November 30, 2015

8 common questions about SEO

You might have heard the word "SEO" tossed around a lot, but do you really know what it is and how it works?  SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is very important in getting your business noticed on the internet.  It is the process that makes your website more easily found and seen by search engines, such as Google.  So how do you go about improving the rank of your website?  In short, it's mostly about quality content, organized website structure, good semantic website code, and the use of keywords.  In this article, we will tell you the answers to some common SEO questions we often get.

1. Why do I need SEO for my website?

Search engine optimizationNowadays, when people want to look up something, whether it's buying a book or space travel, their first stop for information is probably Google.  Inevitably internet marketing has become an important role in every company's marketing strategy.  Most sustainable website traffic comes from major search engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.  Alternatively you have paid advertising and social media as traffic options, but these involve different techniques, may be more costly over the long run, and tend to be a different target market.  Imagine, if someone searches for your business on Google or Yahoo.  How do your potential customers find you?  When you're searching, think about how many times you'll click on the top 3 search results versus how many times you'll navigate to the 100th page to find your answer.  Generally speaking, if you're not ranking on the first page for your search terms, you won't be seen.  In fact, search results on the first page enjoy 95% of all search traffic, according to research by Chitika.  If you still think SEO is not that important for scaling up your business, you might want to think again.

2. What is organic traffic?

As mentioned earlier, there are two different types of search engine traffic, "organic traffic" and "paid traffic."   Simply put, organic results are the results that are shown in search results for free and come from the algorithm used by the search engine.  Paid results are those which appear in the ad section generally before your results or in the sidebar.  While paid traffic can be a great source, it can be very costly and may not be profitable depending on the field you're in or you're product's margin.

3. Organic or paid traffic, which is better?

It really depends on which is "better" for you and your business.  What type of business do you have?  How much is your budget?  Who is your target audience?  There are many more questions that help in choosing an approach which will be more suitable for you. Both paid and organic traffic have benefits and disadvantages.  For example, if your company is more service-oriented, then high ranking organic results are better. It will give your company a lot more creditibility when they are able to Google you and find a legitimate business.  Because of this, organic traffic is a great long-term solution for many, but it does take a lot more time whereas paid search results can appear at the top of a Google search in minutes.  However if your company is able to pinpoint the exact profit margin provided by a sale and your conversion rate, paid ads may be a good place to start and get an immediate boost in traffic.  Often times, a combination of both techniques is beneficial so you can grow your business in the short term while slowly lowering the cost spent on advertising. 

4. Should I have keywords in my domain name?

You can and should use keywords in your domain if the name of your company happens to have useful keywords in it, but it's not absolutely necessary. It almost always makes sense to go with a shorter domain for convenience instead of an incredibly long domain name stuffed with keywords.  A domain that is too long and obviously keyword stuffed may in fact hurt your rankings and be counterproductive.

5. Can't I just install a WordPress SEO Plugin to improve SEO?

Unfortunately not.  This is not how SEO works. There is no quick way for improving your website's ranking, because it's an ongoing process and very unlikely to see results instantly.  

A WordPress plugin can certainly help in some aspects (we highly recommend Yoast SEO Plugin.  But these plugins are not magical and just cover the very basics.  They will not make up for poorly coded themes, bad keyword choices, or lack of content.

6. Can't I just buy website traffic to boost my SEO ranking?

Boost SEO rankingUnfortunately no again.  For improving your SEO ranking, what you need is "quality traffic."  Fake traffic can and most likely will worsen your search engine ranking.  All major search engines have formulas for determining whether or not your visitors and clicks are real.  For example, when visitors go to your website and only stay for a few seconds, search engines take note of it.  Search engines are very oriented towards the visitor experience so if you are helping visitors with quality and unique content on your website,  you will be rewarded with higher search engine ranking.  Previous methods of buying traffic and creating link wheels or submitting to spammy backlink directories used to work, but search engines have come a long way and this no longer a viable solution.  Moral of the story is that you should spend your time and money creating quality content and forego paying for fake traffic and promises of high rankings without putting in the work.

7. Should I start a blog to improve my SEO ranking?

"Content is king." is one of the widest spread SEO quotes.  Search engines like helpful and unique website content, so blogging is surely a good and easy way to frequently add more content and keywords to your website.  Providing good quality articles which is is unique, refreshing, and useful is definitely laying a solid groundwork to support all of your other SEO efforts.  By adding content regularly, search engines will also know to re-index and re-rank your website regularly.  If you enjoy writing or have someone who can do so for you, make sure to utilize this asset.  If you don't like writing, you might consider hiring someone to write relevant website content for you.  Forums are also a great way to do this if you have a business that needs this type of environment.

8. Can I just copy some articles I found to my website?

Definitely not.  Aside from the obvious plagiarism, when search engines find content from two different domains that are the same or noticeably similar, they will mark your website as spam and may even remove your website from search results in order to provide the best search experience to users.  For instance, Google has "Googlebot" to scan and collect documents from every website while it searches and re-indexes sites regularly.  Small pieces of content used in quotes or for quick explanations are okay and will not result in penalties, just make sure that your website provides good unique content that supports the copied text.

Have more questions about SEO?  Feel free to drop as a comment below or  get in touch with us!  We offer one hour free consultation for your website.