20 Questions About SEO You Were too Afraid or Embarrassed to Ask - Answered!
When I first begun doing Internet Marketing and SEO, I thought I know what it was all about and how it worked. I knew that SEO stood for Search Engine Optimization and that meant optimizing your site for the Search Engines to make it rank higher. A real no brainer. I new that the better your SEO was the better and higher up in the Search Engines you would rank. So I was an SEO guru right? Wrong. What I came to realize is the more about SEO I learned, the less I realized I knew about it. And the more I learned, the more questions I kept having about it too. Fast forward 10 years, I've now learned the best answers to some of these SEO questions that I used to ask and that people still ask today. So if you're struggling to learn more about SEO, these questions and my answers will hopefully clear up some of your confusion, give you that eureka moment and set you on the right path to success!
20 SEO Questions You Were Too Afraid or Embarrassed to Ask Answered for You.
Question 1. What is SEO?
Answer: SEO, what's That? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. And that means optimizing your website so that it becomes more visible in the organic search results by people who are looking for your brand or products and services etc. This usually involves building links (backlinks) to your site from other sites so that it ranks higher and becomes more visible in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). SEO can be split into both on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to making your site optimized for what the Search Engines and people look for such as great unique content, sitemaps and features for people to interact and share your site etc.
Question 2. What's Different About Organic Results and Paid Results?
Answer: Organic traffic is traffic you get from the Search Engines when your site shows in the results of a persons search. Organic traffic is free traffic you don't have to pay for and just happens "organically" in that it's based on a Search Engine algorithm. Where as paid or "inorganic" traffic is the traffic you get from an ad you have running with Google's Adwords program where you pay a fee to have your ad shown alongside either on the right hand side or on the top of organic search results.
Question 3. What's The Meta Description and Does it Even Matter Anymore?
Answer: The Meta Description is a text that Search Engines use to see what the webpage is all about. They help the Search Engines to know what the page is about and are often used by Search Engines like Google in the search results. A good meta description should contain the main keywords you're trying to target wrapped around a description which can show people if it's what they're looking for. Meta descriptions are still important to use but they aren't used quite in the same way as they used to be. They used to be the best place to contain your main keywords for that page that you're trying to target but these days it's much better used to write something that will compel the searcher or reader to click on your site so it can improve your CTR ration (Click Through Rate).
Question 4. Should I Have a Keyword Optimized Domain?
Answer: You shouldn't have a domain that has your main targeted keywords in it just for the sake of trying to optimize that domain for those keywords. It can actually hinder your SEO. If your websites business or company name has a keyword in it then that's okay but don't register a domain like internetmarketingtechnicalsolutionservicesltd.com. It would be much better to optimize a domain that is short, easily remembered and very brandable such as imtssltd.com or imtservices.com. You get the idea right!?
Question 5. How to know what the right amount of keywords on a page should be?
Answer: There is no exact answer here and different people will say different things. Some people say around 2 times per 1000 words, some people say more. Thinking about how many times your keywords should appear on the page is the wrong way to think about keyword optimization. It's true though that using the same keywords too many times can be considered "keyword stuffing" by Search Engines and get you a penalty if you don't have lots of other content on your site. Instead of trying to aim for a certain amount, just keep your readers in mind and write for them and only include those keywords as they come up in your writing. There are many opportunities for you to include your keywords or synonyms of them so you wont even need to think of a specific number.
Question 6. What are Inbound and Internal Links and How do They Differ From Each Other?
Answer: Internal links are the links on your site that link to another page on your site. So you could link to your contact us page or link to another page on your site internally. Good internal links make up good on-page SEO and emphasis should be put on them so to create a solid on-page SEO score for your website. Where as inbound links are links from another website that are linking to your website. Otherwise known as backlinks. Both internal and inbound links are very valuable for your SEO both on-page and off-page SEO.
Question 7. How many internal links should I include in each of my pages content?
Answer: Just like you shouldn't stuff more keywords into your content and other areas like title or meta description etc, you shouldn't add too many internal links in your pages content which aren't needed. Only create internal links to the other pages on your site if there is call for it as and when they're needed such as linking to other resources and related content and only when it improves your readers experience. Any more than this is just overkill.
Question 8. Do I need to learn how to code to do my own SEO?
Answer: Not these days with drag and drop website builders, widgets and everything being made ready for you such as with WordPress and its rich text editor. You wont need to learn coding of any kind whether it be HTML, CSS or PHP to do SEO yourself. There may be times when you want to make some changes to the guts of your websites HTML or PHP files and some coding knowledge in these languages may come in handy but those languages aren't hard to learn and you can always hire a reliable coder for a reasonable and fair price for that these days anyway.
Question 10. What is the robots.txt file and what purpose does it serve?
Answer: It's a small text file that tells search engines how to interact on your site and which pages it can or can't crawl. You can use it to tell Search Engines where certain pages of your site are too such as your sitemap file or use it to deny access to other pages or prevent some pages becoming indexed in their Search Engine such as your sitemap results or some other page.
Question 11. What is an XML sitemap?
Answer: An XML (Extensible Markup Language) sitemap file is a list of all your sites pages which can be accessed by crawlers which tells them which pages are more important than others and how often they are updated. XML sitemaps can improve the SEO of a website by letting Search Engines find all the pages on your site.
Question 12. What's the difference between crawling and indexing?
Answer: When a Search Engine visits your site it starts to crawl it which means they are scanning your pages and recording what they see on them. They can then show what they have seen on your site in the SERPs. But crawling doesn't guarantee indexing because Search Engines will decide what content they will want to show in those SERPs based on their own algorithm.
Question 13. How can I know which of my sites pages have been indexed?
Answer: You can just do a search in Google using this search operator site:yourdomain.com which will show all the pages of your site that have been indexed. Also using Google Webmaster Tools will tell you of how many pages your site has which Google has indexed. This will help you to work on getting those other non-indexed pages indexed by repurposing them. That can mean adding links to them and adding some new content to them or both.
Question 14. How to know how many backlinks Google knows my sites has?
Answer: You can use the search operator of "yoursite.com" -site:yoursite.com and this will minus out all results of your own site and show only where that domain was found which is useful in getting a quick glance at how many backlinks your site has. There are some also great free online tools to do this with as well just search "find my backlinks".
Question 15. What's ALT text and why do my images need it?
Answer: Search Engines can't see images and what that image has in it or is so they have no idea of knowing whether it's an image of a puppy or an image of a mountain. The ALT text tells Search Engines what the image is or is about. Also if your page doesn't load the images for some reason, the ALT text can help people to know what the image was or is about. It's also useful for blind people who also can't see images too and the ALT text will be read out to them so they can figure out what the image is.
Question 16. How long will it take to get good results from my SEO?
Answer: There's quite a lot to take into consideration such as the competition of the keywords you're trying to target and rank high for. What sort of SEO has been done and how much of it has been done. It also depends on what your on-page SEO score is, how much content you already have or publish, the quality of that content and how much it resonates to your readers and also if you're a small or big website that has a weak or strong domain authority in the Search Engines. Small new sites will often take a lot longer and more SEO to improve your SERP ranking because they're crawled less infrequently. Where as bigger, older sites will respond much quicker (in most cases) if its crawled much more frequently. You get crawled more by having more do follow backlinks. You should wait around a week at least or up to a month before you consider doing more SEO on your site as you don't want to over optimize your site!
Question 17. What is Do Follow and No Follow?
Answer: No follow refers to an HTML attribute value tag you can set to links that tell the Search Engines not to visit and crawl that link and that it's not a very important link. An example of a no follow link would be <a href=”http://www.google.com/” rel=”nofollow”>Google</a>. There is no such thing as a do follow tag as all links are automatically followed (crawled) by Search Engines unless they are set to no follow.
Question 18. Is it a good idea to hire someone to do SEO for me?
Answer: It can be a very good idea if they are going to do the right kind of SEO that is applicable for todays Search Engines. But it can actually be dangerous to your website if they don't know the modern rules of SEO and do some black hat SEO on it that can end up getting your site penalized in the SERPS. You only want to hire a reputable SEO that does only white hat SEO on your site. You can find a professional white hat SEO on SEOClerks. Google has created a support doc which is extremely helpful in choosing the right SEO to do that for you. See Do You Need an SEO.
Question 19. What's a good goal to aim for in your SEO?
Answer: You should aim for the highest quality SEO only. One backlink from a related site (a site in the same niche as yours) is worth 1000 low quality backlinks that aren't. Try not to think about getting to the top so much as think about your full marketing strategy. If the people that are visiting your site from your SEO aren't interested in what your site is about or the products/services that it offers then it's pretty useless traffic really and will just increase your bounce rate. Think about what general traffic and quality traffic means to your site. So set goals that are going to actually help you to get more sales and subscribers otherwise it's just wasted SEO.
Question 20. How has SEO changed in the past 5 years?
Answer: Massively! What used to work 5+ years ago probably wont work today if at all as well. Google has really clamped down on Search Engine manipulation and all the latest algorithms make it harder to rank sites than before. These days you need to focus on quality more than ever. That includes both the quality of your sites content and the quality of your backlinks too.
So there we have 20 important SEO questions and their answers in my own way. Do you have any more SEO questions or feel like I've not answered any properly/enough? Let me know and I'll try to answer them or elaborate on them more for you.