Frequently Asked Questions about Search Engine Optimisation
SEO FAQs – What is SEO all about?
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About this FAQ
SEO Can be the simplest thing to understand. Learn how and why SEO can benefit your business.
SEO has numerous benefits for almost every business out there. It has the ability to help you dominate all the results you would to rank for under each given search query.
When done correctly, it can lead to increases in traffic and conversions on your website bringing you more “quality” business. Whilst SEO can be expensive, it is an investment in the growth of your business.
This FAQ is designed to help you understand more about SEO and what it involves.
SEO in Simple terms
The benefits of using SEO
The benefits of increased traffic
Invest in your growth
A selection of FAQ’s designed to help you understand SEO
What is White Hat SEO?
What is white hat SEO? White hat SEO helps your website rank in search engines. It does not use spammy techniques to improve the rankings. White hat refers to SEO strategies that function within the rules and expectations of search engines and the users/ searchers. It means implementing a variety of techniques to improve a website’s search engine ranking. It does not rely on tricks or tactics to take advantage of a search engine’s algorithm.
Why is white hat SEO so important for businesses to do? Well, without the search engine rules the search engine results would be a mess. Over the last few years, there have been many algorithm changes to stop bad results in the SERPs. Updates like Panda and Penguin helped shake the bad results of the page.
SEO is important because if their website does not appear in the search engines they will have no way of attracting potential customers or clients.
For example, let us assume you have a plumbing business servicing the Cape Town area. When people search for ‘plumber cape town’ in Google you want your plumbing businesses web page, you want it to show up at the top of Google for that term, not a ballerina shoe store. It’s funny but true.
Benefits of White Hat SEO
Sustainable results – No penalties
Improved website crawl ability
Ethical Approach to improve your web traffic
Search results are relevant to the search query
WHAT IS BLACK HAT SEO?
Black hat SEO is a form of SEO that goes against webmasters guidelines and looks to abuse the algorithm to force the rankings. These techniques include keyword stuffing, cloaking, and using private link networks also called PBN’s.
Black hat SEO can be very harmful to business websites. For example, if a website is caught using black hat SEO techniques, their website could be penalized by Google, which would result in a significant drop in web traffic. In some cases, businesses have even had their websites completely removed from Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). This is sometimes called a penalty (which can be recovered) but many times it can be so bad that you may not be able to recover your rankings.
So why would anyone use black hat SEO? Black hat SEO can be used to quickly achieve high rankings for a, but the risks are high. It is stupid to attempt these tactics. Now, there is a bit of a grey area with some of the techniques. For example, you shouldn’t use PBN’s or Web 2.0 to link to your site. In some cases, it can be fine, if you have content shared to Medium and linking to your site, as long as it is relevant and contextual it shouldn’t be a problem. Always keep the consumer/ user/ searcher in mind.
Disadvantages of Black hat SEO
Leads to a penalty – may be difficult to recover from
Can cause a significant drop in search traffic
High risk with little long term reward
More search engine updates are focused on users not manipulating search engines
WHAT IS KEYWORD RESEARCH?
Keyword research is a process of finding certain words or phrases that someone is searching for and determining how popular they are (in terms of the number of searches they get per day or month) and how difficult/ easy it would be to rank for them. Keyword research is the foundation of any SEO strategy. If nobody is searching for what you’re writing about, you won’t get traffic from Google—no matter how hard you try.
You may think that the only keywords worth considering are those with high search volumes, but this isn’t always true. You need to assess the competition as well – these are other websites already ranking well in Google for your chosen keywords. Keyword difficulty indicates just how competitive it will be to rank high in results pages for particular terms.
Keyword difficulty can range from 0-100 in tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush.
It is a metric that can give us insight as to whether a website can rank for that word or not. It is usually worth noting that other metrics need to be taken into account here such as Page Authority and Domain Authority as they have a direct impact on how the website ranks for the term or phrase.
A high keyword difficulty score doesn’t mean that it is impossible to rank for a term, it just means there is more competition. A good way to measure how valuable a keyword is to your business would be to look at its search traffic value. This metric tells you how much traffic you can expect to get from ranking in the top spot for a certain keyword. The higher the number, the more valuable the keyword is. If a keyword has a low search traffic value, it may not be worth targeting because you won’t see a lot of ROI for all the effort you put in.
Understanding the benefits of Keyword research
Helps you find low competition/ high volume keywords you can rank for
Helps you plan out your website content correctly
Allows you to target an acceptable search volume
Helps give you estimated metrics to base your approach off
WHAT IS ON-PAGE SEO AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing a website’s content and structure (like structured data and “H” tags) to rank higher in the search engine results. It’s one of the most important factors in improving your site’s visibility, and it has changed a lot over the years.
Google now looks at user experience as a key factor in ranking pages, which means you can’t just stuff your content with keywords and expect to rank high. You need to create valuable content that people will want to read and share.
There are numerous things you can do to improve your rankings in Google using On-Page SEO. We will go over what you need to do and the best practices.
-Title tags -Content titles are the most important piece of on-page SEO because they’re one of the few items within your control. You should spend time crafting them with attention to detail. Not only is Google now using title tags for Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), but it’s also not uncommon for people to grab their first impression from titles alone, so they speak volumes about your business even before they get clicked.
-Meta descriptions -Meta descriptions allow you to influence click-through rates, which impact rankings as well as visitor behaviour (especially since Google determined that CTR has a direct effect on position). Perfect meta descriptions can make or break your results, so start by testing out different descriptions and seeing how that can impact your rankings.
-Optimising your header tags can help Google understand your content, especially when it comes to structured data. Use H1 tags for the main keywords on your page and then use other header tags if necessary.
-URLs -The URL is still an important factor for on-page SEO because Google will crawl all subfolders on a site if given access, so having different URLs can cause indexing problems over time. You should also make sure that the title of the page appears in your URLs by using titles correctly or rewriting incorrect URLs.
-Content -You need to focus on quality instead of quantity because you want Google to direct users to helpful pages that are unique and relevant, not ones filled with low-quality information that people won’t bother reading. This is why keyword research is very important in this manner because it essentially helps you understand what the person is searching for.
Benefits of On-page SEO
Improved user experience
On-page content is a key factor in improving your rankings
Helps you create useful and relevant content the searcher is looking for
On-page optimisation also includes Title tags, Meta descriptions and URL tweaks
WHAT IS OFF-PAGE SEO?
Off-page SEO is the process of optimizing your website’s presence on other websites (in the form of a mention or link) and online properties (such as Social media sites or a podcast) to improve its search engine rankings. Off-page SEO is one of the most important aspects of SEO, as it helps to build up the trust and authority of your website with search engines. This is the E-A-T Algorithm at work.
There are several ways to optimize your website for off-page SEO, including link building, social media optimization, and content marketing. By improving your website’s visibility on other websites and online properties, you can increase its chances of ranking higher on search engine results pages.
With regards to our tests, we have noted things like doing two social media posts a week and adding the website URL and contact information can have a significant impact on rankings in both the Maps Pack and SERP’s.
Another important aspect of off-page SEO is link building. To improve your website’s ranking, you need to have links from high-quality websites pointing to your website. Off-page SEO is important because it helps search engines realize that your site is popular, trustworthy, helpful, and relevant. It is worth noting that the links need to be contextually relevant and the anchor tags need to be done correctly to achieve the benefit you seek.
An example of this may be the following: Traditionally you might have a local business with just a phone number listed on their website. Your business will not rank very well for general searches as there are thousands of other businesses doing the same thing. Off-Page SEO can help raise the authority of your site by getting links from other high ranking websites like high traffic directories or industry-related blogs (this is sometimes done as a guest post). Off-page SEO can also include activities like Social Media Marketing and Content marketing, these activities ultimately help increase the number of quality backlinks pointed at your website which subsequently benefits the business. All in all, the more exposure the better.
Understanding Off-page SEO
Content Marketing helps “advertise” your expertise in a field
Off-page SEO helps establish trust with the searcher
Social Media helps with community building
Link building elevate your webpages authority
WHAT IS SEO REPORTING AND HOW IS IT MEASURED?
What are SEO reports?
SEO reports are the practice of collecting data, interpreting it, and showing results in an easy to understand format. This usually involves easy to understand graphs for example. These reports usually include your overall website rankings in search engines for various keywords, which visitors come to the site from Google, what they do on the site when they get there.
Reports may also track ranking changes over time for the various pages on your website, backlinks, and indexed pages on Google. The reports may also include a site audit, your competitors and their rankings, content ideas to improve on etc.
Why do SEO reports matter?
This is important to know what works and what doesn’t in your business, and why it isn’t working. With the information, you can allocate resources where they are most needed to increase your search rankings. This is part of making SEO a critical component of marketing that generates leads for businesses. You will also get better at writing content that converts into sales.
The reports show how keywords drive traffic to the website, what pages visitors land on, how much time they spent on the page/site, which links brought them there (if it’s not organic) etc. With this data under your belt, you can easily measure ROI for your efforts and make adjustments accordingly to improve results. There is so much more insight available with accurate reporting than just looking at the SERP’s.
Helps you understand what is working and what isn’t.
Reports show various metrics from rankings to links and any issues you may still have on your website
Reports are in text and graph format
Reports helps establish which pages are getting traffic
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