Q. What is SEO?
A. SEO (search engine optimisation) is the process of improving the visibility of a website in a search engine’s organic or “natural” search results.
Q. How can SEO benefit my business?
A. In general, the higher a site is ranked on the search results page, and the more frequently it appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.
Q. How does SEO work?
A. As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, what search terms or keywords are typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimising a website may involve editing its content, HTML and associated coding to increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Enhancing the backlink profile of a website – increasing the number and quality of inbound links – is another SEO tactic.
Q. What other popular forms of Internet marketing are there?
A. The other commonly used Internet marketing strategies include PPC (pay per click), SMM/SMO (social media marketing / optimisation), Content marketing, Email marketing and Affiliate marketing.
Q. What is the difference between SEO and SEM?
A. SEM is the broader discipline that incorporates SEO. SEM includes both paid search results and organic (“natural”) search results (SEO). SEM uses paid advertising with AdWords or Bing Ads, pay per click (particularly beneficial for local providers as it enables potential consumers to contact a company directly with one click), article submissions, advertising and SEO. A keyword analysis is performed for both SEO and SEM, but not necessarily at the same time. SEM and SEO both need to be monitored and updated often to reflect evolving best practices.
Q. What is PPC?
A. Pay per click (PPC) – also called cost-per-click – is an Internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which advertisers pay the publisher (usually a website owner) when the ad is clicked. It is simply defined as “the amount spent to get an advertisement clicked”.
Q. Are SEM and PPC not the same?
A. In some contexts, the term SEM is used exclusively to refer to pay per click (PPC) advertising, particularly in the commercial advertising and marketing communities which have a vested interest in this narrow definition. Such usage excludes the broader search marketing community that is engaged in other forms of SEM such as SEO (search engine optimisation), search retargeting and SMM (social media marketing).
Q. Are there any per-click costs involved in SEO?
A. No, there are no per-click costs involved in SEO – all clicks obtained via organic search are free. You do not need to pay anything to the search engine or your SEO specialist when an end-user clicks on your website’s link in the search results.
Q. What is the difference between organic and paid search results?
A. Organic search results also known as natural search results refer to the listings that appear in search engines for free, usually based on the quality and relevancy of the site to the search term. Paid search results are advertisements – usually pay-per-click (PPC). These results are achieved primarily by spending advertising dollars to place them on the top or side of the web page – the quality and relevancy of these results are lesser than those of organic search results.
Q. What are the advantages of SEO over PPC?
A. Pay per click is a method of charging for advertising on the Internet. As the name suggests, there’s a free payable to the search engine platform each time an end-user clicks on the ad. Paid inclusion results in searches to return results based more on the financial standing of the website owner, and less on the relevancy of that website to end users. The PPC advertising model is open to abuse through click fraud, even though Google and other search engines have implemented automated systems to guard against abusive clicks by competitors or corrupt webmasters.
Q. What is SMM?
A. Social media marketing is the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites. SMM is a type of online marketing strategy that involves using social media platforms to influence users of the platform that a company’s products and/or services are valuable.
Q. What are the disadvantages of SEO?
A. SEO is not a suitable strategy for every website, and depending on the website owner’s goals, other Internet marketing strategies can be more effective – like paid advertising through PPC campaigns.
A successful online marketing campaign may also rely upon building high quality web pages to engage and persuade, linking and setting up analytics programs to enable website owners to monitor and gauge results, and improving a website’s conversion rate. SEO may generate an adequate return on investment. However, search engines do not get paid for organic search traffic, their algorithms change, and there are no guarantees of continued referrals. Due to this lack of guarantees and certainty, a business that relies heavily on search engine traffic can suffer major losses if the search engines stop sending visitors.
Search engines can change their algorithms, impacting a website’s rankings and visibility, possibly resulting in a serious loss of traffic. Google modifies its algorithm around 500-600 every year – almost 1.5 times per day. Most of these updates are minor, but occasionally, there are major changes that can significantly impact a site’s search rankings. See a list of major Google algorithm updates here. It is considered wise business practice for website operators to liberate themselves from solely depending on search engine traffic.
Q. Are all SEO techniques accepted by search engines?
A. SEO techniques can be classified into 2 broad categories: techniques that search engines recommend as part of good design, and those techniques of which search engines do not approve. The search engines attempt to minimize the effect of the latter, among them spamdexing. Industry commentators refer to these methods, and the practitioners who employ them, as either white hat SEO, or black hat SEO.
Q. What is white hat SEO?
A. An SEO technique is considered white hat if it is in line with the guidelines of major search engines, and involves no deception. It is important to state the search engine guidelines are not written as a series of rules or commandments. Generally, white hat SEO improves a website’s ranking on the result pages while ensuring the integrity of your website, ensuring that the content a search engine indexes and subsequently ranks is the same content a user will see. White hat SEO involves a number of tactics, such as creating content for users, not for search engines, and then making that content easily accessible to the spiders, rather than attempting to trick the algorithm from its intended purpose. In many ways, white hat SEO is similar to web development that promotes accessibility, though the two are not identical.
Q. What is black hat SEO?
A. Black hat SEO attempts to improve rankings in ways that are disapproved of by the search engines, or involve deception. A variety of tactics are used in black hat SEO. The most commonly used black hat SEO techniques include using hidden text – using colours same as that of the background or positioning the text off off screen, cloaking – delivering pages that are different from the ones that appear in search results or requested by users, or building irrelevant backlinks to your website.
Q. What is the difference in results of white hat and black hat SEO?
A. White hat SEO techniques deliver longer lasting results in organic search, whereas black hat SEO practitioners anticipate that their sites may eventually be banned either temporarily or permanently once the search engines realise what they are doing. Search engines may impose penalties on websites they discover using black hat methods, either by decreasing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their search results altogether. Such penalties can be applied either automatically by the search engines’ algorithms, or by a manual site review. Digital marketing companies that employ black hat SEO techniques can get their clients’ websites banned from the search results.
Q. Are the results of SEO fast?
A. Google uses around 200 different factors to determine how to rank a particular website in its search results, and the time it takes to achieve optimum results can vary for different websites. Typically, there is noticeable movement in the rankings of a website within the first 4-6 weeks from the start of a campaign, and achieving 1st page rankings can take between 3-6 months.
Q. How long is an SEO campaign?
A. The longer the duration of an SEO campaign, the better the results are. For most websites, a minimum campaign of 6-12 months is recommended to achieve meaningful results.
Q. Is SEO expensive?
A. There is a considerable amount of work carried out in a well-conducted SEO campaign. This includes both on-page website optimisation and off-page promotion of the website’s pages. Also, the benefits of an SEO campaign last longer, compared to other forms of online marketing. Considering this, SEO is generally seen by digital marketers as the most cost-effective internet marketing strategy over the long term.
Q. Do I need to re-design my website for SEO?
A. In the vast majority of cases, a website does not need to be re-designed. However, if a re-design is necessary, our SEO consultants would be able to make this recommendation in the early stages of the project.
Q. Do I have to stop my PPC campaign to run SEO?
A. An SEO campaign can be conducted independently of an SEM campaign for a website. It is not necessary to stop either an SEO or a PPC campaign to achieve better results with the other. Advertising on search engines has no impact on the website’s rankings in organic search results.
Q. Can you guarantee SEO success?
A. Yes, our experienced SEO consultants provide SEO solutions with guaranteed 1st page rankings in local search results (terms & conditions apply). We employ tested and proven white hat SEO techniques to consistently deliver the promised results to our clients, without fail.
Q. Can a competitor harm my website’s organic search rankings?
A. It is not possible for a competitor to significantly harm your website’s organic rankings in the long run. However, it is always recommended to regularly monitor the appearance of your website in search results to ensure the consistency of its performance.
Q. What can affect my website’s rankings in the future?
A. A variety of key factors can influence a website’s organic rankings. These include:
Changes in the search engine’s algorithm.
Intense competition, resulting in a number of competitors’ websites overtaking your site in search results pages.
Change in your website’s structure, resulting in previously indexed pages to disappear.
Issues related to web hosting – instability or servers, change of IP addresses, slowness of page loading speed, blocking access of search engine bots, etc.
Q. Can the same SEO methods be applied in all markets worldwide?
A. Successful search optimisation for international markets may require professional translation of web pages, registration of a domain name with a top level domain in the target market, and web hosting that provides a local IP address. Otherwise, the fundamental elements of search engine optimisation are essentially the same, regardless of language.
Q. What is on-page SEO?
A. On-page SEO involves optimising different components of a website that affect search engine rankings. It may involve changing title tags, headings, URL structure, alt text for images, page load speed, page content and internal linking. This ensures search engines can easily index your website and navigate its structure and content. On-page optimisation is essential for a website to gain higher rankings in organic search results.
Q. What is off-page SEO?
A. Off-page SEO primarily involves enhancing a website’s backlink profile, by building high quality hyperlinks pointing to the site, from external (third party) websites. The number and quality of backlinks pointing to your website has a significant impact on your website’s ranking in organic search results.
Q. What is the difference between crawling and indexing?
A. Crawling is the process when search engines discover updated content on the web, such as new sites or pages, changes to existing sites, and dead links by sending their bot to a web page or web post and reading the page’s code. It is the first step of having a search engine recognise your page and show your website in its search results. Indexing is the process of storing of a web page or URLs into the search engine’s database so it can be retrieved when a user performs a relevant search query. Getting vital parts of your website indexed by the search engines increases your website’s rankings and visibility in search results.
Q. What is the difference between internal and external links?
A. Internal links are hyperlinks between different pages within your website. These links help guide visitors to the content they are looking for. By keeping visitors on your website longer, internal links improve the user experience of your website and show search engines that your content should rank higher in search results page. They also help search engines to index the rest of your site as crawlers follow the link to other pages. External links are inbound links from other URLs that point to pages on your website. They bring inbound traffic to your website, and also give signals to search engines indicating the relevance and quality of your website’s content for related search terms.