, repeat traffic, bookmarks, and dwell time.
Brand signals mean that Google considers your brand social media marketing presence, mentions, and branded searches to rank relevant results.
On-site and off-site webspam are elements that Google penalises in the algorithm, such as popups, Panda update penalty, bad neighbourhood links, ads that distract from the page content, hacked sites, Penguin penalty, abnormal volume of low-quality links, bought links.
Google special algorithm rules feature unique ranking factors such as featured snippets, geotargeting, user history, domain complaints, specific keywords and search functions, user needs – including shopping or definition check, and spammy queries.
Ultimately, the role of an SEO company is to keep up-to-date with Google latest’s ranking advice and algorithm rules. As not all ranking factors carry the same weight when it comes to search engine results, SEO services prioritise activities to boost your results. Reaching the top position in the SERPs is detrimental to your online presence and your business success. Did you know that the site that ranks at the top of Google has a 33% chance of receiving a click? What this means is that sites that rank below the first search result potentially miss out on a third of organic traffic. When you know that only 25% of users browse to the next page, you know you have to increase your Google Ranking.
Your SEO consultant will focus on improving areas that affect your ranking negatively as a priority:
- Fixing broken links
- Improving page layout and formatting for clarity and readability
- Structuring content for optimised keyword position on the page
- Responsive web design
- Optimising URLs for shortness and keyword clarity
- Optimising meta descriptions to improve organic CTR
- Targeting keyword research to create relevant content
- Improving content quality through content length, additional media, informative and relevant texts, targeted keyword phrase
- Increasing link building potential through quality content
- Improving page loading speed
- Encouraging social media sharing and other social media marketing activities to boost brand signals
- Maximising local SEO potential with a Google My Business page
- Creating a trustworthy and authoritative platform through the display of contact information, WhoIs, etc.
- Improving crawlability and indexability of the site through accessible HTML code and updated sitemap
Local SEO is when Google will rank companies that are close to the searchers known location higher on its results page than other competitors. You can often show in either a map or with your Google My Business listing on the right hand side.
You still need to ensure that you are ranking highly against local competitors. This is vital for any businesses that are trying to capture the local market.
Check out our post on how to optimise your business listing on Google My Business.
Local SEO ranking refers to the process that enables search engines results to display a different list of websites based on the location of the searcher. Local SEO is a priority for brick-and-mortar shops, as appearing on top of Google for people within your geographic radius can increase direct visits to your business. As such, local SEO strategies typically target mobile searches for businesses such as restaurants, doctors, grocery shops, boutiques, hotels, train stations, etc. But local SEO ranking isn’t limited to companies with a customer-facing location. A Dublin-based user looking for online recipes, for instance, will prefer a site that presents recipes using local ingredients and relevant quantities. As a result, an American recipe site would not be suitable for generic searches.
The quickest way to share your location with Google is to create a Google My Business page, which enables your businesses to appear on Google Maps. Once you’ve validated your address with Google, you can optimise your Google My Business page for SEO Google ranking. Sharing information that is relevant to your customers on the page, and that makes it easier for users to visit or purchase from your business can propel you to the top-ranking positions. As such, your opening hours, your latest updates, your contact details, and your brand photos can improve search engine results, along with reviews (the Google stars).
Making your website mobile-friendly with responsive web design is especially important because local searches are primarily operated from smartphone devices. Web responsiveness or the presence of a mobile app, is an essential ranking factor.
Finally, you can also create local-inspired content, such as by reaching out to your local newspapers or mentioning local events. Additionally, optimising your content for local keyword phrases, such as ‘restaurant Shannon’ rather than just ‘restaurant’ can help search engines prioritise your website for local users.
WordPress is the most popular web development platform. It is used by nearly 75 million websites, making it the number one content management system in the world. As a result, a lot of our clients focus on WordPress-friendly SEO services that let them make the most of the platform while boosting their Google rankings. Therefore, you want to reach out to an SEO consultant who understands how to do SEO for WordPress. We always recommend the following SEO strategies:
- Install a WordPress SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO or All-In-One SEO Pack.
- Use WordPress CMS to change your permalinks and create SEO-optimised URLs with your keywords.
- Optimise your page for your focus keyword phrase, using your SEO plugin for guidance.
- Create a sitemap file using your SEO plugins. This helps search engines navigate your site. Remember to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, and any other webmaster tool used by search engines.
- Take advantage of the HTTPS option in WordPress. You can migrate an HTTP site to HTTPS with an SSL certificate to boost your online presence.
- Write a click-worthy and relevant meta title and meta description. Yoast SEO has an intuitive interface for this.
- Optimise your images using a relevant image alt text and image title, which you can edit via the visual editor in WordPress.
- Make your word count count. Google prefers content of 500 words or more.
- Add internal links to bring your content pages together.
- If you use affiliate links, use an affiliate plugin such as Pretty Links to set them on nofollow and 301 redirects. This avoids Google penalties in the search engine results.
- Work with an SEO company that understands Schema markup to boost crawlability and indexing of your website. You can use a free Schema plugin for WordPress for best results.
SEO experts classify the different SEO approaches in four distinctive categories:
- White hat SEO
- Grey hat SEO
- Back hat SEO
- Negative SEO
Google penalises black hat SEO in search engine results. It includes harmful SEO activities designed to accelerate ranking such as keyword stuffing, purchased backlinks, doorway pages which acts as a duplicate page, content cloaking, and thin page content.
On the other hand, white hat SEO refers to SEO best practices. Google Webmaster Guidelines identifies clearly what constitutes black and white hat SEO. Because Google puts the user first, the search engine prefers websites that are informative, useful, user-friendly, and reputable. Therefore, relevant and helpful content that focuses on one primary keyword phrase per page needs to be your SEO priority. Structured and organised content on the page and the site is the most logical SEO progression, making it easier for your visitors to find what they need. Writing quality content will boost your link building activities, which also supports your ranking. Additionally, white hat SEO also includes broader digital marketing activities, such as social media content promotion to increase brand signals and traffic.
Grey hat SEO lies somewhere in between white and black hats, and can sometimes be penalised by Google. However, if you keep in mind the interest of your readers first, you can make the most of these SEO strategies without bearing negative consequences. Clickbait content and paid reviews are perceived as grey hat SEO because they can be used either for the benefit of your online presence or to help users. Be careful not to rely on grey hat techniques too much as it could backfire.
Negative SEO practices are deemed uncompetitive, but they are still popular and hard to punish for search engines. Negative SEO refers to the marketing efforts of a company to cause harm to a competitor using black hat or grey hat methods on someone else’s website.
Monitoring your keyword rankings is not enough in a competitive market. You want to check how you are doing compared to your main competitor. Our SEO experts rely on dedicated SEO tools to keep track of business competitors.
If you use keyword ranking tools such as:
- Google Rank Checker
You already have several tools at your hands to monitor the ranking of specific keyword phrases. Google Rank Checker, for instance, is especially useful as it can highlight new competitors you didn’t know about. The tool lets you run a search by focusing on location, language, device and domain name. It then displays what the search engine result page would look like for users who meet your criteria. As such, you can also use the tool to identify other ranking websites and spot your most successful competitors.
MOZ, on the other hand, is a popular keyword ranking tool because the MOZ Pro service lets you monitor your competitors’ SEO activities and SEO Google rankings. You can use the data to compare against your performance and to spot keyword trends. For instance, if you notice that both you and your competitors are losing ranking positions for specific search terms, it could be a sign that people are using different keywords or that you’ve got a new competitor.
SE Ranking is a different SEO tool that enables digital marketing experts to discover which keywords competitors are using in both organic and paid per click search traffic. This allows you to design targeted keyword strategies and avoid unnecessary or harmful keyword competition.
At the beginning of your SEO strategy, you will need to identify the most relevant keywords for your business. Keywords are vital to your search engine optimisation activities. Therefore, if you want to understand how to do SEO, you need to understand what is a good keyword.
In essence, your keywords refer to the search terms that people use on search engines. Someone who types ‘Pineapple & ham pizza’ in Google is unlikely to find your Hawaiian pizza restaurant if you don’t include ‘pineapple & ham pizza’ in the content. Keywords, therefore, are designed to help search engines match your website with the user queries.
Keywords can come in a variety of formats, including:
- Single word, such as ‘pizza’,
- 2 to 3 term phrases such as ‘Hawaiian pizza’,
- Long-tail keyword phrases, such as ‘pineapple & ham pizza restaurant Shannon’.
When it comes to selecting the best keywords for your online presence, long-tail keywords have the highest conversion rate because they allow SEO companies to create highly targeted content pages that answer the user queries.
Finding the best keywords for your website is a combination of SEO strategies. SEO tools can only help you so much. You will need to gain an in-depth understanding of your target audience, which often require market research and demographic data analysis. Additionally, free tools such as Google Autocomplete, SeedKeywords.com, and Find Question-based Keywords can also highlight thought processes and needs in your audience.
With billions of websites competing for the top of Google, it’s fair to say that there is a lot of competition on keywords. Search engines account both for optimised content and keyword competition to order results. Therefore, if you want to boost your ranking position, you need to opt for a keyword phrase with a low competition score. As a rule of thumb, single keyword phrases are highly competitive, which means that your website is unlikely to appear on the first SERPs.
Identifying low competition keywords that can boost your ranking requires a keyword research tool:
- SEOTool is a free SEO suite that shows competitive metrics for keywords, both for organic and pay per click search.
- SEMRush provides an in-depth keyword competition analysis for paid and organic traffic.
- MOZ Keyword Explorer provides a similar competition analysis service
- SERPS Keyword Rank Checker and Research Database provides estimated search volume, cost per click (CPC) and value for paid traffic
- Google Keyword Planner on AdWords is a free tool that lets you monitor competition metrics per keywords for paid traffic
Keyword competition affects your organic rankings. But it also affects your paid search engine marketing, as competitive keywords have a high CPC.
Digital marketing refers to all activities that affect your online presence. SEO is one of the components of digital marketing. For best results, your SEO consultant will refer to the overall digital marketing strategy and activities to align SEO decisions. SEO often benefits from being connected to your digital marketing activities:
- Social media marketing can boost SEO results by increasing brand signals and traffic to the site. The more likes and shares of the content, the better.
- Blogging activities support SEO through the creation of informative content pieces.
- Online advertising can drive organic traffic by increasing brand awareness.
- E-mail marketing plays a significant role in SEO as it allows a company to boost backlinks and referrals to specific pages. Mailchimp is an excellent resource for anyone starting email marketing.
- Podcasts can help a website to acquire new backlinks and organic traffic.
- SEM, or paid search traffic, can help you increase brand signals for specific keywords and renew organic searches in the long term.
- Web design is both an element of SEO and branding. Your website is the opportunity for the brand to create an engaging and agreeable display that appeals to visitors.
In other words, you can’t consider SEO as an isolated strategy. It is entwined to your overall digital marketing activities and acts as one the pillars of your online presence.
End of SEO FAQ
To start your SEO process with Web Clare, we suggest you fill out a request for a FREE SEO report on your website.