Ten Top SEO Questions (with Answers)

If you're new to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you may find it overwhelming. The phrase search engine optimization came into use in 1997 and evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry.

If you’re beginning to get your toes wet in the world of SEO, here are 10 of the top SEO questions asked on a regular basis that will help you understand what SEO is about.

‘White Hat SEO’ vs ‘Black Hat SEO’: What’s the Difference?

There are different types of strategies and techniques used to achieve higher search rankings. Many people in the SEO industry have labelled different approaches as either ‘White Hat SEO’, ‘Black Hat SEO’ and ‘Grey Hat SEO’.

Black Hat SEO

The three types have come about because of Google's* guidelines recommending what sites can and cannot do to rank websites. Google has published a resource titled ‘Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide’, which is worth a read. This guide gives a detailed overview of what Google regards a website development and marketing best practices.

Some SEO marketers have worked out ways to exploit the Google algorithm for short-term gain. This aggressive approach is typically referred to as 'Black Hat SEO'. The primary concern for using Black Hat SEO is that Google or other search engines may penalize or at best, ignore, website content. We have worked with clients who have come to us requesting help to get their website reindexed after being penalized. (HINT: it can be an expensive and arduous process without any guarantee for positive results.)

White Hat SEO’ is regarded as the most “ethical” approach to SEO. White Hat SEO practitioners follow the guidelines Google has provided in search of SEO results. The White Hat SEO approach is the most sustainable strategy to use for SEO work in that it involves strategies and tactics that follow search engine guidelines that won’t put your website or business “in harm’s way”.

Grey hat is somewhere in between black and white. SEO marketers performing grey hat tend to use a combination of strategies considered both black and white.

FYI. Custom Fit Online is committed to “sustainable SEO”, which is probably another way of saying we use White SEO techniques. We never want to see our clients get penalized by search engines. We also want to see our work increase our clients’ business both short-term and long-term. Doing anything that puts out clients in jeopardy with search engines it something we always knowingly avoid. This is why it’s vital for us to stay up-to-date with the latest SEO news, search engine policies, and the most sustainable tactics and techniques.

*it’s a norm to talk about Google and SEO. There are other search engines with their algorithms and guidelines; Google dwarfs their market share.

Which Keywords Do I Choose?

Keyword research is a basic practice for everyone looking to improve their results on SERPs (search engine results pages).

If you can rank for keywords related to your business, you bring targeted traffic to your website. But not all keywords bring in traffic that meets your needs. The best approach is to build and market a website that brings traffic that has “intent” to engage with your website’s content: be that buying something, creating a lead, consuming content, or some other level of engagement.

You need to consider what kind of people you want arriving at your website.

For example…

For newer websites, ranking strongly for a keyword like “cats” is going to very difficult to impossible as bigger websites that have built up “authority” with Google will be dominating the rankings for this keyword. When I searched for “cats” Wikipedia was the first website on Google’s search engine results page. It’s next to impossible to beat Wikipedia for a wide variety of generic high traffic keywords.

Ranking well for keywords or a phrase like “why are cats green?” isn’t likely you to get much traffic, although you never know until you do your research.

But if you are selling “sweaters for cats” are where is a market for this, a well-optimized website centered around “sweater and cats” just might work. There might not be a huge number of people searching for this (compared to those searching specifically for “cats”), but these people may be searching with “intent” to find more information or even buy a sweater for their feline! (Spoiler alert: Amazon Canada has several sweaters for cats available to buy online.)

Top Ten SEO Questions

🔎Top 10 SEO Questions & Answers 🖥️

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How Often Does Google Updated The Search Results?

Google is updating the SERP algorithm all day every day. Google uses real-time feedback from searches to update the rankings and algorithm. To the naked eye, we don’t notice these changes as the changes minor. You might see one of your pages jump between a position 8 and 9 for a few weeks and that would be normal.

Throughout the years Google has released major updates affecting some SERP’s. If you want to look into these updates, search for information about Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird updates.

Major algorithm updates target marketers exploiting the algorithm with black hat SEO techniques. As a result, companies can lose their cash flow overnight if their rankings tumble. For 'White Hat SEO', companies can grow significantly with a post on the top of the search results.

Will SEO Work For Me?

The answer is usually yes. No matter what type of business you have, there is going to be some form of SEO that works for you.

If you create videos, you can put in place SEO for your YouTube videos. If you have an online store, eCommerce SEO is a big business and for small local businesses, the sub-niche ‘local SEO’ matters.

How Much Does SEO Cost?

It depends. If you’re performing SEO by yourself, you can use free tools (discussed further below) and tactics to reach your goals. The only cost, in this case, is your time.

But, you can use a company to take over your entire SEO practice. This can cost anywhere from 100’s to 1,000’s every month.

There are all sorts of answers based on specific variables.

How Long Does It Take For SEO To Work?

It depends. If you’re a local SEO company, you might want to begin with getting a presence in local Google Map searches which could be done in a matter of days. Or, a brand new website can take months to see any traction whatsoever.

How Do I Know If SEO Is Working?

SEO is a most typically a long-term game with no guarantees. You can track relevant metrics by using a data collection tools such as Google Analytics to determine how successful your SEO work is.

A vital step in understanding if SEO is working for you is to have goals in place. SEO is flexible; different practices can help all your goals whether it's increasing:

  • ‘engaged’ traffic
  • qualified leads
  • conversions (which vary greatly depending on your business)
  • direct sales (eCommerce)
  • brand presence/awareness
  • and more.

Depending on your goals, SEO might produce results overnight, or things or could take months to move the needle. SEO usually takes time, from several months to, in some cases, a year or more. The level of competition you have for keywords affects the amount of time required to get results. Less competition is easier. More competition makes it tougher to rank well.

Does Social Media Matter For SEO?

As with everything SEO, it depends. There are some people who say it doesn’t influence SEO at all. What we can agree with is there is at least an indirect benefit of social media on SEO.

If an article goes viral on social media, thousands if not millions will see the article/video/image.

Some of the millions will be journalists or bloggers who now can link to the viral article (links discussed below).

While it is almost impossible to gauge if the content is going to go viral, when it does, you’ll enjoy the SEO benefits.

We often use social media to help promote website content that certainly can have a positive impact on search engine ranking results.

What Are Links?

The definition of a link is:

“...an HTML object that allows you to jump to a new location when you click or tap it. Links are found on almost every webpage and provide a simple means of navigating between pages on the web.” - source

On your website, you can have two types of links.

Internal links will take you to another page on your website.

External links take you to a different website.

When people talk about getting backlinks, they are usually referring to websites that link from them to you. For example, the text source above is a backlink for TechTerms.com.

What Are Popular Tools For SEO?

With the industry developing into a billion dollar industry there are 100’s of SEO tools available. Some of the more common tools, are Moz, ahrefs, and SEM Rush. These tools are on the more expensive end, but you can use free SEO tools and get results.

Keywords Everywhere is a popular free chrome plugin for keyword research. Google also has a host of free tools designed to help you optimize your website like Google Search Console and Google Optimize.

We listed a some of the SEO tools we use.

And lucky you! Here is a bonus question.

Do I Have To Perform SEO?

No, there is no reason why your business cannot survive without SEO. There are many forms of marketing, both online and offline that work fine in generating business leads. You might even be performing SEO without even realising. If you accept every podcast interview, you’re building backlinks to your website which is a common SEO practice.

But for many, SEO is a vital strategy for succeeding in business.

The SEO learning curve is never-ending. By reading this article, you’ll understand that there are a lot of unknowns in SEO.

Roy McClean
Mar 29, 2018
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