Frequently Asked Questions about SEO

Q. What is SEO?

A. SEO (Search engine optimisation) is the process of improving the ranking of a website in a search engine’s “natural” or un-paid (“organic”) search results.

 

Q. How can SEO benefit my business?

A. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.

 

Q. How does SEO work?

A. As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimising a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic.

 

Q. What other popular forms of Internet marketing are there?

A. The other commonly used Internet marketing strategies include PPC (pay per click) and SMM/SMO (social media marketing/optimisation).

 

Q. What is the difference between SEO and SEM?

A. SEM is the wider discipline that incorporates SEO. SEM includes both paid search results and organic search results (SEO). SEM uses paid advertising with AdWords or Bing Ads, pay per click (particularly beneficial for local providers as it enables potential consumers to contact a company directly with one click), article submissions, advertising and making sure SEO has been done. A keyword analysis is performed for both SEO and SEM, but not necessarily at the same time. SEM and SEO both need to be monitored and updated frequently to reflect evolving best practices.

 

Q. What is PPC?

A. Pay per click (PPC) (also called cost per click) is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay the publisher (typically a website owner) when the ad is clicked. It is defined simply as “the amount spent to get an advertisement clicked”.

 

Q. Are SEM and PPC not the same?

A. In some contexts, the term SEM is used exclusively to mean pay per click (PPC) advertising, particularly in the commercial advertising and marketing communities which have a vested interest in this narrow definition. Such usage excludes the wider search marketing community that is engaged in other forms of SEM such as SEO (search engine optimisation), search retargeting and SMM (social media marketing).

 

Q. Are there any per-click costs involved in SEO?

A. No, all clicks obtained via organic search are free. You do not need to pay anything to the search engine or your SEO service provider when an end-user clicks on your website’s link in the search results.

 

Q. What are the advantages of SEO over PPC?

A. Pay per click, a method of charging for advertising on the Internet. Paid inclusion causes searches to return results based more on the economic standing of the interests of a web site, and less on the relevancy of that site to end-users. The PPC advertising model is open to abuse through click fraud, although Google and others have implemented automated systems to guard against abusive clicks by competitors or corrupt web developers.

 

Q. What is SMM?

A. Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites. SMM is a type of online marketing that involves exploiting social media to influence consumers that one company’s products and/or services are valuable.

 

Q. What are the disadvantages of SEO?

A. SEO is not an appropriate strategy for every website, and other Internet marketing strategies can be more effective like paid advertising through PPC campaigns, depending on the site operator’s goals.
A successful Internet marketing campaign may also depend upon building high quality web pages to engage and persuade, setting up analytics programs to enable site owners to measure results, and improving a site’s conversion rate. SEO may generate an adequate return on investment. However, search engines are not paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms change, and there are no guarantees of continued referrals. Due to this lack of guarantees and certainty, a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic can suffer major losses if the search engines stop sending visitors. Search engines can change their algorithms, impacting a website’s placement, possibly resulting in a serious loss of traffic. Google makes around 500-600 algorithm changes – almost 1.5 per day. Most of these are minor changes.
However, occasionally, there are major updates that can significantly impact a site’s search rankings. See a list of major Google algorithm updates here. It is considered wise business practice for website operators to liberate themselves from dependence on search engine traffic.

 

Q. Are all SEO techniques accepted by search engines?

A. SEO techniques can be classified into two broad categories: techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design, and those techniques of which search engines do not approve. The search engines attempt to minimize the effect of the latter, among them spamdexing. Industry commentators have classified these methods, and the practitioners who employ them, as either white hat SEO, or black hat SEO.

 

Q. What is white hat SEO?

A. An SEO technique is considered white hat if it conforms to the search engines’ guidelines and involves no deception. As the search engine guidelines are not written as a series of rules or commandments, this is an important distinction to note. White hat SEO is not just about following guidelines, but is about ensuring that the content a search engine indexes and subsequently ranks is the same content a user will see. White hat advice is generally summed up as creating content for users, not for search engines, and then making that content easily accessible to the spiders, rather than attempting to trick the algorithm from its intended purpose. White hat SEO is in many ways similar to web development that promotes accessibility, although the two are not identical.

 

Q. What is black hat SEO?

A. Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. One black hat SEO technique uses text that is hidden, either as text colored similar to the background, in an invisible div, or positioned off screen. Another method gives a different page depending on whether the page is being requested by a human visitor or a search engine, a technique known as cloaking.

 

Q. What is the difference in results of white hat and black hat SEO?

A. White hats tend to produce results that last a long time, whereas black hats anticipate that their sites may eventually be banned either temporarily or permanently once the search engines discover what they are doing. Search engines may penalize sites they discover using black hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their databases altogether. Such penalties can be applied either automatically by the search engines’ algorithms, or by a manual site review. Companies that employ overly aggressive techniques can get their client websites banned from the search results.

 

Q. Are the results of SEO fast?

A. Typically, there is noticeable movement in the ranking of a website, within two weeks from the start of a campaign. However, to achieve a high ranking can take up to 3 months. On average, for most sites, first page results are achievable in around 6 weeks.

 

Q. How long is an SEO campaign?

A. The longer an SEO campaign is carried out, the better the results generally are. Generally, a minimum campaign of 6 months is recommended to achieve meaningful results.

 

Q. Is SEO expensive?

A. There is a considerable amount of work carried out in a well-conducted SEO campaign. This includes both on-page website optimisation and off-page promotion of the website’s pages. Also, the benefits of an SEO campaign last longer, compared to other forms of online marketing. Considering this, SEO is generally seen by many as the most cost-effective internet marketing strategy over the long term.

 

Q. Do I need to re-design my website for SEO?

A. In majority of cases, a re-design is not required. However, if a re-design is necessary, our SEO consultants would be able to make this recommendation at the start of the project.

 

Q. Do I have to stop my PPC campaign to run SEO?

A. An SEO campaign can be conducted independently of an SEM campaign for a website. It is not necessary to stop either an SEO or a PPC campaign to achieve better results with the other.

 

Q. Can you guarantee SEO success?

A. Yes, we provide SEO solutions with guaranteed rankings in local search results. We employ tested and proven SEO methods to consistently deliver the promised results to our clients, without fail.

 

Q. Can a competitor harm my website's organic search rankings?

A. It is not possible for a competitor to significantly harm your long-term SEO rankings. However, it is always recommended to regularly monitor the appearance of your website in search results to ensure the consistency of its performance.

 

Q. What can affect my website's rankings in the future?

A. A variety of factors can influence a website’s rankings, including:

  1. Changes in the search engine’s algorithm.
  2. Intense competition, resulting in a number of competitors’ websites overtaking your site in search results.
  3. Change in your website’s structure, causing previously indexed pages to disappear.
  4. Issues related to web hosting, such as instability or servers, change of IP addresses, slowness of speed, blocking access of search engine bots, etc.
 

Q. Can the same SEO methods be applied in all markets worldwide?

A. Successful search optimisation for international markets may require professional translation of web pages, registration of a domain name with a top level domain in the target market, and web hosting that provides a local IP address. Otherwise, the fundamental elements of search optimisation are essentially the same, regardless of language.

 
 

Sources:

Wikipedia
Search Engine Land
Moz