Search Engine Optimization FAQ
The SEO world can be quite technical and confusing. We hope to demystify SEO and create easily digestible information for our clients to understand better how SEO works for their businesses. We’ve gathered some common questions and myths to create an FAQ series we know you’ll find helpful. If others ask these questions, you may be looking for the same answers.
What is SEO?
SEO is a practice that uses many tactics to keep your website in the top search results for specific key terms. Think of your website as a lighthouse and the people searching in your area as ships. If the lighthouse doesn’t have a light, how can you expect the ships to know where to land? SEO is the light in the lighthouse, directing ships to you. You need to make sure you have a good quality lightbulb, monitor it to make sure it’s on, and replace it when it goes dim.
Is SEO something I need to keep up with regularly?
Your website and SEO strategy need constant attention to maintain your placement in online search engines. Think of it like brushing your teeth – a habit that must be repeated daily. Optimizing your website is no different. Frequent and ongoing work is needed to ensure that your website consistently ranks high in searches.
Why is a mobile-friendly website an important ranking factor for SEO?Mobile-friendly websites are key pieces of a well-thought-out digital strategy because the design and structure of your site are user-friendly. This type of website is built to adapt to whatever device it’s being viewed, so the layout will look nice and be functional on a computer, tablet or smartphone. Readers are accustomed to looking for information on smaller devices nowadays, so ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly is crucial to traffic conversion and SEO. After all, Google’s ultimate goal is to have the most users and stay the preferred search engine. So the more user-friendly your website is, the more likely that Google will reward you with increased rankings.
Why do my rankings fluctuate so much over the years?Clients often ask why their rankings fluctuate. The answer is complex and nuanced. Many variables affect the SEO landscape and your rankings; every industry, client, city and competition is different. Think of SEO like the stock market – there will always be small fluctuations daily, and most financial advisors will tell you not to worry about the daily ups and downs. Instead, follow the strategy set by your goals, be consistent and patient and you will see returns. While you’ll see SEO results faster than stock market results, the approach is the same – stay on track with a solid SEO strategy, and your consistent effort will pay off. You can succeed by following the rules of what Google deems “valuable.” But keep in mind that Google changes its mind frequently about what it considers valuable and places high in search results. This is an example of how constant attention and maintenance pay off. A Google algorithm update means you must re-evaluate SEO strategy quickly and adjust if needed. An SEO specialist should be familiar with the changes from Google and have the resources and knowledge to maintain/improve rankings along with Google algorithm updates.
Can someone really guarantee me the top spot on page 1 rankings?Be cautious about companies making promises that seem too good to be true. It takes Google time to crawl, index and rank your site when it launches. I would say no if they haven’t spent much time comprehensively analyzing your site and your competitors before making those bold statements. Even if they make that happen, I would be worried about the quality of the work and if they use any “blackhat” SEO technique that could do more harm than good in the long run. Some large companies have enormous budgets which can get them to page 1 within 60 days. But if you are a small business owner like most of us, then you likely deal with a smaller budget. However, your site can work up to top positions with diligent work and time. Patience, consistent work, and following Google’s guidelines is the key.
Do you have any SEO advice for business owners who don’t know much about SEO?
Yes! Here are our top 5 SEO tips for business owners.
- Find an agency that is upfront and open about realistic goal setting and what to expect, so you’ll always know where you stand.
- Address the foundation issues. Find a team that knows how to do keyword research and a market and competitor analysis to determine what keywords to rank based on your industry’s current SEO landscape. Then, we’d optimize your website content with our established keywords in mind and collect more content to help your ranking.
- Tackle cosmetic issues by updating your website with a new, user-friendly, device-responsive design. User Experience (UX) is also an important ranking factor.
- Optimize your Google Maps listing so your business shows up more often on map searches.
- Spend time each month making tweaks and adding content on site and blogs to help you rank higher based on the data we collect.
SEO strategy and what to do is complex and unique to your business depending on your goals and the industry. Finding an SEO company you can trust is very important.
Will changing my hosting company help my site ranking?It depends. If you switched to a hosting company offering faster server speed, it might help because your page would load faster, and you’d have fewer visitors bouncing off-site (something Google doesn’t like). But it’s not the change that will make a significant ranking difference. Moving to a better hosting company is like replacing a rotten wood post in a house. It will make the house a little sturdier but won’t fix the foundation issues. Again, this is just one piece of the puzzle that requires a holistic approach.
Should I change my domain name to improve SEO?Most of the time, we recommend keeping your domain name the same unless you change your business name. New domains are even harder to rank in the beginning. A good SEO strategy starts with a solid domain authority assessment that identifies the overall health of your domain. If a new domain is best for you because you are changing your business name, then an SEO redirect protocol should be re-established so your new domain name can capture all your SEO juices from your previous domain.
What’s the relationship between SSL certification and SEO?An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates a website’s identity and enables an encrypted connection. An SSL certificate is important to any website because it shows visitors that your site is verified and safe from hackers. This encourages visitors to stay on your website longer — an important signal to Google that your site is valuable — and ultimately helps your search rankings.
Is link building still relevant?Yes, link building is still relevant and important, but it’s no longer the only factor that Google uses to rank sites. Solely focusing on building links and nothing else is not an optimized or sustainable strategy. We often compare building links to taking steroids when you have an injury. You might feel fantastic while on the medication, but the benefits are very short-lived if you don’t address the root cause of your pain. Combining pain management with other things like physical therapy, acupuncture, and even surgery is often successful at treating a stubborn injury. The same goes for SEO. Other ranking factors should be addressed alongside link building so you can create a holistic approach that generates more sustainable results.
What is citation building?Citation building is the act of sending out consistent, accurate, and relevant information about your business to listing directories so that search engines and consumers know when, how, and where to find your local business. You can also think of citation building as similar to external link building. Citation building is also important as it can help your business rank within the local search packs on Google. Local search packs appear above the organic results and usually have a higher clickthrough rate, so it is important for your business to try and rank within the first three positions.
What is internal link building? And why are they important?
An internal link is a link from one page to another within your website. Your users and search engines use these internal links to find relevant and helpful content on your website. These links help users and search engines understand your website navigation, architecture, hierarchy, and distribute page authority and ranking ability. We have found that search engines consider pages with many internal links more important than those with fewer.
What is keyword mapping?Keyword mapping increases organic online visibility across Google and other major search engines. In short, keyword mapping is a framework for the keywords we have chosen to target, driven by SEO research. Keyword mapping is one of the critical processes of on-page optimization, allowing Google and other search engines to analyze the relevance of each page and ultimately provide users with the information they’re searching for. By focusing on this process, our strategy will be more structured, and we will be able to capture more keyword opportunities.
Build a Strong Foundation to Improve Your Website Ranking
The team at Ichor Studios is passionate about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — the practice that organically allows your website to rank high in online searches.
We believe a great website should build trust between consumers and your business and drive traffic to your business. And to do that, you need a website with a strong foundation and a holistic SEO approach.
Have more questions about how to make your website work for you? Want to improve your SEO and rank higher in search results? Contact us with the form below, and let’s talk about your project.