We hope you find these SEO FAQs useful.
Please get in touch if you wish us to add a question to this list of SEO FAQs.
What is on-site SEO?
It involves making changes to individual pages on a website to achieve higher rankings in Google or any other search engine people might be using.
On page SEO involves changes to elements such as:
Text content visible on the page, including the actual words but also the formatting with headings, sub-heading, bullet points etc
The “readability” of the text content on the page. Are sentences, paragraphs and sections all short enough to be visually appealing and easily readable?
Parts of a web page that are not visible on the page but show up in the search listings. These are the page title and the page description (also known as the meta description).
Images on the page: their size (small is better for speed), filename, and alternative text that is used by search engines (but also by accessibility software for visually-impaired people)
The URL of the page, which shouldn’t be too long and should be descriptive about the page content
Internal links – a well-optimised website should encourage a flow around different pages of the site using relevant internal links.
Most of these changes involve improving the content to be more relevant to the search terms that the page is targeting. It includes using factors like synonyms and semantically related words but also mathematical checks such as TF-IDF (term-frequency/inverse document -frequency) that determine what words typically appear with keywords even if not semantically related or synonymous.
On WordPress sites install the free Yoast or RankMath plugin which can help you quickly optimise the basics of your web pages. Just remember that high rankings will require more than simply basic optimisation.
What is off-site SEO?
It primarily involves link building but also includes using techniques such as social media marketing and brand mentions to a lesser extent.
· Content Marketing
· Social Media
· Brand Mentions
· Video Promotion
· Press Releases
What is keyword research?
People usually type in a search phrase into Google (or Bing etc.) to find what they are looking for whether that is a product, information or maybe they are just at the browsing stage.
This is where keyword research & analysis plays a vital role to ensure a business or organisation can be found for the products, services or information they provide. With the right keywords potential customers will find your website but with the wrong target keywords your services/products may never be found. Or not found by enough people. That is a critical point – there is no point ranking for keywords that are not commonly used so keyword research will identify which keywords to target based on the average number of searches/month.
Want to get started finding the right keywords? Watch our short 60 second video here. to increase your search traffic and website sales?
Use the free Keyword Planner tool from Google to help with keyword research
What is competitor analysis?
It also includes a full analysis of competitors’ backlinks in order to exceed what they are doing by crafting a better backlink profile.
Competitor Analysis is often done in conjunction with Gap Analysis.
What is gap analysis?
What is link building?
Link-building is process of attracting backlinks from other websites to your website. To be effective the websites linking to your website should be relevant to your business and/or be reputable websites themselves. This is because the quality of the backlinks is all-important.
Link building is crucial for every website that wants to improve their organic search rankings for their target keywords. Just like all aspects of SEO link-building can only be done effectively once the keyword research phase has been completed.
There are several link building strategies that are effective, such as:
· Content Marketing
· Guest posting
· Editorial links
· Broken link building
· 2nd tier linking
Google considers backlinks as “votes” and gives higher rankings for the sites with more backlinks. That’s why it’s essential for you to focus on attracting as many quality and relevant backlinks as possible to your sites to generate more traffic and sales.
What is technical SEO?
As with SEO in general it involves on-site and off-site aspects.
The key difference with technical SEO is in the data analysis
Many SEO professionals build links: log them and monitor them, check for “nofollow” tags and ensure that there is a relevant variety of anchor text. Technical SEO professional go several steps further and also include the following analyses:
· Linking Domain quality (authority & traffic)
· Linking Domain IP addresses
· Age of linking domains
· Indexing of linking pages
· External links on linking pages
· Categorisation of anchor text groups
· Link velocity
Technical SEO also has an on-site side that mostly deals with how a website is constructed. So it involves checking a website to ensure there are no technical errors (like broken links), that site speed is good for PCs/laptops and also, crucially, for mobile devices. To check and resolve and such issues requires a Technical SEO Audit.
What are backlinks?
The important thing to remember about backlinks is whether they add any SEO value – many don’t. For instance, they should not have the “nofollow” tag and the website and page they come from should have:
· High domain authority
· Good web traffic
· Content relevant to your business
· Few external links on the same page
What is a sitemap?
Search engines like Google use the sitemap to navigate through your website and index you pages. Whilst it could still find your pages without a sitemap use of the sitemap save Google time and, therefore, it can spend more time indexing your pages rather than looking for them.
What are internal lnks?
They engage website visitors and encourage them to stay on your website for longer so improving visitor metrics, which are a ranking factor.
They indicate to search engines like Google which are the most important pages on your website – i.e. those with most internal links to them.
What is the difference between dofollow and nofollow links?
It is important to identify which backlinks to a website are dofollow or nofollow as the proprtions of each are important. Too many of either type can negatively affect the search engine rankings and traffic to a website. In general, it is best to have the majority of links as dofollow for maximum SEO value i.e. between 60-90%. But as with all SEO tactics it is important to check top-ranking competitors for a comparison.
Nofollow links most often come from social media and well-known media outlets such as national newspapers and news sites such as the BBC. These links don’t have any SEO value but they can still drive traffic to your website.
What is a Google algorithm?
SEO professionals aim to satisfy as many of the 200+ checks as possible for a website. However, it is worth bearing in mind that many, many other websites are all trying to achieve a high ranking and there is only one top spot. That means a website not only has to satisfy the ranking factors but do so better than any of their competitors.
To compound the issue Google never publish exactly what the ranking factors are, although analysing which websites rank best for certain searches helps SEO experts to make good educated guesses as to what they are.
Google regularly update their algorithm to improve the search experience and do not publicise the updates (as they did in the past).
It aims to reward websites for certain positive factors such as:
· Good mobile speed
· Good mobile user experience (UX)
And penalise websites for shady tactics such as:
· Duplicate content
· “Thin” content i.e. content with no real value
· keyword stuffing
· Low quality or irrelevant links
· Content full of adverts, especially intrusive popups
How can a website appear higher up in the organic search listings?
The proven techniques to doing this include:
· Keyword research
· On-page optimisation
· Good mobile speed and user experience
· Gain as many good quality links as possible from a range of relevant websites
· Produce great content on a regular basis
· Promote your content to encourage social shares and comments
What is domain authority (DA)?
To produce a DA value, Moz analyses the quantity and quality of a website’s backlinks along with an estimate of the traffic to the website. To improve DA the techniques are essentially the same as the standard SEO techniques.
What is trust flow (TF)?
To produce a TF value, Majestic SEO analyses the quantity and quality of a website’s backlinks along with an estimate of the traffic to the website. To improve TF the techniques are essentially the same as the standard SEO techniques.
Is website speed important for SEO?
Use Google’s own free tool Page Speed Insights to check your website speed on both desktop and mobile devices. The tool also makes recommendations specific to a website for improving speed.
What are the Google ranking factors?
Here are just a few of them:
· Age of website
· Errors on website
· Content quality
· Frequency of changes/additions to website
· User engagement metrics
· Backlink quality
· Anchor text used for backlinks
· Frequency of gaining new backlinks
· Website speed
· Mobile user experience
Is social media important for SEO?
However, effort on social media needs to be highly focused in order to have an impact on a website’s rankings. That means not simply generally spending time on social media but to have a targeted campaign such as promoting a particular piece of content on your website.
How can I monitor keyword positions on Google?
Use Google Search Console to regularly identify keywords currently bringing visitors to your website. Make sure all of those are included in your keyword rank tracking. This is a useful way to identify new keywords that are driving traffic to a website. For instance to a new, popular blog post. Or to identify long-tail keywords.
What are long tail keywords?
Google Search Console can be used to identify long-tail keywords that are already driving traffic to a website.
An example of a long-tail keyword might be: “how to drive more visitors to my website?” or “how can I get more visitors to my website?”
How to identify website issues affecting optimisation?
What is voice search?
What is bounce rate?
For any page with a high bounce rate (80% or more) aim to lower the bounce rate by improving the page to make it more appealing, faster to load and to add prominent calls-to-action including internal linking from within the text.
What is Google Analytics?
All these data and much more are available and are vital to track and inform an SEO strategy.
What is a featured snippet?
Featured snippets are important because they have a higher click-through rate than regular listings in organic search. There is no guarantee Google will show a featured snippet for any particular web page but you can increase the chances that they will. Here’s how…
Make sure your content is well-formatted. Use bullet points and tables wherever it make sense to do so.
And add structured data to key web pages – these are bits of code that tell search engines more about your page. Structured data or schema markup can be added manually by a web developer or for those with WordPress sites try the Yoast or RankMath plugins.
What are LSI keywords?
In the example of a main keyword being “spa week-end” some LSI keywords might be “hot tub”, “health break”, “skin treatments”
It is important to use LSI keywords because they provide a better user experience for people reading your content but, importantly, they are a strong signal to Google that your content is highly relevant to a particular search.
That means LSI keywords can improve organic rankings and so increase visitor numbers to a website.
What is TF-IDF?
It’s an additional technique similar to LSI keywords but it actually checks which words the top-rankings pages are using and shows the related words that are missing from your content and those words that are over-used. All in comparison to top-ranking sites so you can leverage what the best of the best are doing.
There are various tools that will do this automatically for you like Ryte or Website Auditor.