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SEO 8 min read

Answers to 7 SEO Questions You Are Afraid to Ask

Sarah Edwards photo

Written by Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Kat Sarmiento photo

Expert reviewed by Kat Sarmiento

Associate VP of Operations @ Galactic Fed

Published 23 Nov 2022

SEO is a complex topic, and it’s driven by a set of ever-changing rules. It’s only reasonable that you’d have questions about it, but maybe you’ve gone so long without asking them that you’re afraid to ask.

Don’t worry about it; there’s no judgment here. Instead, we want to make sure you have the answers you need so that you can enact the SEO strategy that’s right for you and your business. 

With that in mind, here are the answers to seven SEO questions we commonly receive.

1. What About Keywords?

Keywords are notorious for causing confusion in the world of SEO. After all, there’s a lot of misleading and outdated information out there that can send even the savviest marketer down the wrong path.

Most of the confusion stems from outdated best practices. In the early days of the internet, search engines were not very sophisticated. When someone searched for a keyword phrase, the search engine would simply list web page content that used it. As you can imagine, the more a keyword phrase was used, the higher it would rank. 

This inevitably led to a practice called keyword stuffing, in which businesses would stuff popular or trending keywords into content (whether it was relevant or not) in order to drive website traffic. And who could blame them? It was an effective strategy that consistently fueled success across a wide variety of industries.

However, keyword stuffing no longer works. Search engines have evolved. Thanks to Google Rankbrain and natural language processing (NLP), keywords do still have an impact, but pages are also ranked by other factors, like relevance. These days, keyword stuffing is easily detected and penalized.

So how do you use keywords today? Implement them organically and in a way that enhances the content, rather than overusing keywords and risking a penalty. Prioritize creating content that meets the target audience’s needs, and focus on one or two target keywords.

2. Isn’t PPC Easier?

Let’s say you put in a lot of work to optimize your website for SEO. Eager to see your progress, you continually check your ranking for your target keywords. Sure enough, you eventually see your pages creeping up through the ranks toward the top of page one.

But then you see the paid ads. These persistent blocks of text consistently land above the organic search results you’ve worked so hard for, and they’re often what potential customers see first. Given how powerful this is and how quickly you can get results, why not focus on PPC and ignore SEO entirely?

The truth is that you should incorporate both paid search and organic SEO into your marketing strategy. Consider the fact that 40% of all website traffic is the result of organic search, while 28% comes from paid search. While PPC earns enough traffic to make it worth pursuing, SEO will result in more traffic.

3. What Are Algorithms?

Algorithms may sound like a high-tech, fancy topic that you could never have any hope of understanding, but they’re far more simple than sci-fi movies make them sound — at least on a surface level. 

Algorithms are no more than formulas that have been developed to help search engines deliver more accurate results. They determine which audience members see certain content and determine the ranking for specific keywords, all for the purpose of matching user intent and bettering the user experience.

Google is constantly updating its algorithms, so one of the most important yet challenging parts of SEO is staying on top of these adjustments. The largest algorithm changes have made a lasting impact on digital marketing and shaped the way marketers create content today.

4. Does Social Media Impact SEO?

Savvy marketers put in a lot of work to create an engaging social media presence. However, does this have any impact on your SEO? It is possible, but not directly. After all, social media engagement and popularity are not ranking factors. But this doesn’t mean there is no correlation between the two.

If you have a strong social media presence, you create more brand awareness, which may lead to more brand-specific searches. Additionally, that increased recognition could lead to an improved click-through rate, even if your pages aren’t at the top of the search engine results page.

Additionally, if you use social media to share your website content, you will expand your audience and boost your authority. That’s an excellent way to earn backlinks, which does directly impact your ranking. 

5. Technical vs. On-Page vs. Off-Page SEO: What’s the Difference?

There are different types of SEO. Each one is important, but each one requires a different set of actions to execute. 

Let’s start with technical SEO, which is comprised of the behind-the-scenes work you do to achieve a better search ranking. Technical SEO is all about improving page performance, fixing broken links, optimizing images, and eliminating errors.

On the other hand, on-page SEO is all about tackling visible page elements to optimize for search. If an SEO expert was working on one of your web pages, they might:

  • Ensure that your page title and headings use keywords
  • Reformat content for readability
  • Add alt-text content to images
  • Create an optimized meta title and description
  • Add internal and external links

Finally, consider off-page SEO, which is usually comprised of backlinks or citations to your website from other sources. It’s strange to think of activities on other websites as impacting your own ranking, but they do. 

If a reputable, high-authority website links to yours, that’s going to boost your ranking. Google sees this as a sign of trust and authority. After all, if a trusted source finds your website worthy of linking to, then it must be relevant.

On the other hand, SEO experts must take steps to disavow (get Google to ignore) links from disreputable sites, or have them removed entirely. These can have a negative impact on SEO if not dealt with.

6. What Is Black Hat SEO?

Black hat SEO refers to any optimization techniques that are in violation of a search engine’s terms of service. Using such techniques could result in a website being penalized or delisted. Compare this to gray hat SEO (ethically questionable methods) and white hat SEO, which refer to techniques that fully comply with guidelines and best practices.

Here are some examples of black hat SEO:

  • Purchasing backlinks instead of earning them
  • Redirecting site visitors to a different URL 
  • Content spinning or automation
  • Using irrelevant keywords in small or hidden text
  • Link building through comment spam

Black hat SEO can achieve fast results, albeit very temporary ones. These tactics are commonly used by unethical SEO agencies to follow through on the outlandish guarantees they frequently offer clients.

7. How Long Does SEO Take?

The amount of time that SEO takes to be effective depends on a marketing team’s goals, the amount of time and money invested into SEO efforts, and the current state of the brand’s online presence. Usually, it is reasonable to expect results within six to twelve months.

It’s important to be wary of agencies that promise extremely quick SEO results, as this can be a red flag that signals the use of black-hat tactics that will do nothing but harm your reputation. 

There Are No Bad SEO Questions

SEO is truly a challenging topic to master, so don’t hesitate to seek out advice when learning how to create an SEO strategy that will help you reach your business goals. Get the answers you need, as elementary as they may seem, so you can develop the SEO strategy that your business deserves.

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Sarah Edwards photo

Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed