You’ve got an SEO question? We’ve got an answer! We’re going over the pertinent queries beginners have about SEO concerning a wide berth of sub-topics.
Question 1: What Do You Need to Balance When Doing SEO?
- Page Speed
When you have low page speeds, you can suffer in terms of SEO. Pay attention to your time to above-the-fold load and time to full page load and optimize both.
To learn more about page speed optimization check out our article on it.
Aside from page speed, another aspect of UX is making sure your website is easy to navigate and mobile-friendly. Check out exit rates and bounce rates, assess which pages are high on these numbers and whether you need to improve their UX to
Build up a decent level of keywords for your posts and pages. Remember to match the keyword intent correctly:
- Technical SEO
First, make sure your website is easily crawlable by search engines. Give your pages a clear and logical structure, provide a sitemap, and use proper header tags. Use structured data and schema markup so search engines can understand your content. You should also use a secure socket layer (SSL) certificate and avoid broken links.
- Domain Authority
Here are a few ways to improve domain authority:
- Building high-quality backlinks: Build a catalogue of reputable websites linking to your pages.
- Promoting your website & creating high-quality content: Use social media, email, and other channels to promote your website and attract visitors.
- Building internal links: Creating links between pages on your website can help search engines understand the structure of your site and improve its authority.
Question 2: What Effect Does SEO Have on Your Search?
Mainly, SEO helps your website be more notable for Google and other search engines. It presents the correct elements to be highlighted in correlation with what users are searching for. This gives you better marketing outreach and visibility. For companies, this can be crucial as most website clicks begin with a Google search.
Question 3: Why is Having Duplicate Content an Issue for SEO?
One of the issues with having duplicate content is that it can be penalised by Google. Aside from that, having original content is always beneficial so if your content is thought to be plagiarised, it becomes less desirable. Either way, Google treats 2 identical pages as interchangeable which diminishes your ranking potential.
Duplicate content can also cause keyword cannibalization which is sometimes an issue. This can lead to too much focus on one keyword at the expense of others and making certain articles suffer while putting out competing content. This is crawl potential that should be reserved for your unique content.
Of course, there are instances where KW cannibalization is beneficial such as when you have two links on the first page of a search engine. This can mean you’re ranking well for two keywords and boxing out your competition but it can also mean your old content is competing with current content, which can be bad if it’s counter-productive to content or marketing goals (such as displaying outdated info or beating out more desirable content).
Question 4: How Much Does SEO Cost for a Small Business?
SEO, on a basic level, doesn’t have to be expensive but it depends on the size of your website and its purpose. Content optimization services can cost from $500 to $3,000 depending on several factors such as scope, tools used, personnel/manhours, and depth of rewrites for pages or content.
SEO consultants can charge between $50 to $200 for a basic audit and minor fixes on something like a blog or a small website. However, if you need a well-regarded SEO agency to do a full website, that can get pricey ($5,000 to $30,000). A full project can involve anything from the optimization of pages to full website creation with proper SEO integration.
The latter example may seem costly but proper SEO for storefronts can bring in massive ROI. The basic level is easy enough for any company to achieve but it’s a competitive market, so being cheap is unwise.
Question 5: How to Optimize for Local Searches?
First, do a local SEO audit. You can use SEO audit services like SEMrush or Ahrefs or if you’re looking to spare your wallet, here is a checklist to manually make sure you’re optimising in the right places:
- Optimize title tags: Feature concise title tags with keywords.
- Keep NAP info consistent on all channels: Business Name, Address & Phone number need to be uniform.
- Create a content page: The page should feature the NAP of all your business locations.
- Structured data draws more clicks: Adding schema markup to your website improves SEO.
- Monitor XML Sitemaps: These allow Google to find your site’s pages and can improve SEO.
- Google My Business listing: Getting listed on Google will feature your business in Google’s knowledge panel.
- Select business categories carefully: Adding main and additional categories helps rank for more search keywords.
- Develop a mobile-friendly website: Google’s algorithm ranks mobile-first sites higher.
- Create/Claim Bing & Yelp listing: Getting listed on these sites can earn leads for your business.
- Create/Claim listings on popular directories: Directories increase your chances of being found.
- Get on niche-specific directories: Get listed on industry-specific directories for potential customers in your niche.
- Submit citations to the top 50 sites: Get featured on the top citation sites for more referral traffic.
- Check competitor’s citations: Analyse how your competitors are citing and get on those sites as well.
- Monitor and respond to reviews regularly: Replying to reviews can help you build a relationship with your customers.
- Display testimonials and reviews: Display reviews from existing local customers to improve your business’ credibility.
Question 6: How to Deal with Black Hat Measures?
Black hat SEO link-building techniques are largely unethical, thus the name. We cover a range of these white and black hat measures in our dedicated article on backlink building. These include:
- The use of private blogging networks to boost your own content.
- High volume, low-quality directory and social bookmarking submissions.
- The use of shady links.
- Spamming comments.
- Copying and spinning articles or copyrighted material.
- Cloaking i.e., using misleading headlines or descriptions to hide the nature of the actual content.
- Keyword and keyphrase stuffing to game the algorithm.
Here’s how to report black hat SEO:
- Make sure you know Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
- Make a list of the domains you want to report and what practices they are engaging in.
- Identify the correct reporting forms (each different black hat method has its own specific forms to fill out).
- Provide a description of the violations and submit the form.
Here are some black hat SEO tools to look out for:
- GSA Search Engine: A search engine ranking tool that helps build backlinks instantly through automation.
- Scrapebox: An aggressive keyword scraping, mass link building, and search engine harvesting tool.
- SENuke: This tool uses a powerful CrowdSearch functionality to ape numerous user queries on online search engines such as Google.
Question 7: What is Cloaking?
Relating to the previous question, cloaking in SEO is the use of a black hat technique where a website displays one version of a URL, page, or piece of content to fool the search engines into ranking it higher but the internal content that viewers see is not related.
When done intentionally, cloaking is a blatant attempt to trick crawl bots. It is also a serious violation of Google’s webmaster guidelines. When caught, pages are penalised for this behaviour and can suffer in terms of site trust. Here are a few cloaking methods that you should know about and should avoid doing accidentally:
- Hidden text is used to manipulate search engine rankings by disguising text on a webpage.
- User Agent Cloaking involves using a program to evaluate web visitors and determine which version of a cloaked site should be presented to them, often to show specially prepared content to crawl bots.
- IP Cloaking redirects users to a desired site through a second site with a high Google ranking, achieved by setting up .htaccess via reverse DNS records.
Question 8: Is WordPress or Shopify Better for SEO?
When setting up a storefront, is WordPress better than Shopify? Let’s break it down.
WordPress’ benefits include:
- Fantastic Customization with tons of plug-ins to suit specific niche interests.
- Page formatting is easy-to-use.
- You can choose a theme for your store and implement it easily.
- SEO tools are easily implemented.
On the other hand, it has a few drawbacks:
- Lack of customer support
- Slow loading times
- Can become over-crowded and high on CPU usage if over-customised
Shopify has distinct benefits as well:
- SEO configurations on the site are easy to implement with a straightforward backend.
- Full of SEO features like automatic sitemap generation, canonical instructions, customized URLs, 301 redirects, customizable title tags, etc.
- An adaptive lightweight platform allows it to run smoothly.
- Community support features are handy (in the right regions).
- Apps can help in customization and niche functionalities.
It doesn’t come without its cons, however:
- Reliant on apps due to lack of in-house features.
- The lite version requires manual software and data entry, which is time-intensive.
- Limited support outside of North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
Conclusion: Both have great features that allow for in-depth SEO optimisation, so it really comes down to what you need. Shopify will always be a better storefront and WordPress will always have more customization. Both these platforms have great features but were built with different purposes in mind.