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May 11, 2011

Common SEO Questions – A SPN Exclusive Article

Even though SEO has been around for a long time, there are still plenty of site owners, web developers and marketers who don’t have much experience with SEO. This is through no fault of their own, as SEO has only recently been taken out of its silo and incorporated into overall Internet marketing strategies. A few years ago, SEO was looked at as more of a technical practice, something that was handled behind the scenes. Now, SEO has taken a much more active, marketing-driven role. There is no denying that SEO is important if you want your brand to succeed online, but many people still do not fully understand that SEO is a not magic bullet. It will not solve all your online marketing problems overnight, nor will it supplement your offline marketing questions. Too many site owners are caught off-guard by black hat SEO spammers and con-men, looking to take advantage of “SEO newbies.”

Here are a few of the most common SEO questions and the white hat responses:

Q: How long will it take me to rank in Google?

A: There is no guarantee as to how fast your site will rank in Google, Bing, Yahoo or any of the other search engines. There are a lot of factors that your SEO is fighting against to help your site perform. If your site launched in a small niche with few competitors (grasshopper breeding), it might rank well faster because there was little opposition. If you launched your site in a highly competitive market (dog breeding), it could take much longer for your site to rank for your chosen keywords. There is no set time frame since each site and industry is different.

Q: How important is my Google PageRank?

A: PageRank is the numeric value given to your website based on its relevance and importance according to Google. Once upon time, it was a major contributing factor for Google’s algorithm, as a higher PageRank score (out of ten) signified that your site was useful and had a good trust factor with the search engines. Now the Google algorithm takes into account hundreds, if not thousands of contributing factors when determining where a site will fall in the SERP. While having a high PageRank is nice, it is by no means the most important factor or sign of SEO success.

Q: Which search engine is more important? Google or Bing?

A: Google still has the lion’s share of search volume, but Bing has steadily been gaining traffic over the last few months. You shouldn’t ignore one in favor of the other. The simple truth is that a different type of user chooses Google over Bing and vice versa. Failing to optimize for both players means your site is invisible to their audience. Google and Bing also fill their search results with slightly different information, so ranking well in one doesn’t mean your site is doing well in the other.

Q: How long do I have to do SEO for?

A: SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of tool. It takes constant attention and action to keep your SEO relevant and working. Yes, SEO will build on itself over time, but that doesn’t mean you get to 6 months and call it quits and hope your past work will carry you through. The Internet is expanding at an unbelievable rate, which means that every day there are more and more websites vying for the same amount of space. If you want to keep your site competitive and continue growing your online presence, you have to be prepared to strap in for the long haul. SEO is never truly finished.

Q: What does SEO really do for my site?

A: SEO is much more than just getting your site to rank well in the search engines. Good SEO will also help build your brand presence online, help maintain (or fix) your brand’s online reputation, drive traffic to your site and increase your conversion rate, establish your company as an industry leader or expert, help you connect with your customers and much more.

Q: Who should handle my site’s SEO?

A: If you don’t have the knowledge or experience to handle your site’s SEO, then you have to decide between bringing in someone to handle your SEO in-house or outsourcing your SEO to an SEO company or consultant. If you want to keep it in-house, your SEO manager needs to be incorporated into your marketing department, not the web design/development or IT team. Everything that your marketing department does to promote you company can be leveraged for SEO. Your SEO manager needs to work with the marketing team to keep their efforts in line.

If you want to outsource your SEO, be sure to do so to a reputable, white hat SEO firm! They should be US based and speak English fluently. A lot of SEO focuses on creating and publishing content and you need someone who understands the US market. Any company or consultant who promises to have your site ranking number one in Google by the end of the month is probably a black hat SEO practitioner and should be avoided.

Q: How do I measure SEO success?

A: There are a few ways to tell if your SEO is doing well. First off, what kind of traffic increase are you seeing? Good SEO should produce more traffic that steadily increases over time. Peaks and valleys isn’t a good sign. You can also look at how well your site is ranking for your chosen keywords. Did your site jump from page 6 to page 3? That means your site is establishing a stronger trust factor with the search engines and is performing well. The biggest indication of SEO success is your conversion rate. Of the traffic that arrived to your site, what percentage of them converted? Each site has a different goal. It could be for someone to call the company, download a trial form of some software, signup for a newsletter, etc. A higher conversion rate means that more targeted traffic is being delivered to your site, a sign that your SEO is doing a good job of positioning your site.

These are by no means the only questions you may have when beginning your SEO process, but they are some of the most common. A lot of SEO is learning and adapting. If you are looking to handle your site’s SEO by yourself, you might want to consider taking an SEO training session to learn the basics and answer more strategically minded questions.

Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing, an Internet marketing and SEO consulting firm in Boston, MA. With over 12 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting daily updates to his blog, the Search Engine Optimization Journal (or SEO Journal) and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter. Contact Nick at 781-350-4365 or

15 Responses to “Common SEO Questions – A SPN Exclusive Article

    Very nice article! Thanx for that!

    avatar seo says:

    thank you for your answers its very useful and now i realize what is seo and how to get rank in google and what is a use of SEO and I think Good SEO should produce more traffic that steadily increases over time.

    avatar Transport Services Dubai says:

    Well said with set it and forget it.It does not work like that because if you are not constantly doing seo then someone else is for your keyword.

    avatar Steve says:

    It is ridiculous to suggest that only US based SEO companies are to be trusted. We are based in the UK and have worked with both good and bad SEO companies in the UK. There is no way we would employ a US based SEO company. Local is best so that you can meet face to face and discus what is needed.

    One of the best ways to evaluate an SEO company is to look at the backlinks they have created for their present customers. If these are all low quality links then you should probably look elsewhere- unless they were specifically promoting a temporary ‘hit and run’ site.

    avatar CRM Software says:

    How long do I have to do SEO for?
    Definitely for ever, otherwise somebody will do it better than you.

    avatar Ricky says:

    USA based company? Why do you want us to hire USA based firm only?

    I would also like to know what kind of link works. It is easy to say that getting authority backlinks is vital but it ain’t that easy.

    avatar TV WATCHER says:

    I prefer that my site will be done with SEO master or I am must know some issues from SEO sphere. But the most important is quality and positive results from SEO working on your project! Thank you andgood luck!

    avatar Dan says:

    I don’t think the best way is to hire a SEO firm. You should hire an in-house SEO expert.

    Thanks everyone for reading and sharing your thoughts!

    Take Care,

    avatar George says:

    An SEO Expert should try out different strategies and well aware about the algorithm changes by the search engines.

    avatar Arindam says:

    Hi Nick… I appreciate the way you have carried your note forward. I would seriously choose to differ from you just in one point… and that is where you suggested a site owner to choose a firm BASED ONLY in USA and Targeting/ Understanding US MARKET. Candidly speaking I have a number of websites and my target demography is US, Canada, UK and Australia. I don’t mind if people are not coming from Germany or Pakistan or Bangladesh or Nepal… I would be most happy if I get voluminous traffic from US, Canada….

    One of my clients has his target demography S. Africa, ‘coz he sales machine parts that has demands in South Africa. I am pretty sure that USA has no profitable market for the kinda product he deals in. Why should I try to understand US market when it comes to working on a business site selling product that has no market in US?

    And Secondly…. IT has made a revolutionary change in our life. why is it necessary to choose a US based company only when the opportunity is global? There are lot of good SEOs in Australia, Indonesia, UK, India… along with USA. I personally know some of the good SEOs based in Indonesia, UK, & India.

    Thanx for providing me this space to type out my opinion…

    Hi Nick; nice article; optimizing for Bing never occured to me: I will take it into account. Having done all my own SEO and having started with no tecnical knowledge and I had never even been into internet before starting, I have taken with a pinch of salt most of the “SEO offers” that have come to me. I go into their own websites only to find out that they have lots of lilnks to camera forums etc. I believe you call it black hat teqniques.
    I managed to get my site on first page of Google (in English and Spanish) almost always number one for all my keywords through the things that I have learnt from people like you who have taught me so much over the last four years and sheer hard work with related link building. Thanks a lot for all that you have taught me.

    I really like this article SEO is a mine field I do all my own SEO for my website. I really think that most people who just started with their website they create lovely looking website nice products or information and then they sit back and wait for all the hits to arrive at their site. What a big mistake to make. The problem I face is that the SEO companies in the UK are not licensed so they can do what they like charge what they like. I have been ripped of so many time with rotten seo companies out there. I am sure there are some really good ones. My advice is do some real home work check at least three companies they are working with and speak to them. Get them to prove that they can do what they say.

    I get so fed up with people saying I can get you on to Google front page listing guaranteed!! Nothing is more difficult to achieve this. So be careful out there.

    avatar Ajit Nayak says:

    Nice Information…

    Thanks for Sharing with Us…

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