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In school I was always told that there was no such thing as a “dumb” question. However, as I continued to go through various classes and learn new topics, I quickly realized that maybe there was no such thing as a dumb questions, but there was certainly questions that could make you feel dumb because of the aura of simplicity around them.
So, I’ve created this list of answers to common search engine optimization (SEO) questions to hopefully help you as you begin your dive into building your own SEO strategy.
1. What is SEO?
Simply put, SEO stands for search engine optimization. It refers to the strategies/techniques behind making your website more visible to people who are looking for your product/service via search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
There are many many different components to improving SEO including, title tags, keywords, inbound links, image tags, etc. SEO is a constantly changing game, but at it’s core it’s still the use of tactics, which correctly employed can help you rank better in search engines.
After all, how often do you go past the first page of search results?
2. What’s the difference between internal and inbound links?
Internal links are those you set in place yourself. They are links from one page on your website to another. Inbound links are other websites that link to your content. While both are valuable, inbound links will help you build trust and improve your search engine rankings.
Think of it as a popularity contest, sure you can keep cheering for yourself (internal links), and a few more people may gain interest in what you do. However, the more other people start cheering for you (inbound links) the more authority you’ll get in search engine rankings.
3. Is there such a thing as too many internal links?
Just like keyword stuffing, adding too many internal links can take away from your reader’s experience. They don’t want to be sent on a treasure hunt to find answers, after all that’s why they landed on that page, for an answer. Only include internal links when it improves the reader experience.
4. What is the difference between organic and paid results?
Organic search results are the results that appear in search engines for free, based on previously discussed SEO metrics such as keywords, inbound links, competition, etc. Search engines are optimizing their algorithms to help the user find the best possible answer to their question every time. Ranking in the top page organically is the result of a targeted SEO strategy and patience.
Paid results are those which appear at the very top of the page, or on the sidebar. They’ll usually be marked as “ads” and are simply links that advertisers have paid to go on the top of the search results for certain keywords/phrases.
5. Why do I need alt text on my images?
Search engines cannot read images, but they can read text. The alt text simply helps them figure out what the images are all about. It also helps readers, in the case that they cannot load images, they can still find out what the image is by reading the alt text.
6. How do I know when I’m using the correct number of keywords on a page?
The right answer, is that there is no right answer!
Unfortunately, there is no “sweet-spot” for a number of keywords per page that’ll automatically get you on the front page of Google. There is no specific amount of keywords you should be aiming for, so use your own discretion.
Remember, you’re writing for your reader, not for the search engine. You’ll also want to keep in mind that Google penalizes using a keyword too many times (keyword stuffing). Use whatever natural opportunities come up to include keywords, and use Google’s LSI to your advantage.
7. What is LSI?
Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is an indexing and retrieval method used to crawl the contents of a web page and assemble the most common words and phrases to identify the keywords for the page. LSI is based on the principle that words that are used in the same contexts tend to have similar meanings.
In other words, Google sees your title includes” SEO” and expects to find words relating to the subject such as “keyword strategy” or “link building.” Synonyms are also applicable, so if you use the word “corporate” instead of “business,” you would still rank for both terms.
8. What are meta descriptions and do they still matter?
Meta descriptions are the text that appears below your page/title in search engine results. These tiny snippets of texts, give you the opportunity (in 150 characters or less) to convince the user to click on your link.
Meta descriptions used to be the place to optimize for keywords so crawlers would know more about your page contents. Since then, Google has claimed that it does not use keywords in the meta description as a form of ranking.
However, meta descriptions still play a crucial role in SEO. A compelling meta description can mean the difference between you, or any other link on the page getting the click-through. Click through’s which help improve your conversion rates, which helps improve your ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs).
9. What is the difference between indexing and crawling?
As search engines go through (or crawl through) the contents of your website, they write down (or index) content that will appear in the search engine. Search engines pick what they will and won’t index as they go through the crawling process.
You can see which pages are indexed by typing in site:www.YOURDOMAIN.com into Google.
10. How long does it take to see results from SEO?
There are quite a few different factors that will determine how quickly you will see results from your SEO strategy, the list includes:
- The quality of the content you create
- How much content you create
- The size of your site and whether you have a strong or weak domain authority
- The keywords you’ve selected to target and their difficulty
- How thorough and well rounded your strategy is
Although there is no definitive answer, you’ll probably be looking at month to six months of work before you see real results. Remember to be patient, SEO accumulates value over time, every blog post you create and keyword you use will help you move forward.
SEO is a constantly changing process, what works now may not work tomorrow, or in a few weeks. Hopefully these answers helped you as you begin your dive into SEO. For further information, please check out our absolutely free SEO course below.