How often does Google update its algorithms?
Generally, Google updates its algorithms several times a year. There’s no way to know when or why a Google update will happen, so it’s best to adhere to best practice SEO guidelines at all times.
If a site has no backlinks except internal links, will Google add it to the index?
A site with no links to it from outside websites must not be a useful, link-worthy site. Such sites, not surprisingly, tend not to get indexed by Google. If they do get indexed for some reason, they are unlikely to rank in search results.
Our site is password protected/paywalled. Does this mean the search engines cannot get to the thousands of pages behind the password protection?
That’s correct. If you want those pages in Google’s index, then you’ll need to allow Googlebot access to the pages without requiring log-in or cookies. To do this, you’ll need to use the Schema.org paywalled structured data element to ensure that Google parses you paywalled or subscription content correctly.
Explain what alt tags are and their significance, please.
An image alt tag is the text that appears in a small box when you hover your cursor over an image. Alt tags should convey the key information from the image that the user would not receive if she had image loading turned off or she was visually impaired. Search engines also look at alt tags to a limited degree, so it’s helpful if the alt tag contains relevant keywords. Not all images have or should have alt tags defined. For example, graphical borders should not, as that would make for a very frustrating user experience for a blind person using a screen reader.
What books would you suggest I begin reading to get a better idea of optimizing a site?
I’m glad you asked! Check out my book, The Art of SEO.
What are Featured Snippets?
Featured Snippets are the “answer boxes” that appear at the top of the Google results page. You can attempt to rank for Featured Snippets by providing a concise, useful answer to a common query.
How long should your title tag be?
Google truncates title tags at around 60 characters, so keep them between 50-60 characters.
Are there any rules about the number of characters/words that should be used in the meta description?
Google truncates the meta description at around 160 characters, so optimal length would be 50-160 characters. Include your keyword if you can, but make sure your meta description entices the reader to click on your page.
How many meta keywords should I use?
Don’t bother with meta keywords. They are not a ranking factor and are useless in terms of SEO.
How can I optimize my images for Google Images?
Optimizing for Google Images, the image search engine at http://images.google.com, involves two things. First, make sure the image names have good keywords in them, separated by hyphens. Not too long though. Do keyword research to identify the best keywords to use. Second, make the content around the image and the alt tag for the image have good keywords in them. Before you begin optimizing, an important question to ask yourself is: Am I sure I’ll actually attract high-value customers through Google Images? It could be that you’ll end up getting plenty of traffic, but the conversion rate could be quite poor because they aren’t shopping for your product but instead just for an image of it.
How do you obtain your site’s Google rankings for a list of keywords?
You can view your ranking data in Google Search Console, though it should be noted that there is some debate over how accurate this data is.
How do I submit my XML sitemap to Google?
Submit your XML sitemap to Google via the “Sitemaps” section of Google Search Console. Before you submit your sitemap, make sure it is formatted correctly.
How do you know if your site is search engine friendly?
The quick answer to this is that if all your pages are indexed in Google, you have no penalties, and you receive a substantial amount of organic traffic, you’re probably doing most things right. However, without a detailed audit of your site, it’s not possible to know whether there are any serious issues. Some sites receive large amounts of traffic but still have problems that are holding them back from their true potential.
What is the best way to find out the number of people searching for a specific keyword?
Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can give you an accurate indication of the traffic and ranking difficulty of a particular keyword. In my experience, Google Ads Keyword Planner isn’t particularly accurate, so I wouldn’t rely on it when conducting keyword research.
I need backlinks to my website. Should I just buy them?
No! You should never buy backlinks. If Google finds out (and they usually do) you will likely be hit with a penalty.
How many times should I mention my keyword on a web page?
Once upon a time, SEO practitioners were obsessed with finding the perfect “keyword density” (the number of times a keyword was mentioned on a web page) for their content. These days it’s much harder to trick search engines by “keyword stuffing” your pages. Instead, focus on creating great content that your visitors will enjoy. Ultimately, this is a much better strategy for earning rankings.
What are some of the tools to measure the success of SEO?
At a minimum, you’re going to need Google Analytics if you want to see increases or decreases in your traffic. If you want to track more SEO-specific metrics like how many keywords you rank for, number and quality of backlinks, or number of pages indexed, I’d recommend SEMrush, Ahrefs, and LinkResearchTools.
How do we get Googlebot to crawl our site more often?
There’s a simple answer to this question: publish more content. If Google notices that you only publish one post per month, then it’s not going to bother crawling your site every day. If you’re publishing regularly but your posts aren’t being indexed, check your robots.txt and XML sitemap to ensure you’re not blocking Google’s bots. Also make sure your site loads quickly and you don’t have issues with thin or duplicate content chewing up your crawl budget.
Should I use static or dynamic URLs on my site?
Technically Google can crawl and index dynamically generated URLs, though they can result in problems like duplicate content (multiple URLs pointing to the same location) or use up your crawl budget. Dynamic URLs are also harder for humans to read, and thus result in less clicks. Ideally, your URLs should be short and simple and include your target keyword. For example: site.com/best-hamburger-new-york
Does paying for Google Ads affect SEO?
There is a persistent myth that spending money on Google Ads will have benefits for your organic listings. However, this is not the case at all. There is a clear division between Google’s paid and organic departments, and there is no SEO benefit from buying Google Ads.
We are well ranked on Google’s organic search listings, is it worth spending on Google Ads too?
One of the benefits of SEO is that you don’t have to directly pay for traffic. However, even if you are doing well organically, there is no harm in experimenting with Google Ads if you have the budget. You may want to use Google Ads to test out new niches or keywords before you invest in SEO. One thing to avoid would be bidding on keywords you already rank for, since you can wind up paying for traffic that you may have gotten for free.
Do you have any suggestions for increasing the number of links to your site?
If you want people to link to your site, you need to give them a reason to link to you. That means creating amazing content (linkbait), mentioning their name or brand (egobait), or giving them something useful, like an infographic. Once you have something noteworthy, start an outreach campaign to tell people about it.