Common SEO questions and answers
So, we’ve recently run a webinar, specifically for the construction industry, on the fundamentals of SEO. If you’re interested you can watch the recording
As SEO experts we get questions every day from professionals just like you about search engine optimisation, so we thought why not pop them into a handy post. Here are some of the common questions we hear, together with our answers, based on our years of SEO agency experience.
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, refers to the practices and techniques that go into making a website rank competitively in search engines such as Google. The ultimate aim is to increase organic visibility in search engines when a user looks up keywords that are relevant to your brand. Gaining more traffic from the most relevant terms not only leads to more and better quality traffic to your website, it also often positively impacts sales, enquiries and leads.
Does my business need SEO?
If your business depends on getting in new leads and enquiries, then the answer is almost definitely yes. We are willing to bet that a huge chunk of your target market turns to Google first, and unlike paid ads, users often better trust organic listings. Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that all they need is to rank for their brand name, when in fact their target audience is making a huge array of product and service-based searches which could drive a plethora of traffic and new leads to your website.
How does SEO work?
SEO is the process of optimising a website to help it gain better visibility in search engines. Google uses over 200 ranking factors to determine the content it crawls, indexes, and ultimately ranks in its search engine when users enter keywords. SEO works to edit, amend and influence key fundamentals of your website, including its content, backlinks, and technical SEO elements, to increase relevancy and so that it has the best chance of ranking competitively.
How effective is SEO?
When done correctly, quality SEO can be a hugely effective tool for driving relevant traffic, leads, enquiries and conversions to your website. The value in SEO is often in the long game, and many leading and challenging brands now invest heavily in SEO given the huge commercial value of leads that come from relevant search terms.
How long will it take to improve SEO results?
If you’re looking to invest in SEO services, then it is understandable that you want to know when you’ll start to see a return on investment. The main variable on this is budget and how quickly the initial work can be undertaken.
Larger budgets can be front loaded, but it would still usually take at least a few months to get the full effect.
A standard time would be 6 months to start making a good impact and marked improvements.
Other variables include:
· Competition levels and their SEO spends
· Keyword volumes and difficulty – smaller volumes being generally easier to rank for
· Your niche or industry
· Awareness of issues – new products will need other channels to generate search, as there may be no search volume for your new product
Also, it won’t get to the point where SEO is ‘done.’ You will need to reassess, optimise new pages, fix new errors, etc. Budget can be moved elsewhere, but scope for SEO projects should be kept.
What is technical SEO?
Technical SEO is all about improving the technical aspects of your website and its content to help it rank more competitively in search engines such as Google. Common technical SEO objectives include actions to make your website faster and easier for search engines to find, render, crawl, understand and index. Content and backlinks will propel your website further in search engines, while technical SEO ensures that the fundamentals on your website are on point. If your website has errors at the most basic level, then you will struggle to rank in search engines.
How do I persuade my company to invest more into SEO?
We hear this a lot. The marketing team are keen, but the board or wider business are not. Some of the stats and data we’ve run through today speak for themselves and you can share the deck with those who are not yet convinced.
Essentially SEO is the long game. Whenever you start, and the sooner the better in our view, you’re investing in a sustained programme to get payback down the line. Most of the companies’ that you see ranking in positions 1-3 have played the long game. They haven’t just got there overnight. But that said once you’ve started the investment it keeps paying for itself. Unlike with paid ads where as soon as you turn off the ad spend the clicks stop.
You should perhaps suggest they start small, make a relatively small part of the overall marketing budget available for SEO and then see the results. You’d need to manage expectation, however. If you’re only scratching the surface, then you’ll need a good 6-12 months to start seeing the results.
Any decent agency should be able to provide some insight into what a conservative ROI might be?
We’ve got a limited budget, what should we focus on?
The short answer is content.
Businesses of any size can see solid rewards by improving their content
And a lot of you will have it already – you just need to repurpose it into blog articles that are optimised for Search engines – It’s not just ‘words on a page’
If you’re not confident enough to identify what your audience wants in terms of content, then we [or any other agency/consultant] can help by providing this for you. You’d pay the SEO practitioner a fee to do the research and supply you with some suggested blog title and briefs
We’ve had a bad experience when undertaking SEO in the past
We’ve worked with many businesses and a number of these have unfortunately had a poor experience with either another SEO agency or consultant.
Our top tips would be:
· Check out their website
· What clients have they worked with
· Have they got case studies on the site to show the work they’ve done?
· Are there positive testimonials from clients
· How long have they been around?
We have a guide on how to choose the right digital marketing agency you can check out too
What is Domain Authority and why is it important?
Domain authority is a metric used to determine both the quantity and quality of the backlinks that are pointing to your website. Put simply, domain authority is a third-party metric produced by SEO tools such as SEMrush or Moz, in order to determine the overall backlink quantity and quality that a domain has. If you’re more familiar with Ahrefs then you may instead recognise this measurement as ‘Domain Rating’ (DR). Both Domain Rating and Domain Authority are built on the same concept and principles of one another, it’s just that the algorithms used in order to calculate each one is slightly different.
Why is my competitor X places above me in the search engine?
When a person types in a search query, Google wants to provide the web pages which are most relevant to their search. To do this, Google looks at a number of things, including:
- Whether your site is mobile friendly
- The quality and length of your content
- If your site is secure [HTTP vs HTTPS]
- Page speed
- Domain age
- Optimised images
- Quality backlinks
- Social signals
If your competitor is ranking higher than you in the search engine rankings, it is most likely because they are doing better than you in most or all of these things. They might have been actively investing in SEO for a long time, have more credible backlinks, a solid site structure and relevant, long-form content.
How often should I update my blog?
Google likes regular posting. So the short answer is as frequently as possible, whilst also remaining consistent.
When you visit a website that hasn’t been updated in a while, it tends to leave a poor impression. Out-of-date content makes a website look unloved, abandoned, and irrelevant. Fresh content, however, keeps the Google bots crawling your website more often. So create a blogging schedule and stick to it.
What about old blog posts, what should I do with those?
You can put a lot of effort into creating blog content and when done well it can really come into its own in terms of driving traffic to your site. Unfortunately, though, even top-ranking posts can lose their appeal and start to slip down the rankings.
The best thing to do is to review those posts, update them, add more relevant information, and make them great again!
It can actually be a much easier route to go down, than thinking of brand-new blog topics.
What’s a good length for a blog post?
Well, as ever with digital marketing, different expert sources suggest different lengths. But they all agree that longer is better. Whilst attention spans are becoming shorter than ever; conversely, the average word count of blog content is on the rise.
If you think about it, it makes sense. The longer the piece the more relevant information you’re going to be able to impart. There is also evidence that shows users stay on your site longer and check out more of your content.
Search engines like Google love long-form content, so long as it’s relevant.
Writing longer blog posts is beneficial to your readers and to the success of your blog. But don’t obsess over the actual word count. There’s no such thing as a single perfect blog post length for all topics. Just focus on providing valuable long-form content for your ideal audience.
Where can I find some beginner info on SEO?
Well hopefully the answers we’ve provided in this blog will help but the main recommendation would always be to learn more. There is loads of free training out there. Some of the main ones are Search Engine Journal, Moz, and Google themselves provide some pretty decent info for beginners. If you’re really interested, then there are paid-for training options as well. Many different ones are available. My top tip would be to find one which has no time limitation on it, that you can pause rewind and revisit as often as you wish and that provides actionable steps. Not just theory.
We do have some training available on our site but then so do many others – a quick Google should help you find what you’re looking for.
Let us know in the comments below if there are any other questions you want us to look at answering. We’d be happy to help.