A beginner’s guide to SEO: FAQ’s

In this article we talk over the many frequently asked questions about SEO. Here is a complete beginner’s guide to SEO and all the things to look out for.

When you talk about official titles, is this your title tags and H1 titles or headings?

Title tags are the same as your H1 titles or headings, so this is how you can set these up.

How do link titles improve SEO? And why exactly is “Click Here” bad for SEO?

Essentially they’re going to help as whatever word is linked to your website, will then be associated with your company or web page. For example, if you use keywords, when someone then types that keyword into Google it will look at your web page as it’s linked to that word. Whereas if you’re linking “click here”, this doesn’t make any difference or improve your ranking.

Is organic SEO better than PPC?

They both have their benefits, so it really depends on what you want to get out of this type of activity. PPC is good if you’re looking for instant results, so this could be if you’re launching a new website or have a time sensitive campaign or offer. Whereas SEO is good for long term strategy.

We like to compare SEO and PPC to going to the gym and cosmetic surgery. PPC is cosmetic surgery, it gets your results straight away, but it can be expensive. SEO is like going to the gym, it may take some time to see results, but it’ll be more organic and better in the long term.

Ideally, you should be using a combination of both to get you the best possible results from search engine marketing as a whole.

Do social media links to LinkedIn, Facebook and so on count as good quality backlinks?

Absolutely. As long as the website linking through to yours is deemed to be trustworthy and have a good reputation, then this will help. Social media sites have a lot of traffic and have good reputations so these always work really well, and quite a quick and easy win to start building these backlinks.

What about Meta data, and where does that sit?

Google uses click-through-rate (CTR) as a way of determining whether you’re a good result. If more people click your result then they’d expect based on your position, they move you up. This is why optimising the meta description is so important, as is optimising your titles.

What is the best way to get external companies to link to your website?

This can be tricky to do, especially if you’re targeting websites with high traffic volumes as they’ll pick who they link through to carefully.

However, some things you can do is to start building relationships with people you already work with, such as suppliers, customers, or partners for example. They can help you with this, and if they’re a customer they could put a testimonial on their website for you. Also, set up your social media platforms, link them through to your website and look at some high-quality directories.

You can also use things such a press releases, push these out to try and get them on other websites such as blogs, and if you’re exhibiting at an event, get them to link through to you on the event website as well.

What if the link is behind a button? How will that effect SEO?

Essentially, the search engine will give authority to the text that’s in your call-to-action or button. If it’s an
image with text in the image, it’ll give more authority to any text around the image. Therefore, if you use a
button ideally it’ll be a set call-to-action button where you can add text and the hyperlink, but remember
you will need to keep in mind the text you use within your button.

Can you identify the source of backlinks to your site?

There’s a tool you can use called Majestic, Moz or Semrush  which will help to show you who is currently linking through to your website.

If we implement all of these ideas, how long does it take to see results?

Putting SEO into place does take a while to really come into effect, it’s not going to be a quick fix. Having
said that, if you start to implement everything you should start to see some improvement within a month
hopefully. This will all depend on how well you’re doing it.

However, it’s not something you can set up and leave it alone, it does take constant management. So as long as you’re constantly looking after and reviewing it, you should see results continue to come in and improve.

How does Google know if I’ve updated my content – dated pages or through code?

Essentially, this is all part of their algorithm and what they’ve built to look at all websites. Whatever date your page is associated with, so the publish date or edited date will be in the page coding as well.

What are some of the key criteria around selecting people to help with SEO?

SEO can be a full-time job, so it’s very tempting to outsource this activity to an agency. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. However, it can be extremely confusing to know whether or not a particular agency is worth joining with. With that in mind, we’ve put together some questions you should ask an agency before you hire them, and the answers they should be giving.

How will you keep me informed of changes you make to our website?

A good SEO company will send you regular reports. The most common frequency is once per month (typically at the end), but some will send you quick weekly updates as well. You must hire an SEO company that you trust.

Can you share information on some of your past clients and their results?

They should be able to give you an example. In additional, they should be able to easily show their results (ideally over a long-term period). Then, follow up by asking who their longest active client is.

Do you always follow Google’s best practices?

This is crucial. Google applies approximately 500 algorithm updates per year. All of these updates are for one purpose: to provide better results for searchers.

What types of SEO work will you do?

There should be at least a basic technical SEO audit done once you hire a company. If this isn’t part of their process, they likely are not very good SEOs.

Can you guarantee that our site will rank #1 for a major search term?

This is a great one as you can NEVER guarantee #1 ranking.

How often will you report on your work, and what will it look like?

SEO companies report on any website changes they make, but they should also report on activity and reports.

Why should we hire you over other SEOs?

Red Flag answers include:

  • We’re cheaper than other options
  • We can build you more back links (instead of better quality)
  • We don’t know
  • We can get you faster results

How much should we be paying?

In terms of price, this is a bit trickier to answer as it really does depend. However, we have some average costs which came from a survey by SEO specialists Moz, and I’ve put this below for you. It may be useful in terms of guidelines. It’s worth remembering though, you do tend to get what you pay for with SEO agencies.

  Entry Level Average Advanced
Monthly retainers £600 £1,000 £10,000+
Project budgets £2,000 £10,000 £100,000+
Hourly rates £50 £200 £400+

Do titles help with user experience as well as SEO?

Absolutely. A user is much more likely to decide if a search result is relevant to them by the title displayed than anything else. So, by making sure your official titles correspond with key search terms, you’ll ensure you get a greater level of engagement from your users. If a user can click on your link, and know it’s for them, it’s a good user experience and they won’t bounce off the website. This, in turn, will help your ranking under this key term.

How often should you update your copy or titles on your site to keep SEO fresh?

Ultimately, it’s the content of your actual website, not necessarily the copy or titles, that you need to keep updating. So, if you have something like a blog, PR page, new product launches, events and so on, it’s these pieces you need to continually update.

However, if you think your copy or titles aren’t working with SEO – so the keywords aren’t working as you’d hoped – then you can look at changing these up and seeing if they make a difference.

What is the maximum number of words you’d use in a single link e.g. 3

I wouldn’t say there is a maximum number of words, however you do want to keep it concise and short. It’s more important to make sure the words you’re using are quality and relevant to your website

Is there a recommended maximum number of links to have on a web page which wouldn’t be considered too many?

What a search engine will do is take the hyperlink from the top phrase hyperlinked – so if you’ve hyperlinked the same phrase more than once, it’ll only take the first one into consideration. However, if you’ve used lots of different words and hyperlinked them all it will take them all into consideration. Obviously, you don’t want to spam the reader with links upon links, so only use them if they naturally fall there. Be careful not to over-stuff.

What’s the best way and most important factor to consider  to beat the competition?

You need to be doing all things equally and this is what is going to help you beat your competitor. If you just focus on one or two, it’s not going to make the biggest amount of difference, especially not enough to compete on a search engine. I would suggest taking a look to see where your competitors are currently ranking and seeing if they do any of these things and how they’re doing them. You then have a base line of what you need to do as a minimum to beat them in a results page.

If we’re writing a blog for our business, is it better to have this on a separate website linking through to our main website, or is it better to have it on our main website?

Definitely have it on your website as this will really help with your SEO as you’re constantly updating it. If a search engine can see you have content that’s regularly updated, this is going to help. Yes, having it separate would help in terms of pushing people through to your website, however, this will only help with SEO if it’s seen as a website with a good reputation, it’s trustworthy and has a high level of traffic. A lot of people build external sites to push traffic through to help with SEO, but it doesn’t always work because the external site isn’t seen as being high quality enough.

How can I find out how I’m ranking?

This is very easy to do. Simply type the search term you wish to appear for into your search engine, and see where you come up. If you’re not in the first two pages, you know you need to do some work with this specific key term and your SEO strategy. It’s a good idea to keep a weekly or monthly log of this to see how you appear for each search term you want to focus on. Alternately there is a piece of software called Moz that will also tell you where you’re ranking in a search engine results page for each keyword.

My searches seem to be in geographical preferences – how does that happen?

A search engine can detect the searcher’s geographical location, so that they can then provide the user with search results that are going to be most relevant to them. You can also put in a specific location as one of your keywords as well if you want to focus on somewhere else.

How do you manage poor links from other websites affecting your ranking?

If you have WordPress as your CMS, you can use a program called Yoast which will help to clear this up for you. However, if you don’t have WordPress there is a Google tool you can use to help with this. You can learn about it by the link here

If I find a word in Google keyword search and it’s used a lot, is that a bad thing?

It’s not necessarily a bad thing as if it is used a lot it’s going to drive a good level of traffic. However, what it does mean is that it’s going to have a lot of competition to rank under in a search result, and it’s going to drive a lot of irrelevant traffic. What you could do is convert it into a long-tail keyword, so add a couple of words around it to make it more specific and relevant to you and your users.

1 thought on “A beginner’s guide to SEO: FAQ’s

  1. nagesh lingayat

    Informative blog! Thanks for sharing such a blog.

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