This Is One Crazy SEO FAQ

This was originally posted on our Tyton SEO blog but I really wanted to share it with Medium.

SEO is starting to become a much more used phrase now that almost everybody has their own website. We have gotten a crazy amount of questions over the last few years so we decided to compile this ultimately insane list of frequently asked SEO questions.

Whether you are a new website owner or a SEO whiz, I believe there is some great information in this FAQ that you may have never known. If not, ask us a question in the comments below and we will answer it and add it here!

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the act or methodology of getting more visitors to your site via search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Why do I need SEO?

SEO is important because it can give your business/website targeted organic traffic that can increase revenue on your website, web business or e-commerce store. When you implement SEO strategies, people will be able to find your website when they search in Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines.

How much does SEO cost?

Depending on what services are performed and what company, SEO can cost anywhere between $5 and $15,000 per month for larger scale campaigns. Fiverr has a section that us purely SEO services that start at $5 and some of them are effective but hiring an SEO company is usually the best choice if you are looking to increase your rankings. SEO is constantly changing and requires a lot of work and time to gain rankings. If you are looking for a decent monthly SEO service, you will should choose a plan that is at least $250 a month.

What is white-hat SEO?

White-hat SEO is a phrase used to describe strategies to rank your website better that follow search engine rules, regulations and policies. Some white-hat techniques are creating good content, making your website user friendly and using keyword rich meta tags.

What is black hat SEO?

Black hat SEO is the technique of gaining search engine rankings by not following the search engine rules, regulations and policies. Some black hat techniques include keyword stuffing, invisible text and doorway pages. Often times black hat techniques will get you banned from most search engines.

How long does it take to get indexed in search engines?

It can take anywhere between 1 second and a few months to get your website indexed into popular search engines like Google. It all depends on the link juice flowing to your domain (website). If there are already a lot of sites linking to your site, then it could get indexed almost instantly.

To see if your website is indexed in Google just use the text below in the google search bar.

site:http://www.tytonseo.com

How do I submit my site to Google?

You can submit your site to google in their webmaster tools just by adding your URL to a simple form. They mention that “Google adds new sites to our index, and updates existing ones, every time we crawl the web. If you have a new URL, tell us about it here. We don’t add all submitted URLs to our index, and we can’t make predictions or guarantees about when or if submitted URLs will appear in our index.”

You only have to submit your url to Google one time so once your indexed you no longer need to submit URLs to the form. To let Google know all of your URLs to crawl you should submit a XML sitemap.

What is a XML sitemap?

The XML sitemap is similar to a site map of a website that shows all the pages of the site in a easy to view layout. An XML sitemap is just the code version of that for search engines like Google and Bing to use. The XML sitemap tells the search engines all the pages, which are important and how often they are changed. This allows the spiders to come back more or less frequent and know what pages are the most important. There is a great free XML sitemap generator that automatically crawls your site and generates you a XML sitemap…for free!

What is Google Webmaster Tools?

Google webmaster tools is a suite provided by Google that lets webmasters view and manage their websites in Google. In Google webmaster tools you can submit your sitemaps to Google, view your rankings (although it’s not very accurate), see crawl errors and a ton of other great resources.

Bing also has their own version of a webmaster tools interface that is much like Googles called what else than…Bing Webmaster Tools! They allow you to submit sitemaps, change crawl rates and a plethora of other great tools.

What is linkbait?

Linkbait is a form of content that is created to attract attention and gain a lot of backlinks. The result is that the content ranks higher in the search engines. Some different types of linkbait content are breaking news, great content and timeless content. Linkbait is a great way to gain quality backlinks which are very important for SEO.

What is a backlink?

A backlink is a hyperlink on a domain (website) that links to another website.

How do you get backlinks?

There are a number of ways to get backlinks to your website but the best way is to produce a constant flow of good content. This will create a user-base and generate strong backlinks to your website. You can also add your website to directories, write guest posts, and create web 2.0 sites about your niche. Here’s a large list of ways to get backlinks:

  • Write a guest post on a friends blog with a backlink
  • Add your website link to directories
  • Add your link on forum profiles
  • Add your link on your youtube page, facebook page, twitter page, and other social media sites.
  • Write a great story on medium with a backlink
  • Find outdated websites reference, create a relevant piece of content and tell the site owner that the reference is outdated and you have a better link.
  • Create an infographic and distribute it to other sites in your industry
  • Write a review for a service with your link in it
  • Give a testimonial with your backlink

How do you view your backlinks?

There are a few ways that you can see other websites that you are linking to your website. You can find great online tools that allow you to see all your backlinks but they will come with a cost. Googles webmaster tools is a free resource to see links coming in to your site but it’s not very accurate and not updated often.

The best tools to view and manage your backlink profile are paid sites like Ahrefs and Majestic as these provide a suite of tools to help with your SEO, manage backlinks and food good content.

Can you get banned from Google’s search engine?

Yes! Google has not become the biggest and best search engine for letting spam sites in. They are very good at keeping spam and bad websites out of their index. For more information on how to NOT get banned by google, read their steps to a google-friendly site.

How long does it take to see SEO results?

SEO is not a fast or easy process and it does take some time so you just have to be patient. Depending on what keywords you are targeting, your competition and how much content you are producing, it can take some time to see rankings increase. Usually you start to see your rankings increase within months but sometimes can take years for more competitive keywords.

If you have a large influx of good content then you will see the results a lot faster. You should also make sure that your site is optimized for on-page SEO (see below).

Does the TLD (.com, .edu, .org) affect SEO?

Technically speaking the TLD should have nothing to do with a websites ranking in the search engines. Although, according to Google, you should only use gTLD (generic top level domains) if you want to compete worldwide. They suggest using any of the following TLDs:

  • .aero
  • .biz
  • .cat
  • .com
  • .coop
  • .edu
  • .gov
  • .info
  • .int
  • .jobs
  • .mil
  • .mobi
  • .museum
  • .name
  • .net
  • .org
  • .pro
  • .tel
  • .travel

What are social signals?

Social signals are shares, votes, pins, likes or other social actions that people take on social media. While Google and other large search engines deny that social signals are a ranking factor, we believe that socials signals are a important part of SEO. Social media is now a large piece of the internet and we believe that wither it’s direct or indirect, having more social signals for your website can increase your rankings (just by correlation). If your web page is getting a lot of shares, its likely that it is getting backlinks as well.

Here are the types of social signals:

  • Shares: Reposts, Shares, Retweets
  • Posts: WordPress, Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter Tweets
  • Votes: Likes, Google +1’s, Insta Likes, LinkedIn Votes
  • Bookmarks: Delicious, Stumbleupon, or Diigo

Does website age matter in SEO?

Website age has been a constant debate in the SEO world. In the beginning years of search engines, having the oldest website usually meant you had a leg up on your competition. These days Google has debunked this idea stating that, “Its not typically something you need to worry about…Its mostly the quality of your content and the links you get as a result”.

What is Googlebot?

Google says “Googlebot is Google’s web crawling bot (sometimes also called a “spider”). Crawling is the process by which Googlebot discovers new and updated pages to be added to the Google index.” Google uses a large amount of computers to search pages on the web using algorithmic process that determines which sites to crawl., how much, and how many pages to fetch.

If you have a web page and don’t want it to be searchable on the web, it is possible to block the Googlebot a few different ways. You can add a meta tag in the <head> section if your webpage that disallows Googlebot.

<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW">

You can also create a robots.txt page to tell which web pages or folders to block from Google.

What is the robots.txt file?

The robots.txt file is kind of like an instruction guide for search engines which tells web robots (like Googlebot) what to include in their index and what not too. The robots.txt is a simple text file that place in the root folder of your website.

It includes two pieces.. user-agent and disallow. User-agent is the specific bot trying to access your site like Googlebot or MSNbot. You can use the ‘*’ to include all user-agents. Disallow tells the specific user-agent what pieces of your website to block. You can use the string ‘*’ to include all user-agents. If you need to use mulitple disallow paths than you must enter them one per line. Here are some examples of popular configurations.

Allow full access:

User-agent: *
Disallow:

Block all pages:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Block an entire folder:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /private/
Disallow: /folder/

Block a file:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /file.html

On Page SEO

What is on-page optimization?

On-page optimization is the strategy of optimizing your web code or HTML to help improve your position in the search engines. Some important on-page optimization are adding heading tags, meta tags, alt tags and open graph protocol tags.

What is h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 and what do they mean?

These are common tags you will see in HTML pages called heading tags. They help search engines and bots semantically define your website and what it is about. The heading tags are ordered from 1–6 and denote a section heading with h1 being the most important and h6 the least important.

Only one h1 tag should be used on each page and the structure of your heading tags can be structured like the following:

<h1>Earth</h1>
<h2>America</h2>
<h3>North America</h3>
<h4>Kansas</h4>
<h5>Johnon County</h5>
<h6>Overland Park</h6>

Proper use of the heading tags in your website HTML can strongly affect your search engine rankings.

What are alt tags and why do I need them?

Alt tags are HTML tags that tells search bots what your image is about. Using alt tags on all of your images will increase your rankings in both Google and Google Images.

Google has posted a great guide on how to to use alt tags and name your files for SEO. The best alt tags are descriptive and contain a few keywords that explain the image clearly. Also be sure to name your images with keywords that describe the image. This can also help your rankings in google images and search.

<img src="images/seo-image.png" alt="green seo image" />

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content is content (usually text) that is found in more than one place on the web. When search engines find mulitple pieces of content they have a hard time figuring out which one is relevant and which is original. For this reason, many search engines penalize sites that have duplicate content. This prevents people from just copying entire websites or plagiarizing content.

Google says there are a few exceptions to duplicate content such as:

  • Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
  • Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
  • Printer-only versions of web pages

There is a great online tool called Copyscape that allows you to enter a URL and see if there is any duplicate content on the web. This is a great tool for any website owner too see if anybody is stealing your content.

What is keyword density?

Keyword density is the percentage of times a certain keyword is used on a specific web page. Its possible that it’s part of search engines algorithms to look at keyword density to determine important keywords in the content. A good keyword density is around 2% but you shouldn’t worry too much about keyword density. Just create engaging and readable content and you will see a increase in rankings.

Here is the formula to calculate keyword density

( # of keywords / # of total words) * 100

What are rich snippets?

Rich Snippets are a new way for Google to structure your content and understand its context for display in search results. Having Rich Snippets on your website can increase its CTR and rankings by showing pieces of data not normally shown in the search results. Below is an example of some rich snippets in the google search results.

Currently, there are 7 content types used for rich snippets:

  • Articles
  • Local Businesses
  • Music
  • Recipes
  • Reviews
  • TV & Movies
  • Videos

Google provides a Rich Snippet testing tool that test the structured data to see if it is implemented correctly.

What is a canonical URL?

Canonical URL tags are a somewhat new (in the last few years) tag that tells spiders and bots what the URL of a certain page is. This is useful for sites that have content or products that are found at mulitple URLs. This can sometimes be flagged as duplicate content so the canonical URL helps not harm your rankings by telling the search engine its the same URL.

Code:

<link rel="canonical" href="https://www.tytonseo.com/">

Does website speed affect SEO?

Yes. Though it doesn’t directly correlate to higher rankings, having a faster website will allow users to engage in your content and share it. If your website is slow, visitors will not read your content and leave (which means no backlinks or return visitors). Having a fast website with good user experience will insure that all of your visitors can consume your content before leaving.

To check your website speed, there are plenty of great tools online but we find that pingdom provides the best tool to test website speed. It also tells you which resources are taking the most time to load and other websites load times.

What are internal links?

Internal linking is when you link from a page on a certain domain to a different page on the same domain. For example, this would be an internal link because its linking to our homepage which is still on the same domain (tytonseo.com).

Internal linking is very important for SEO as well as user experience. Having a website that is naturally easy to navigate will help keep visitors and be easily crawled by search engines.

What are external links?

External links are hyperlinks that point to an external website or domain. External links on your website can be good for SEO if you are linking to authority sites. You shouldn’t use a large amount of external links but some common and accepted external links are:

  • links to pages with a lot of shares
  • links to similar niche sites
  • links to pages with high domain authority
  • links to pages that add value to the page

What is rel=”nofollow”?

The rel=”nofollow” tag is added to the HTML <a> element to inform search engines not to pass link juice through that hyperlink. This is often used for un-trusted content, paid links or crawling prioritization.

Though rel=”nollow” links can’t help increase your rankings. they can still provide direct traffic to your website.

<a href="https://www.tytonseo.com" rel="nofollow">Tyton SEO</a>

What is Open Graph protocol and should I use it?

The Open Graph protocol allows web pages to be easily readable by social media sites like Facebook, Google and Twitter. Have you ever noticed that when you share a webpage on Facebook it doesn’t add an image or text from the web page? This is because that page didn’t have Open Graph tags.

These tags allow any web page to have the same functionality as any other objects on social media sites like Facebook. For more information on open graph protocol, check out their list of all the open graph meta tags.

Code:

<meta property="og:title" content="Tyton SEO" />
<meta property="og:type" content="website" />
<meta property="og:url" content="https://www.tytonseo.com" />
<meta property="og:image" content="https://www.tytonseo.com/images/seo_image.png" />

What is are meta tags?

Meta tags are HTML tags in the <head> section of your page. They tell search engines, bots and browsers what your page is about. Here is a list of every single meta tag there is.

What are meta title tags?

The meta title is an HTML element that tells browsers and search engines what your pages content is about. The title tag critical for on-page optimization if your website. Search Engines use the title tag in their results to tell the user what the page is about.

As you can see from the search results below, the meta title of our home page is “Tyton SEO™ — Search Engine Optimization Experts”.

To create a title tag for your website simply add the <title></title> tag in between your <head> tags. Note that if your website is new or not crawled often, it will take some time for Google and other search engines to update their index with your new titles.

We recommend using up to 55 characters or less in your title tags. It should include your main keywords and briefly/accurately explain your page’s content.

Code:

<head>
<title>Website Title</title>
</head>

What are meta description tags?

Meta description tags are a piece of HTML that summarizes a websites content in 160 characters. Search engines show the description in the results so its a very critical piece of on-page optimization for SEO. Your descriptions should clearly describe your web page while including your main keywords. Meta description should also be unique and not copied on every single page.

You can also see in the results that the searched keywords that match your descriptions contents are bolded.

Code:

<head>
<meta name="description" content="The meta description summaries your pages content in about 160 characters.">
</head>

What are meta keyword tags?

The meta keyword tag used to be a widely used on page optimization technique but most search engines have stopped relying on meta keywords completely. The reason is that many people would stuff tons of keywords in their meta tags that weren’t relevant to their website which caused havoc to the search results.

We still believe that using the keywords meta tags can be very useful for SEO. Its a great way to find and manage your keywords for each page. Its kind of a like a guideline for the keywords you want the certain page to rank for and you can reference them when you are using adwords or creating backlinks.

Code:

<head>
<meta name="keywords" content="keywords, that, explain, your, content">
</head>