With Google changing its ranking algorithm constantly, it can be hard to keep up with all the changes related to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The Google bots have about 200 factors to sift through while prioritizing search results, and the ones that are the most important change with advances in technology and the increasing sophistication of the search process itself.

This article provides a primer or serves as a refresher course to newcomers and seasoned digital professionals, respectively. We hope these FAQs give you some insight into how SEO works and provides actionable takeaways you can begin applying on your site right away.

SEO Basics

[vc_empty_space][vc_toggle title=”What does SEO stand for?”]SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization. When you practice SEO, you’re attempting to get a higher ranking in the SERPs (search engine results pages), with the end goal of increasing traffic to the page. Ideally, this is organic (unpaid) traffic.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What’s the Difference Between SEO and PPC?”]These two concepts are both integral to a successful digital marketing campaign. In order to establish domain authority and brand affinity, you need a well-baked SEO strategy. Meanwhile, PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising helps to zero in on target prospects by behaviors, demographics, and keywords.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What is SEM?”]SEO and PPC are the components of SEM (Search Engine Marketing), which is the roadmap for your online marketing and sales channels.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Where are the best places to learn about SEO?”]The great news is that there’s a ton of free information to learn more about SEO. Blogs on SEMPost, Moz, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and WordStream’s. Classes on Udemy or Lynda are affordable and let you customize your educational journey to your particular needs.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What’s the best SEO software?”]Ahrefs is a reliable provider for content and backlink research and Moz Pro has a content explorer to help you locate unlinked brand mentions (so you can establish relationships and try to secure linkbacks to your page); and SEMrush efficiently tracks your rank and visibility indicators. These are the big three, but some Google research should turn up reviews on tools that can help you with more specific goals.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What does on-page SEO mean?”]On-page SEO refers to strategies used on a page to get higher rankings in the search engine. On-page SEO mainly refers to developing quality content and effective HTML source code with image and keyword optimization, Schema markup, and other features the Google algorithm likes. It doesn’t include internal and external links.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Where will SEO go next?”]Voice search is the hottest topic in SEO. In the next few years, up to half of all searches may be voice searches. Consumers already have high expectations and the industry is struggling to accommodate intuitive, “organic” interpretation of voice searches.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”How important is mobile performance?”]The biggest change in SEO is still the move toward mobile use. Google has made mobile page load speed a major ranking factor. If you haven’t done so, do some research on Accelerated Mobile Pages. Moreover, take the time now to concentrate on the mobile usability of your site.[/vc_toggle]

SEO Strategy

[vc_empty_space][vc_toggle title=”Where should I start?”]Use one of the SEO tools above to run a site audit. Find and fix any dead links in your site content and sort out any issues with your meta tags. Check your page loads speeds (remembering the importance of mobile usability). You can use Search Console’s Crawl Errors tool to help you diagnose your website’s speed and usability. The next step is conducting keyword research so you can update and optimize your content.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What is keyword research?”]Keyword research helps you identify what keywords will draw the most traffic to your site. Let’s say you have a new site that sells scheduling software, but you find out that prospective users are searching for “employee scheduling tool” more than “employee scheduling software.” You should update the page content to include the more widely used keyword.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”How are SEO keywords handled?”]Keyword stuffing is bad. You’ve probably heard this, but what does it mean? In short, you should provide clean content with the keywords used naturally. In addition, keyword optimization means the main keyword should be in the title, first paragraph of your introduction and in at least one H2 header. If you can include it in question format throughout the post, that can increase your search ranking.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”How does blogging help SEO?”]Basically, every piece of quality content you create provides a new opportunity to rank for the target keywords that can drive traffic to your business or organization site. Casting a wide net with targeted keywords is the best way to fish for additional traffic (prospective customers!).[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”Does HTTP vs HTTPS affect SEO?”]The answer is very much so. HTTPS pages rank because it’s a more secure protocol and a Google ranking signal. Plus, HTTPS is faster than HTTP, which affects your click-through rate.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What is the robots.txt file?”]The Robots.txt file website’s sits is a top-level directory that tells search engines how to crawl through your site pages.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What are breadcrumbs?”]Along with breaking your page into categories and using metadata tags, and breadcrumbs dictate the structure of your site as far as the search engine is concerned. They help users and search engines figure out how to get from one page to the next on your site. They also impact the authority of each topic.[/vc_toggle]

Links and Link Building

[vc_empty_space][vc_toggle title=”What are SEO backlinks?”]The internet consists of content and links between content. In order for the search engine to begin indexing a page, they need a way to determine which is most relevant to certain queries. The quality and number of backlinks that point back to your page play a big role in its ranking. Backlinks are a thumb’s up or a qualification between pages. However, quality counts, so pages with higher domain authority with backlinks to your page are noticed faster by search engines.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What is link equity?”]Link equity refers to how much clout a link transfer has. Before nofollow links, every link had equity, including spam. Sometimes, several sites owned by one person hit the first page results. Now, search engines don’t track nofollow links, so no link equity is achieved.

Links from relevant content and authoritative sites have more equity than those passed from irrelevant content or non-authoritative sites. Body paragraph mentions carry more equity than page headers and footers.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What is domain authority?”]Domain authority applies to a site’s ability to rank high in a search engine. A site’s domain authority is determined by the combined link equity of all its pages.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What is link building?”]Link building is how SEO acquires links to increase a page’s equity and ranking. Internal and external link building boosts page authority. Internal links originate within the same domain. External links come from other pages or external sources and are harder to obtain.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What is anchor text?”]It’s clickable text with a hyperlink. Anchor text tells the search crawler the topic of the linked page. Exact match anchor text counts for more than non-exact-match anchor text. There’s a catch, however. Too many exact match links negatively impact a page’s ranking (since it appears as spammy).[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What’s link building?”]Broken link building is the process of getting rid of links to pages that have moved or replacing them with your own pages. Most SEO tools check your competitors’ profile and find which of their links are broken. Finding a heavily linked-to resource that no longer exists presents a unique opportunity. You can contact the page owner and offer your resources as a replacement. This immediately increases your page’s equity.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”How do redirects impact SEO? “]Redirects are part of the linking strategy between pages and content on your site. A 301 redirect instructs Web browsers to move from one destination to another on your site. They pass 90-99 percent of link equity to the linked page.[/vc_toggle][vc_toggle title=”What can SEO do for your business?”]Online marketing is important to most modern business and SEO can be a serious asset. With a little keyword research, you can easily fine-tune a content strategy and develop external and internal link building. If your audience knows you are a reliable source of relevant content and high-quality resources, you will inch your way higher on the SERP. The more users who click on your page and stay there, the higher your chance of gaining a conversion and, ultimately, a loyal customer.[/vc_toggle]