Frequently Asked Questions
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. You engage in SEO when you attempt to get a page to rank higher in a search engine’s SERPs (search engine results pages), with the ultimate goal being to increase organic (unpaid) traffic to that page.
PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, is a form of paid online advertising that charges you based on how many times your ad or ads are clicked. These ads will ideally lead visitors to your website and utilize platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and others.
If you use Google Ads, you will essentially pay for your search results, in stark contrast to earning those visits organically. You will compete with other advertisers for keywords and phrases, as well as relevant content, and earn your ranking and pay fees based on the level of competition as well as how often your ads are clicked. SEO advertising is one of the most popular forms of PPC and will showcase at the top of search results with a little “Ad” icon in the top left corner.
This question is a little like asking: Who’s more important to the KC Chiefs, Andy Reid or Patrick Mahomes? You can probably argue both ways; but the answer usually is that both are vital to the team’s success. You can have a similar argument for SEO and PPC (pay-per-click). It really comes down to your marketplace size (local or national) and your online lead generation goals.
Local companies get somewhat of an advantage in searches for products and services they provide in their locality. However, national companies usually get more searches overall, so they can have an increased authority. It's important to work with a company that can do the proper research for your unique business to come up with an effective and ongoing strategy that works for you.
Local SEO (search engine optimization) revolves around increasing the visibility and presence of businesses in search results in your local area specifically. Google has recently put much more focus on it's ability to serve search results based on location. This gives local businesses an advantage and has made local search optimization a must for all brick-and-mortar businesses.
Local ranking factors in a variety of information available about your business across the Internet, including:
- Consistent use of your business name
- Address of your headquarters and other offices
- Phone information
- Customer reviews of your products or services
- Content authority on topics relevant to your industry
Organic SEO involves using several strategies such as keyword research and use, content creation and formatting, and link building to try and rank your website at the top of search results.
Basically, Organic SEO is anything you do to attract traffic to your website through search results for free.
Technical SEO refers to optimizing your website for crawling and indexing by platforms such as Google. This involves improving the technical aspects of your website and other platforms in order to increase your ranking in search results. Taking steps to make your website faster, easier to crawl, and easier to interpret for search engines will improve your technical SEO.
SEO keywords are words or phrases search engines use to identify the topics that your content covers and determine whether they match users’ inquiries. Keywords can be single words, questions, or complex phrases relevant to your industry that are used frequently by potential customers when they’re searching for information online. Placing them throughout the content in your website can produce relevant, organic search traffic for your business.
When used properly, keywords become an effective conduit for connecting your ideal customers with your business.
SEO is expanding from the traditional to include technologies such as local search, mobile search, voice search, and image search. In fact, mobile search is set to overtake, if not mostly replace, traditional PC browser search in the near future and, according to Statista, has already accounted for 61% of Google’s organic search traffic. To prepare for this change, Google has transitioned to mobile-first indexing (2018).
This doesn’t negate the importance of traditional SEO, however. What it does is add to an ever-expanding list of to dos in order to optimize effectively. The fact is, as technology advances and people make use of an increasingly diverse pool of connected devices, SEO will adapt and expand to accommodate them. You will need to account for these various forms of SEO in your strategy to ensure your website and other online resources are accessible through each platform, device, and search type.
With Google’s introduction of BERT and featured snippets, SEO is becoming more about user experience and intent rather than hard keyword and phrase matches. This means content will need to be written more for fulfilling users’ needs and intent rather than just trying to match search queries.
Content has become less about making a sale and more about supporting the customer - creating a community, solving problems, personalization, etc. User experience goes hand-in-hand with this customer-centric style of SEO and content creation, as does technical SEO. Relatively, both user experience and technical SEO should be of greater priority in your strategy.
Quality content, customer-focused content, trustworthy content and sources, high reputation levels, 5-star reviews, and fighting against fake news are all increasingly important forms of reaching customers through SEO. These strategies, coupled with mobile-first optimization, will keep you on the right track for SEO through 2020 and beyond.
Blogging does help your SEO by positioning your business as an authority on relevant industry topics. Google and other search platforms will interpret your website as a relevant source for answering their users’ questions, particularly if you effectively apply on-page SEO strategies in your blogs. This leads to new and return visitors to your website and, ultimately, conversions. That said, an out-of-date blog - or a poorly managed one - might be holding you back.
Here are 9 Tips for creating SEO friendly blogs:
- Ensure your posts are of high quality, easy to read, grammatically sound, use proper punctuation, and are void of misspellings. Also, make sure your information is relevant to your industry, accurate, and sourced from reputable institutions.
- Blogs should be structured and visually appealing. Use at least one H1 heading and separate topics within a blog with H2 or H3 headings. Include keywords in your headings and the first paragraph of your blog. Also, keep paragraphs short and sweet at 3-4 sentences.
- Your blog title and url should contain a main keyword or phrase relevant to the blog’s subject matter.
- Avoid using stop words such as “the,” “a,” “an,” “in,” etc., in your url or keywords.
- You should make use of links, both to other websites and to other pages in your own website - but only when it makes sense.
- Do not over-use your keywords or phrases, known as “keyword stuffing.” You can be penalized in search results for this. Generally, use each specific keyword or phrase no more than five times in a single blog post.
- Use your main keyword in your meta description and keep it at 160 characters or less. Ensure you use complete, easy-to-understand sentences and correct punctuation in your meta description as well, and do not use all caps.
- Include a featured image with your blog post and make sure all media shared in your blog has alt text which uses your keywords.
- Keep your content up to date.
Google does use HTTPS as a ranking signal, so having an SSL Certificate is the easiest thing you can do to boost your SEO ranking. This is because using HTTPS will add privacy and security to your website, which protects users who may find you through their search results.
HTTPS helps you meet your SEO goals by:
- verifying that your website is not fraudulent
- preventing tampering by third parties
- making the website more secure for visitors
- encrypting all communication, like URLs
- and protecting things like credit cards
Google’s ranking boost for HTTPS applies to all websites, whether they make use of personal data or not. So, even if your website doesn't have a checkout page, login pages, or use any other sensitive personal information, you can still get SEO benefits by installing an SSL Certificate on your website.