Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a crucial yet confusing element in digital marketing. Without SEO, your website might never be found in a search by potential customers, but trying to figure out all the lingo and analytics on your first try is difficult. Below, we’ve put together your most frequently asked SEO questions to help you build a solid foundation to better grow your business’s reach.
WHAT IS SEO?
SEO uses “organic” and “natural” search results to increase website traffic. All major search engines use algorithms that rank web pages based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users, such as keywords and engagement.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ORGANIC AND PAID RESULTS?
Organic results are the free results that appear on the search engine based on its algorithm. Paid, or inorganic, search results are bought by companies. These appear at the top or on the side of a search result, along with an indicator that the result is an ad.
WHAT IS A META DESCRIPTION, AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
A meta description appears below the page’s title name on the search engine and explains to your audience what the page is about. The description length can vary, but Google recommends that you use between 110-320 characters. Staying on the lower end of the range optimizes the experience for mobile users.
Websites used to write meta descriptions with specific keywords in mind that would help in their search result rankings. While metadata isn’t as important for SEO rankings as it used to be, the meta description still plays a significant role. Compelling meta descriptions have proved to increase a page’s click-through rate.
HOW DOES A SEARCH ENGINE FIND MY WEBSITE?
There are two steps that a search engine takes to find and catalogue a website and its content. When a search engine first goes through a site, it’s crawls every page on your site based on your sitemap. It then indexes all the content it finds, or makes them available to show up in search results.
WHY AREN’T MY WEBSITE PAGES SHOWING UP IN SEARCH RESULTS?
If you’re expecting to see a page in search results that isn’t there, there are typically two main culprits. The first is that the page isn’t included in your sitemap. To review your sitemap, visit “YOURDOMAIN.com/sitemap.xml.” If the page in question doesn’t appear here, consult your website manager to see if that page has been removed. You can also check your robots.txt page to ensure a command isn’t blocking it from being seen.
HOW MANY KEYWORDS SHOULD I USE ON MY WEBSITE OR BLOG POST?
There’s no magic number for how many keywords you should use on a single page, so use them as many times as necessary without injuring the content. Search engines value high quality over the number of triggers found on the page, so use what feels natural.
WHY DO I NEED TO USE ALT-TEXT ON IMAGES?
Search engines can’t read images, but they can read text: the alt-text helps the search engine know what the image is about. Also, if images on your page don’t load, the user can still read what the images are.
DO I NEED TO KNOW CODE TO DO SEO MYSELF?
You don’t need to know code to use the basics of SEO. There are more advanced SEO practices that require a basic understanding of coding, but it isn’t necessary for all SEO elements.