SEO FAQ

Posted on by in Organic SEO

  1. What does SEO stand for? It stands for Search Engine Optimization (unless you are British, then its “optimisation” as we are abel to spel beter.
  2. What is SEO? SEO in its purest form is the optimization of your website, so that the search engines prefer it, to the way it was in its pre-optimized format.  In reality it involves improving your websites rankings so that it outranks its competitors.
  3. Is SEO spam, bullshit, dead etc.? I hope not. Its all I’ve done since 2005 and if it is all bullshit, then Ive been wasting my time.  Is it all spam? Well – thats utterly subjective – in my opinion a lot of it is (not spam like keyword stuffing, link farming etc, but lets get a grip people, building linkbait is just fancy ass spamming).
  4. Why aren’t we #1 or on page 1 at Google? Because someone else is deemed more relevant for the query given.  They probably are more relevant to be honest, google does a great job of making sure the best results are delivered first.  How to be number #1? Improve your website, make it better (and more relevant) than the competition – and build some links to it.  How many iss governed by how many the competition already has.
  5. Why am I on #1 all the time but when my wife searches for me she doesn’t find me? Perhaps you sub-consciously dont want your wife to find you! ;-)   Seriously though – its because you’ve got some kind of browsing history enabled, you might be signed in, or you might have the newer google personalised results based on a 180 day cookie on your machine.  Either way, make sure you are seeing the pure results, otherwise you will look an idiot when you are explaining to people how you got that #1 slot for poker with your autoblog, when infact it is indeed, bullshit.
  6. When will we see results? It depends on what your objectives are.  If you want to rank #1 for “seo forum” (like I do) its going to take a few months of effort.  If you want to rank #1 for “seo” then its going to take either a lot longer, a lot more money, a shit-tonne of spam, or a hybrid of all three.  If you want to rank #1 for “seo forum blog post with FAQs” then write a post like this, give it that title, and URL, you’ll probably rank #1 in <10 minutes.  Its all about your goals see!
  7. Can we rank for iPhones? Sure no problem!  Lets just invest $100,000 into a linkbuilding, viral, social, widget and offline campaign that ties it all in, build a site around the niche with tonnes of user engagement and so on.  Basically, you can rank for anything – if you’ve got the time, money and aptitude.
  8. Can we rank for everything (huge list of keywords)? No.  Well. Yes, but No.  Mainly No.  Ranking for a wide variety of topics that are not the bottom of the long tail involves having a seriously strong website.  Think wikipedia, that ranks for everything ever known to man – but it has hundreds of millions of links, and tens of millions of pages of fairly unique content.  If you have the resources to produce that kind of site, then you too can rank for “anything”, and “everything”.
  9. How much does SEO cost? Depends where you try and buy it, and if its any good. You can get “guaranteed” and “worlds best seo” from people on webmaster forums across the world for $50, but its going to be total rubbish.  Good SEO requires a good optimizer, with lots of experience – I run search for a VC backed company with $50mn+ in funding,  I get approached all the time to help people with their SEO, I turn them down, as I know what my expectations are, and they do not match their perceived value of an SEO’s time.
  10. Why is SEO so expensive? So following on from above, because its something that is highly specialised, there are a handful of good SEO’s in the UK, there are even fewer “great” ones.  If you want someone with bags of experience, its going to cost.  If you dont want someone with bags of experience, you can waste your money on someone and then end up thinking that SEO is bull.  But dont do that. Its a waste.
  11. How long does it take to get indexed by Google? It depends on the architecture of your site.  Make it using wordpress, then ping google blog search, it will normally get indexed in a few minutes.
  12. How to submit my new site to Google/Bing/Yahoo etc.? Quick and dirty way, see above (11).  Other ways, submit an xml sitemap, and yawn. sit back, wait a while (like 10 days).  Or just link to it from a site that gets spidered regularly, and you can get indexed in 24 hours or so.
  13. How do I submit to 1000 search engines? Why bother? in the UK the 5th biggest search engine has about 0.01% of the search traffic.  So I imagine that the search engine in 1000th position has less traffic than my kids blog.  And that doesnt exist yet, he’s only two.
  14. Do I need an XML sitemap? Not really.  Google will spider it well enough.  Arguably you should, but thats just because google tell you to.  Im not bothered either way.
  15. Do I need meta tags for SEO? YES (SEOoptimise seem to think differently though?) – the META Title is a ranking factor that has correlative benefits to actual ranking, tested certainly to the best of my ability.  The Meta Description Tag isnt a direct ranking factor, but it IS an indirect ranking factor – as you can optimize the CTR of your listing, gain more traffic, get more links etc.  Basically Optimization doesnt necessarily only mean the improving your ranking, it means optimizing your entire site presentation to earn as much traffic as possible.
  16. Do I need a high PageRank for SEO? No – and I abhor the way that everyone goes on about (toolbar) pagerank. It is highly misleading, although in absolutely basic terms it can tell you how hard something is going to be to optimize for,  for example if the top 5 listings for a keyword are all PR7 pages, you know your autoblog crap aint going to cut it.
  17. What is linkbait? Its like spam.  But friendly, social spam that people actually like.  It’s just a methodology of gaining links from other people to you.
  18. Can’t my niece who is a graphic designer do the SEO? Yes! As long as she has spent a few years studying SEO, ranking factors, up to the minute news on search, marketing in general, the technical aspects of SEM (coding, html, php/asp etc).  If your niece who is a graphic designer can do all this, let me know, I’ll give her a job.
  19. Can’t my nephew who is a web developer do the SEO? He can certainly adhere to some basic SEO principals, but anything more than that should be referred to a professional who does nothing but SEO.  Ive noticed increasingly in the last two to three years that “everyone” is now an SEO, in the same way as “everyone” was a webdesigner about 5 years ago.

  20. Can my son-in-law who is a Perl, Java and C programmer do my SEO? Programmers often make superb SEO’s but they need other skills first, primarily a good grounding in marketing, and the principals of search.  If they are programmers it will make the large scale programmatic analysis of data much easier – but then if all those skills were in place, he would be an SEO with a programming background.
  21. Why should I employ an in-house SEO? If your company depends on its website, or your company is an online one, you absolutely do not want an intern at an agency making the decisions that can potentially make or break your company. You want to take it in house, and employ a great SEO.  Pay them good money, give them shares etc, they will then be far more attached to the project that someone on a YTS linkbuilding for something that they dont understand.

  22. Can’t I just use WordPress plus plugins for SEO? Hey you should use wordpress plugins for SEO – there are a few I really like, and in their “out of the box” format they produce fairly good on site optimization.  The problem is that the final 10% of on site optimization must be carried out by hand, by and experienced optimizer.  And NO wordpress plugin can handle off site optimization.
  23. Does Google hate SEO? Only when its being carried out with the express intention of delivering a suboptimal search result, like a spammy site appearing for a high volume search term, that it shouldnt appear for.  If your site is a great site, and it needs help to rank well, thats fair game.
  24. Does SEO mean optimization for search engines spiders not humans? Not at all – these days the best search engine optimization is all about usability, if a human can use your website well, it has clear navigation, content and layout, then google’s spiders will like it.  You dont need to do it differently for the spiders.
  25. Is buying links, hidden text, IP delivery etc. black hat SEO? Like all things, it depends how much you do of it!  Hidden text can work well, as long as its not hidden just for the sake of delivering different content to the spiders – if its hidden for genuine layout reasons (and can be unhidden by way of an obvious “read more” type link) then its fine.  Same goes for link buying, IP delivery etc.
  26. Is black hat SEO legal? Yes ofcourse. Until Google become the law (said in a judge dread type voice).  Its probably not worth it though, unless you dont care about your site/reputation/long term traffic.
  27. Does site size matter? Nope, some of my best traffic sites are exact match keyword domains, with four or five pages, and a few links.  Some of these sites have had 60,000+ visitors in a day before.
  28. Do domain extensions (top level domains like .com, co.uk) matter? Ofcourse – if you are trying to optimise for SERPs in that country.  If you want to optimize for rankings in other countries, get a non country specific TLD, otherwise you will find it much, much harder.
  29. Do nofollow links count? Yes – nofollow was introduced by google as a way to combat UGC spam, but lets face it, nofollow links on a lot of websites still imply authority, take a long standing, locked article on wikipedia – with a link to the authority site on its topic.  That link is absolutely worth something. (note: in my opinion.)
  30. Do you offer PageRank optimization, search engine submission, meta tag optimization? Yes, and I have some great snake oil as well, just $50 by paypal, must be masspay though to cut down on transfer fees.  My paypal address is: dontwasteyourmoney@all.com
  31. Is blog commenting for SEO spam? Yes, and its annoyting.  I receive 100+ comments for every one I actually publish.  Most of them are from some guy called “buy cialis” and lives in Russia.  Oh, he’s got a friend called “penis enlargement” who tells rubbish jokes as well.
  32. I have a question or answer that is not on this FAQ what can I do? Ask the question at our SEO Q+A Forum!


NOTE:
do you have an SEO FAQ Page?  Want a link from here to it? post a comment with the address, and your anchor text and I will stick in in the main post.