SEO Frequently Asked Questions
The answer to this question isn’t clear cut. Generally speaking, redirects will not harm your SEO efforts. But care needs to be taken to ensure they’re set up properly.
When they’re done right, redirects can help you preserve and protect your rankings when you make URL changes.
No reputable SEO agency will provide a warranty on search position. Rankings are changing all the time — and vary according to location.
Besides, there are more important metrics to consider. What really matters to your business — search position or increased sales?
A few years ago, Google announced it was now taking the security of your website into account, with HTTPS websites getting a slight boost in rankings.
It’s unlikely to make much difference on its own, but it will contribute towards everything else you’re working on.
In short: yes.
Once you’ve found the right keywords, blogging is the perfect way to enhance your website’s SEO. It helps SEO in a few key ways:
- Establishing your website as an authority in your niche.
- Providing opportunities for both internal and external linking.
- Giving you more pages to rank with.
If your website isn’t ranking, don’t despair. There are a few possible explanations, such as:
- There’s a lot of competition for your keywords,
- You’ve chosen the wrong keywords,
- You’re missing a piece of the SEO puzzle,
- You haven’t given it long enough.
The good news is you can work through all of them.
Google can’t view your images when it’s crawling your website. If you want them to ‘count’ towards SEO, you need to help the search bots understand what they are.
Adding alt text to your images is one way to do this.
It’s natural for your rankings to fluctuate slightly. The rankings are constantly changing as the websites around you work on their SEO (either intentionally or unintentionally).
These natural variations should reduce as you get closer to the top.
Each agency has its own method of communicating results to the client. You may be assigned an account manager – or you may communicate with the project team directly.
At Digital Meal, you will be able to communicate directly with the SEO specialist working on your website.
There are many other popular techniques to include in your strategy:
- Keyword research,
- Creating high-quality content,
- Increasing site speed,
- Link building,
- Optimising images,
- Creating a mobile-friendly website.
The key is to focus on “white hat” techniques and avoid “black hat” techniques that may harm your rankings.
There are so many incredible SEO software options. The right choice will depend on what you want to use it for.
If you’re on a budget, start with the free tools offered by Google. Then move onto some of the more powerful tools like Ahrefs, Moz and SEMRush.
There are pros and cons associated with both SEO and PPC. But if you’re only going to focus on one — make sure it’s SEO.
The biggest reason for this is the traffic. Research shows organic search drives more (and better quality) traffic than paid search.
This (“|”) is known as the ‘pipe symbol’. It is often used to separate different elements of the title tag.
On a standard keyboard, it can usually be found on the right-hand side, next to the return key, on the third row up.
The best SEO strategies start with a thorough understanding of the audience. Who is your ideal customer? What are their biggest problems and challenges? What keeps them awake at night?
Get inside your audience’s mind to figure out what they’re looking for when they use Google.
Make sure the keywords appear in the page title, the URL and the meta description. You should also use them in the first paragraph of your content — and a few times throughout the piece.
Don’t overdo it. Just use them enough to let Google know what the page is about.
If you want to learn SEO for your business, there are many great places to start.
Start with some of the popular SEO blogs — such as Moz and Search Engine Journal — to learn from the best in the industry.
Although low-cost SEO packages exist, it’s important to remember you get what you pay for.
As SEO is an unregulated industry, it’s possible for anyone to set up and call themselves an expert. It’s important you verify the credentials of anyone before you hand over the cash — but cheap packages should be one of your red flags.
Inbound links are those your website receives from other websites. Internal links are those you include, linking to other areas of your own website.
Both are important – so don’t neglect inbound links when creating a new piece of content.
The short answer: money!
But there’s also a difference in how the SERP displays the results. Paid results appear at the top.
Whilst this may sound like a good idea, it’s not always simple to get paid results featured either. And evidence suggests consumers trust them less than organic results.
It’s important to set realistic, achievable goals to help you on your SEO journey. A good place to start is your website traffic.
How much traffic are you currently getting from organic search and how much would you like to see it increase by?
If your website puts search engine users at risk, this could put you on Google’s blacklist. This includes:
- Websites that contain malware,
- Websites with suspected phishing scams,
- Illegal content,
- Buying or selling backlinks.
After you sign up, we will begin the research phase of the SEO campaign. As part of your personalised quote, the timeline and list of actionable tasks will be outlined so you know exactly what we’re doing.
A successful SEO campaign should give you the following results:
- More website traffic from organic search.
- A higher conversion rate.
- A better position on relevant SERPs.
- More high-quality backlinks.
- Increased revenue.
After six months of consistent effort, you should expect to be seeing some return on your investment.
Your website might not be ranked #1 by this point — but if you’re seeing increased traffic and sales from organic search, it’s working.
To start with, focus on getting your website set up correctly. If it’s a new website, this starts with the domain name.
For an existing website, learn about technical SEO and optimise what you already have. From here, you can conduct keyword research and start building content.
A sitemap is another file that helps search engines discover and list your website. It contains links to all your website’s pages, ensuring the search robots don’t miss anything.
This should always be an XML file — and it’s easy to create one using a WordPress plugin or similar tool.
This is difficult to quantify as it depends on a variety of factors unique to your business.
But you should ensure you can calculate the return on investment for your SEO efforts — especially if you’re outsourcing.
Make sure you have analytics set up to track conversions and where they come from.
Crawling is what the search robots do when they take a look around your website. The pages they crawl may then get indexed (added to the search engine) — or they might not.
For example, if the bots crawl the page and find a “noindex” tag, it’s unlikely they will go on to index that page.
SEO is a marketing technique that increases website traffic and conversions from popular search engines.
We do this by understanding exactly what the algorithms are looking for. Using this information, a strategy can be developed to ensure your website performs well.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) refers to activities you (or an agency) do to get you more website traffic from search engines.
They focus on getting your website ranked higher in the search engine results for relevant keywords.
Robots.txt is a file you upload to your website that helps search engines figure out which pages to list for you. You specify the pages you don’t want them to include.
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to code — it’s simple to create one with the help of a plugin.
On-page SEO is the activities you carry out on your own webpages to boost your search engine rankings.
It includes things like:
- Choosing an SEO-friendly URL.
- Keyword placement.
- Optimising your images.
- Reducing page load times.
- The quality of the content found on the page.
Local SEO is used by local businesses to enhance their rankings within their geographical area. This ensures results are targeted towards potential clients in your area — maximising profits for your business.
Not all backlinks are equal. Link equity refers to how much a link is worth to your SEO efforts. How much “link juice” do you get from it?
To get the most from your SEO efforts, you need to focus on getting backlinks with good link equity.
Link building is the process of getting external websites to link back to your content.
There are many link building techniques to choose from. They will help you build the link profile of your website and let Google know your content is worth linking to.
Keyword research helps you tap into popular search terms to get your content discovered.
It helps you understand what your audience is searching for, how popular the search terms are, and how much traffic they generate.
This provides you with a list of keywords to focus your content on.
Domain authority is a measure developed by SEO giants, Moz. It gives your website a score — between 1 and 100 — that helps predict the ranking power of your website.
The higher your domain authority, the more likely you are to rank well in search results for your industry keywords.
Broken link building is a link building strategy that makes use of existing links to boost your rankings.
It involves finding broken links on other people’s websites. You then create a piece of content that fills the gap, before contacting the owner of the broken link to let them know about it.
In the early days of SEO, it wasn’t unusual to see people using unethical strategies to increase their SERP position.
These violate Google’s terms — and you should avoid them at all costs. Blackhat SEO techniques include:
- Paying for backlinks,
- Keyword stuffing (using the same keyword too much on one page),
- Using invisible text on your website to trick the search engine.
There’s a time and a place for both paid and organic search.
On the whole, though, SEO is often a better choice. Once your website ranks well, less investment will be required to maintain results. Paid search will always require a financial investment.
When you link to something from your website, the anchor text is the clickable text visible to your audience.
This provides both the user and the search engine with information about the link. For best results, you should make sure your anchor text is relevant to the page it’s linking to and not too heavy on keywords.
A SERP — or Search Engine Results Page — is what a user sees once they’ve submitted their query to the search engine.
It contains a list of websites relevant to their search — including both organic results and paid advertisements. This is where we want to see your website following your work on SEO.
A Google penalty is what you’ll get if Google believes you’re violating its terms and conditions. This includes the use of blackhat techniques to improve your search position.
A true penalty is different from the drop in rankings experienced following an algorithm change. It sometimes means your website no longer appears in any search results — unless you take action to fix it.
SEO — or search engine optimisation — is a way to market your website, focusing on your position in search engines like Google.
You can break it down into the following types of SEO:
- Technical SEO.
- On-page SEO.
- Off-site SEO.
The best SEO strategies include all three of these.
So you’ve heard the term SEO a lot — but what does it even mean? It’s an acronym for Search Engine Optimisation, and it relates to a variety of techniques you can use to market your website.
It’s pretty self-explanatory — optimising your website so it can be found in search engines.
Backlinks are links to your website from another website. When done right, getting high-quality links back to your website is one of the best ways to demonstrate your authority to Google.
But make sure you focus on high-quality, natural backlinks to avoid getting penalised.
A meta description is a short snippet (maximum 160 characters) of text that describes your content. They help search engines categorise your website and provide information to the end-user.
For these reasons, they are absolutely still important.
You’ve heard the story of Hansel and Gretel, right? They left a trail of breadcrumbs to help them find their way back home.
This fairytale is the premise of breadcrumbs on your website. They help Google learn more about the structure of your website and improve user experience.
One of the biggest SEO changes in recent years has been the shift to focusing on user intent.
Algorithm changes are improving Google’s ability to understand what users actually want to know when they type in a query.
No! This is one of the worst things you could do. Be wary of any SEO companies that encourage you to purchase links.
This used to be an effective strategy — until Google realised people were doing it. There are no safe ways to cheat the system, so make sure you play by the rules.
The sooner you make a start on SEO, the better. When you consider it before you build your website, you start in a strong position.
Ideally, you should even consider SEO when you choose your domain name.
This depends on the age of your website, how your website is ranking — and the impact this would have on other aspects of your business.
But if your website is new, this is definitely something to consider. Try to balance keywords with a user-friendly domain name.
That depends — what are you looking to focus on?
If you want to improve your organic search performance, then SEO is the answer. If you want immediate results and happy to pay for your clicks, then a Google Adwords campaign is go.
Luckily for you – we can do both.
If you can afford to outsource your SEO, it’s a great way to get results faster — without taking up too much of your own time.
Make sure you do your research first and choose someone with a proven record for getting results.
Finding out your competitor is using blackhat techniques to your disadvantage is frustrating.
When this happens, you have two options:
- Carry on using whitehat strategies and wait for Google to catch up with them.
- Speed up the process by reporting their dodgy links in Google Search Console.
Yes. One of the most critical elements of SEO is to stay on top of algorithm changes.
Google updates its algorithm several times per year. While they do not usually make the details public, we know how to interpret what they mean for our clients.
Due to the nature of SEO services, it’s impossible to guarantee results. And you should be extremely wary of any agencies that make big promises like this.
Each year, you’ll come across some marketing expert warning you against investing in SEO.
But is it really dead? The answer is no.
Search engines are still the most common way people find information online. As long as people are using Google, it will be worth the effort.
Link building can be dangerous if you’re using outdated or unethical techniques.
But, when it’s done right, link building is an integral part of any SEO campaign. Take time to understand how you should implement this in your business, without breaching Google’s terms.
Some agencies might not require you to sign a contract — but it is always a good idea to do so.
This provides you — the client — with a level of protection. Otherwise, how will you determine the agency is delivering what they promised?
Whilst coding and programming experience isn’t necessary to do SEO for yourself, having this knowledge is very helpful.
A lot of high level technical SEO requires a certain level of experience in coding.
Internal links in your content link to other pages on your website. External links send traffic to other websites — and also include links from other websites to your own.
Both contribute to SEO. As well as building your external links, you should also focus on internal links to strengthen your website’s structure.
Whilst keywords are a key proponent of SEO, the ultimate goal is organic growth and leads (or sales).
For this reason, we don’t focus on “choosing a certain number of keywords”, but rather on “how much more traffic and leads you’d like?”
The number of people using Google is increasing. If you notice a sudden drop in traffic, it’s usually an indication your website’s ranking has dropped.
Google is always changing its algorithm to ensure it displays the best results to users. Review the latest algorithm changes to figure out what’s changed for your business.
There are so many amazing websites and communities that can answer any question you have on SEO.
The Moz community is one of the most popular and is available to anyone that subscribes to Moz Pro. Search Engine Journal also has a weekly “Ask an SEO” advice column.
That depends — what is your goal, and when do you want to achieve it by?
The more time you invest, the faster you will get results. We recommend aiming for somewhere between three and 12 hours per week.
This is completely up to you. SEO doesn’t have to cost anything — you can get results for free, as long as you have the time and inclination.
If you want to outsource, expect to pay anything from $100 to £10,000 dollars per month.
Imagine Google as a spider, crawling from one page to the next. If a link to a page doesn’t exist, Google can’t find it.
Instead of focusing on individual pages, think about your internal link structure as a whole.
How much time do you have? This is a tricky question to answer, as there’s always more to do.
But, generally speaking, you should be able to get results from just a few hours per week, as long as you commit to it consistently.
This question is impossible to answer without a full analysis of your website and niche. It depends entirely on your chosen keywords, how competitive they are, and the volume of traffic you can expect to receive.
Although SEO is never “done” — most people do start to see some results within a few months.
The terms SEO and SEM are often used interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing.
SEM refers to the use of paid strategies to get traffic from search engines. And SEO refers to the use of organic (unpaid) strategies to boost your website up the search rankings.
Google and other search engines want to give their users the best experience. This is why they update their algorithm regularly.
This means SEO is always evolving. It’s no longer about finding ways to trick Google into boosting you up the rankings. Instead, focus on high-quality, authoritative content.
Ever heard the saying “content is king”? Although other factors play a role, SEO is massively influenced by the quality of your content. Think about it — if you don’t have much content, how will Google know what you do?
SEO specialists make it their life’s work to understand Google algorithm changes.
Although Google doesn’t publish the algorithm, experts can use data to interpret what those changes mean for businesses who want to rank well.
Two words: keyword research. We can’t stress the importance of this phrase enough.
The key thing to consider here is user intent. What will your audience be looking for? What types of questions are they asking — and answers are they looking for?
To do SEO, you need to focus on three areas:
- Your website’s technical capabilities (e.g. how fast does it load? How well is it structured?)
- Your website’s content (e.g. informative blog posts. solving your audience’s biggest problems)
- Link building to get backlinks for your website (e.g. providing guest posts for other websites)
Google — and other search engines — use a variety of factors to determine your website’s authority.
To improve your authority, focus on activities such as:
- Link building,
- Creating high-quality, expert content,
- Combining SEO with your PR efforts,
- Encouraging existing customers to leave reviews.
Keyword research is complex — but here are our top three tips for getting started:
- Think like your customers. What are they searching for?
- Think like your competitors. What keywords are they using?
- Think like the experts. What do keyword research tools suggest?
Keyword density isn’t an exact science. SEO ‘experts’ will often give you a percentage to aim for. But this isn’t supported by information provided to us by Google.
Just focus on using the keyword a few times naturally throughout the copy, and make sure you don’t overdo it.
Do you want more people to find your business online? Do you want to increase website traffic without having to pay for advertisements? Do you want to maximise conversions from your traffic?
If you answered yes, it’s absolutely worth it.
It can be hard to know. But if you read back your copy, all uses of your keyword feel natural and make sense.
You can use a keyword density tool to check — but nowadays, this isn’t usually necessary.
Relevancy is one of the key measures used by Google to determine your website’s position. To ensure search engines view your site as relevant, make sure you do the following:
- Take time to understand your customer,
- Find the right keywords,
- Spend time on your meta descriptions.
Once you’ve completed your market research, make a list of topics you know to be relevant in your industry.
Next, you should use a keyword research tool to develop a list of keywords for your business. Use the search volumes and competitiveness to determine which you will focus on.
Link building is an essential SEO technique — but how you do it matters.
Avoid any black hat techniques that prioritise quantity over quality. Instead, focus on white hat techniques like:
- Writing guest posts for high-quality websites,
- Capitalising on brand mentions,
- Finding broken links that can be fixed with your content.
One of the easiest ways to track SEO results is to keep an eye on Google Analytics.
At Digital Meal, we also provide monthly reports that give you the important metrics for following SEO results; including detailed analysis of organic traffic and leads, as well as keyword ranking movements
There are lots of tools out there to help you check this.
But the easiest way is to open a google browser yourself and type the following: “site:yourdomain.com”. This will return a list of your indexed pages.
Using follow and nofollow links let Google know which links should influence rankings.
A nofollow link does not contribute to rankings. They are a necessary part of SEO — helping to minimise spam and stop people paying for their rankings by buying backlinks.
When people look for information online, they use search engines like Google. They can ask any question, and Google will find a bunch of websites that answer it.
If you want to see your website in one of these lists, SEO helps you put it there.
A better question to ask is this:
Do you need people to find you online?
If the answer to this question is yes, you need SEO. With over 5 billion searches on Google each day, you’re missing out if you don’t include search in your online marketing strategy.
Most SEO agencies require you to sign a contract. However, at Digital Meal we don’t have any lock-in contracts.
You do not need to know how to code to do your own SEO. Some of the leading SEO experts don’t know code, and it doesn’t seem to affect their results.
Some basic knowledge can help — but you can always work with a developer to plug the gap.
How much time do you have? If you’re willing to put in the time and learn how to do your own SEO, there are plenty of resources to help you get results.
But outsourcing can be a great solution for business owners who lack time but have the budget to pay someone else to do it for them.
It’s no secret the structure of your website can help SEO — and the inclusion of blog categories is one way to do this.
They help Google learn what your website is about. On top of that, each category page is another opportunity for your website to rank for that particular topic.
There are a few ways you can check your website to find vulnerabilities that put you at risk of a Google penalty.
Your link profile is the most important. Monitor external links to your website to ensure they are of high-quality, relevant links. Links that look like spam put you at risk.
To learn how people are finding your website, you need to set up analytics on your website.
This will provide you with a list of referral sources. For any traffic coming from search engines, you will also be able to uncover the keywords they’re searching for to find you.
No. Copying someone else’s content would be a big mistake.
Not only does this infringe copyright laws, but it will also see your website penalised by Google. Duplicate content is a big red flag for them — and they will always give credit to the first publisher.
Meta tags include important information that helps search engines categorise your website. The most important are the title tag and the meta description.
These are also visible in the search results. Well written title tags and meta descriptions can, therefore, increase click-through rates.
If you’re interested in getting professional SEO help, check out our SEO services page.