It’s important to us that our clients, current and prospective understand what’s happening within their campaigns and more importantly what effect work is likely to have on their site. You want to know how it all works and we love that! In this post we’ve put together a list of some of the most common questions we get from inital contacts, client calls and meetings as a sort of FAQs section for the top SEO questions clients ask.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation; all about getting traffic to your site for ‘free’, organically, by amongst other things making technical & tactical changes to your website.
What’s the difference between Organic and Paid traffic?
Organic = free results delivered by search engines based upon their individual algorithms. Paid = where businesses pay/bid for their links to appear at the top of the search engines.
What is an algorithm?
When we say algorithm we’re talking about the hundreds of different factors that search engines look at both on and off-page to determine where you rank for particular phrases.
In the ‘old days’ you used to be able to just stuff a website with your keyword to get them ranking. Now the techies at Google (or your chosen search engine) have worked out a huge amount of factors that all weight toward how much authority your site has for a phrase and where to place you in search results compared to other sites.
The elephant in the room- How long will it take me to get to 1st page/to see results?
There are a number of different factors that play on this- your domain authority, competitor landscape, how often your site is crawled, onsite changes (in particular to content), and work done previously. The larger the site the more often you are likely crawled and so will see an impact of changes within the SERPs quicker. As a guide for ‘results’ we’d say 1-3 months, and as for getting to the 1st page this is completely market, update and campaign time dependent.
But we’re looking for short term results…?
SEO is a long term strategy, you build up your authority and visibility over time. If you are looking for a short term solution in addition to creating long term visibility we’d recommend employing a PPC campaign alongside SEO if you have the budget.
Can we just run the campaign for a few months to get foundations then stop?
SEO takes time, and a consistent campaign, the way you should think is if you stop SEO activity because you’ve reached your goal, all those competitors ranking below you, they’re still going to be plugging away to gain positioning so you need to continue work to react to this. We never sell SEO as a short term strategy, we take into account your sites audit, implementations, site recrawling and ongoing authority building; it all takes time. Any progress you see in say 3 month’s, think what you could see in 12.
How do you pick the keywords to be targeted?
We look at a range of different things when researching keywords for any new client as well as continually adapting it as we progress through the campaign – if your site has been live for a while and with analytics, we look at the terms that you have recorded traffic against. We also use keyword planner to find competitive terms within your industry, look at your competitors to see what phrases they are targeting, and discuss with you the terms you see as high value.
Can we not just reference the keywords we want on each page to get visibility?
Search engines identify what you’re all about by looking at the content on your website and what you’re referencing, however, it’s all about getting the balance and optimisation. Each page should really have one keyword area you are looking to target (this is your primary landing page and the one you want the search engines to present should someone search the term) and the keyword should be present on the page within ideally the title, referenced in headers and content. There is no specific density of keywords you should aim for – it’s all about keeping it natural and not keyword stuffing. It’s also best not to just exact match your target phrases everywhere, look for synonyms you can use.
What does SERPs mean?
Search Engine Results Pages – these are where you get your results delivered from a search e.g. on Google.
Should I just buy a domain name containing keywords for the term I want to target?
But why would you? Unless your business name naturally happens to contain a keyword then that’s fine to get the domain, however buying a keyword stuffed domain for the sake of SEO isn’t a good plan.
How do you measure performance?
We love stats! Whether you be an e-commerce or lead generation based site we’ll identify with you the KPI’s (key performance indicators) we’ll be reporting back to you each month so you can see how things are going. This isn’t just about your rankings that many people get fixated on, but also your traffic by source, user behaviour onsite, and goal conversions.
What are you actually doing as part of the ongoing campaign?
There’s a huge amount of work that goes on in the background month on month with SEO and it’s not always visible to clients, things such as analysing data, technical implementations and competitor reviews which all influence the ongoing strategy.
This is why here at HeadRed we maintain communication with our clients through month on month reporting, so they can see what’s going on with their campaign, not just all data, but also completed and ongoing work for the month.
My rankings keep fluctuating, should I be worried?
A drop of one/two positions in a week? No this is fluctuation we would expect and isn’t something to be worried about. Obviously, the main aim in SEO is to increase and then stabilise these positionings however if you think that the business above & below you may also be working hard at SEO in high competition markets especially you will see movement, it’s all about watching the activity and responding with your campaign.
When I check my rankings I’m showing much higher than you’re reporting ….?
When you’re checking your rankings it’s always good to go into incognito (in Chrome) or private browsing (in internet explorer) mode whether on your phone, tablet or desktop. The reason for this is when you make a search cookies collected by your web browser (which store your user specific information) are looked at by search engines alongside their historical use data to learn your preferences which can influence the results that are displayed to you.
I.e. if you continuously go on your website in the same browser non-incognito the search engine will be more likely to rank that page higher as it knows you frequently visit there.
Also we’d recommend you have a play around with the search tools setting while in incognito, here you can change your search location – so if you know your visitors are more likely to be searchers within your area, change the search tools location setting to mimic this.
My competitors always rank above me why is this?
If you have a particular competitor you are using as a benchmark for your rankings for a particular term then let us know, this way we can take a look at their complete online profile and adjust our strategy appropriately.
Sometimes it’s simply down to the age of the domain, other times it can be down to metadata, the content on their particular landing page, number of backlinks – there’s a huge number of things that Google (and other search engines) look at to determine where sites rank so it’s about identifying the areas where your site is performing weaker than those above you.
How will changes get implemented?
Here at HeadRed this varies between clients, some clients give us access to control their websites. This means we as an SEO team or alternatively our in-house developers can implement any changes as we go along. This doesn’t work for everyone however, some clients we do find prefer to keep access within their business if they have their own team of developers, which also is fine, and we work with their teams to produce a workflow strategy so that work doesn’t remain in a queue/get lost. It all comes down to communication and how we agree to go forward at the beginning of the campaign/what works best.
Can I not just buy some links to point to my site?
Link building isn’t dead but the nature of it has changed. It used to be that you could go out, plug a lot of money into buying links from across the websphere and these would all help towards your ranking. Nowadays, however, search engines are all about quality and the perceived authority of your site; think of them as votes from other websites. Nowadays it’s all about outreach strategies- you are looking for ‘votes’ from high-quality industry relevant websites- quality rather than quantity!
How much time will you need from our in-house team?
This depends on the project entirely. If you’d like to oversee each individual change and read over content, some time may need to be set aside to look through the completed work before it’s put live. With new clients, in particular, it may be that this process is decided on early in the relationship with the planning that it then be phased out later on when there is more trust and familiarity. If we’re allowed to make changes or put up blogs autonomously, the time requirement would be very minimal from your side.Got some questions of your own / want to find out more about SEO here at HeadRed? Drop us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org