Frequently Asked Questions

SEO is the process of increasing the amount of traffic to your website by ranking high on search results pages when web users conduct a search query. It is important because the higher your website ranks, the more likely people will click on your site. There are a variety of components that go into improving your rankings, many of which are defined below.

  • What is a sitemap and why do I need it? +

    A sitemap is a page or structured group of pages which link to every user accessible page on a website. The main goal of having a sitemap is to improve site usability by clarifying the data structure of the site. The most common XML sitemap is often kept in the root directory of a site just to help search engine spiders find all of the site pages.
  • What is a XML sitemap? +

    The simplest and most common type of sitemap which lists URLs for a site along with additional metadata about each URL. Allows you to specify information for each URL such as when it was last updated, how often the site changes, and how important a page is in relation to others on the site.
  • What is a HTML sitemap? +

    The second type of sitemap which uses a bulleted text outline version of the site navigation. These are designed to help the user find content on the page, and do not need to include every subpage. One downside is that HTML sitemaps cannot be submitted in Google Webmaster Tools because they are not a supported format.
  • What is lastmod? +

    An optional tag for a xml sitemap that provides more information to search engine crawlers. This tag informs them when a page was last changed.
  • What is changefreq? +

    Another optional tag for a xml sitemap that provides additional information to search engine crawlers. This tag indicates how often a page is likely to change such as hourly, daily, monthly, never.
  • What is a page title? +

    A page title is one of the most important on-page ranking factors and should be treated with care. Page titles shows up in Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing use the title tag as the search results' title for that page.
  • What is schema.org markup? +

    Schema.org markup is special code that is on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. Implementing schema.org structured data lets search engines understand more about the content-and can allow pages to be shown in different search features, such as Reviews and Recipes.
  • What are the different HTTP error codes and what do they mean? +

    An HTTP response code is a standard number describing what happened when the connection was made. When everything works correctly, the HTTP response code is HTTP 200 (OK). Most servers won't display a special HTTP 200 (OK) page; they'll just deliver content.

    • 3xx error
      Redirection: Request has been received, but needs to perform an additional step to complete the request. 301 redirects are useful for dealing with canonical issues.
    • 4xx error
      Client Error: Request was made by the client, but the page is not valid.
    • 5xx error
      Server Error: Valid request was made by the client, but the server failed to complete the request.
  • What is a robots.txt page and why do I need it? +

    A text file created by webmasters that instruct robots (search engines, etc) on how to crawl and/or index pages on their site. Robots.txt is useful when there are some pages you do not wish search engine bots to crawl on your site.
  • What does responsive design mean? +

    Responsive web design is an approach to web design with a strong emphasis on image viewing experience to make reading easier and minimize resizing, panning, and scrolling for simpler navigation. They are extremely important to having sites display properly on mobile devices.
  • What is a Content Management System (CMS)? +

    Programs such as Wordpress and Joomla, which separate most of the mundane Webmaster tasks from content creation.
  • What is duplicate content and how do they harm my site? +

    Content which is similar or identical to that found on another website. A site may be penalized for serving duplicate content via Google's special algorithms. Having duplicate content will also lower the amount of trust search engines have for the site.
  • What are Header Tags? +

    Header tags are used as a container for introductory content and/or navigational links. Having relevant header tags on each page is an important on-page ranking factor.
  • What is a H1 Tag? +

    A H1 Tag type of HTML heading that denotes the importance of a heading text on a page. It is the highest level tag that shows what a specific page is about. H1 tags are typically given greater importance by search engines, so they should include important keywords.
  • What does MozRank mean? +

    Is a score on a 1 to 10 scale that illustrates a link popularity score. It is used to gauge the importance of any given web page on the Internet.
  • What does MozTrust mean? +

    Is a score on a 1 to 10 scale that estimates the distance of a web site from a trusted "seed" site.
  • What is a Domain Authority (DA)? +

    DA indicates how likely a domain is to rank based on how authoritative search engines consider it to be based on its backlink profile.
  • What is Page Authority (PA)? +

    PA indicates how likely a page is to rank based on how authoritative search engines consider it to be because of which sites link to it.
  • What are citations and why should my local business have them? +

    Citations are needed for your local business. They are defined as 'mentions' of your business name and address on other webpages. Citations validate that your business is a part of a community. The more local citations you have the more signals they send to Google and tell them that your website is awesome. Building regular local citations to your business website will increase the authority of your website. By building citations to your website, you are telling Google that your business is legitimate because local resources are linking to you.
  • What is a backlink? +

    Backlinks are incoming links from another website that lead to a particular web page or site. Also called inbound links or inward links, these can provide valuable information into how a competitor site has gained its ranking. Analyzing these can help determine opportunities to expand your site's backlinks and improve page ranking.
  • Why do I need backlinks? +

    Just like citations, backlinks are one of the most important signals you can send Google to tell them about your website. Backlinks from high domain authority websites will pass more LinkJuice to your website.
  • Does my website speed matter for SEO? +

    Absolutely. Webpages should load in no slower than 1.5 seconds. Any slower than that, users will become frustrated and leave the website. This is even more so when users are visiting your website with a mobile device.
  • What are meta keywords? +

    Meta Data, while complex, can be understood in simple terms. It is the data that tells search engines what your website is about.
  • What is a meta description? +

    A brief description of content on a website, located underneath a web title/link on the search engine results page.
  • What is Canonicalization and why do I need it? +

    In terms of SEO, canonicalization refers to individual web pages that can be loaded from multiple URLs (https://www.example.com vs. https://example.com). This is a problem because when multiple pages have the same content but different URLs, links that are intended to go to the same page get split up among multiple URLs. Having a canonical tag tells search engines which version of the site url is the correct one.
  • Does font size affect SEO? +

    The short answer: Font size has no effect on SEO. You can offer a page in any font-size ranging from 10 - 14 and it would not make any difference.

    However, your site's readability will impact the user experience. The font-size may affect factors such as click-through rate, time-on-site and so forth. It does not directly affect SEO but could indirectly affect it through the user experience.
  • What does indexability or searchability mean? +

    Paired with a root domain or sub-domain, the [site:] operator returns an estimated count of the number of indexed pages for that domain. Typing [site:example.com] will return with two bits of information: (1) the actual list of pages in the index, and (2) the count of those pages.
  • What are on-page ranking factors? +

    There are multiple on-page ranking factors that may affect your page's SEO. They include Page Title, Header, URL, image alt text, etc. To find the complete list, check out Moz's On-Page Ranking Factors.
  • What are off-page ranking factors? +

    There are hundreds of off-page ranking factors. For a complete list, check out Moz's Search Engine Ranking Factors and Local Search Ranking Factors.
  • What is rel=publisher? +

    The rel=publisher tag has a much broader focus. It ties a Google+ Business Page to an entire website. The publisher tag shows a Google+ page summary in search results for that particular brand. In doing this, Google is recognizing a brand's G+ page as its "official" profile, which it will give preference to in the SERPs.
  • What is a keyword? +

    Keywords are the key words and phrases in your web content that make it possible for people to find your site via search engines. A website that is well optimized for search engines "speaks the same language" as its potential visitor base with keywords for SEO that help connect searchers to your site.
  • What is click through rate (CTR)? +

    A ratio showing how often people who see your ad end up clicking it. CTR can be used to gauge how well your keywords and ads are performing.
  • What is an alt text? +

    Alt text (alternative text) is a word or phrase that can be inserted as an attribute in an image to tell Web site viewers and Google spiders the nature or contents of an image.
  • How does Google determine my site's rankings? +

    There are over 200 factors that Google uses to determine your website's rankings. Some of the major determining factors include: Domain age, Exact Match Domain, Keyword in Title Tags etc. We can give you a complete list if you want.
  • Why isn't my website showing up in Google? +

    There could be multiple reasons. It takes time for your website to show up in Google. There are over 200 factors that contribute to your website's ranking. Search engines might have not indexed your website yet. It can take up to a week or more for Google to find your website. This is because your website is new and doesn't have any inbound links. Ask your web developer to install Google Webmaster Tools to keep track of your website and if it has been recently crawled by GoogleBots.
  • Am I able to change my website's look whenever I want? +

    Every part of your website can be changed to your liking. All you have to do is ask!
  • When will my rankings in Google increase? +

    Depending on the amount of optimization that has been done for your website, you will slowly see an increase in rankings. Our Whitehat SEO tactics takes time, but they are evergreen and follow Google's guidelines.
  • What is Google Local 7 Pack? +

    Google Local 7 Pack is a collection of local search results for a specific term (e.g. "restaurants in Santa Barbara." The search results show the business' name, address, and phone number. It is called a 7 Pack because it used to list 7 locations.
  • What is a Knowledge Graph? +

    The Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base that Google has created to enhance search results with semantic-search information gathered from a wide variety of sources.
  • What is Google's Local Carousel? +

    The Google Local Carousel displays a horizontal strip of images at the top of the search engine results page that slides from left to right. Each of the pictures represent a local business for the term you typed in. Depending on the search term, getting listed in the Local Carousel could help you business substantially.
  • How do press releases help page rank? +

    Press releases contain instructional or useful information in any other form to the person using that particular search engine. If your content is useful, not just a different version of another site's work, the press release will be seen as high quality by search engines.
  • What is keyword stuffing? +

    Keyword stuffing is when a website's content tries to include as many keywords onto a webpage as possible. This is against Google's guidelines and easily discovered by search engine crawlers. Tactics such as this are outdated and do not provide any value for the readers and will decrease your rankings.
  • Why do I need to "target" certain keywords? +

    Targeting certain keywords will help your website rank higher for those terms in Google. When your webpage includes a certain keyword and brings high quality value for your visitors, Google will increase your website's rankings.
  • What is the difference between "Whitehat" "Blackhat" and "Greyhat" SEO? +

    These are different styles of SEO. "Blackhat" tactics are against Google's recommended guidelines and involve spammy tactics. These tactics bring no value to end users and the websites have a high chance of being penalized if found out by Google. "Whitehat" SEO focuses on following Google's guidelines and providing value for website visitors. "Greyhat" tactics are in between. They are not necessarily "blackhat" techniques, but could be penalized if they are discovered.
  • What social media platform is best for my business? +

    The best social media platform depends. on what industry you're in. Facebook allows you to engage with your customers, Google+ is more geared more toward the tech industry and is a good profile to have if your customers can get reviews on it. Twitter is another major platform that allows you to connect with customers.
  • What is an anchor text? +

    The visible, clickable blue text in a hyperlink is an ancho text. Anchor text improves SEO by allowing Google to associate important keywords to your website content.
  • What is a web crawler? +

    Web crawler is an essential part of SEO. Not only is it the first step on the indexation process, but it is a computer program which is used by search engines to browse the web and discover new links and pages. This bot determines how well your website is set up and should be ranked in Google.
  • What is a domain name? +

    A domain is the main web address of your company's site and is short for Domain Name System (DNS). It can also be called your company's personal URL. An example would be our own, www.BrandedInnovation.com. Domain ownership and registration is actually a ranking factor used by Google. Websites with longer registrations usually obtain higher ranking, so it is essential for your domain to be renewed for many years.
  • What is website traffic (referral traffic)? +

    Website traffic is the amount of people who visit your page.
  • What are indexed pages? +

    Indexed pages are the pages of your website that are stored by search engines.
  • What is a ranking factor? +

    Ranking Factors are elements of how search engines, like Google and Bing, determine what rank a website deserves in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). Some ranking factors can be the number of inbound links to a page, contents of a title page, or the amount of backlinks a website consists of.
  • What is the difference between outbound and inbound marketing? +

    Outbound marketing is the traditional way of marketing, and it includes tactics such as cold calls, interruptive ads, and cold emails.
    Inbound marketing is comprised of online marketing tactics including SEO, blogging, and website attraction. Providing quality content is the primary focus, for the purpose of converting visitors into leads, leads into customers, and delighting those customers over time.
  • What is HTML? +

    Hyper text markup language. The code component of your website read by search engines that generates font, text, graphic, and hyperlink effects on web pages.
  • What is a search engine ranking page? +

    The webpage provided after conducting a search, generally comprised of around 10 results per page.
  • What is a bookmark and why is it important? +

    A bookmark is a link to a website saved in your web browser or computer for the purpose of future reference. There are also social bookmarking sites, which enables users to share websites they find interesting. Having your website in social bookmarking sites shows search crawlers that people find the content on your website to be interesting, which can boost your SEO.
  • What is a long tail keyword? +

    Long tail keywords are rather short keyword phrases that are used when searching for a more specific item. They are less commonly searched, but the searchers who land on your website looking for these keywords are more qualified.
  • When link building, is the number or quality of links more important? +

    The more links to your site, the more valuable you seem to search engines, helping your SEO. However, contrary to what many people think, it is more about quality than quantity. Providing a long list of links on your website can actually hurt you if they aren't credible.
  • What are natural editorial links? +

    These are organically given links from sites and pages that want to link to your content or company. These are created at the discretion of other sites, who find your content valuable enough to want to share. These links require no SEO action, instead focus should be on creating unique and attention worthy content and on finding a way to share it.
  • What is Local/Topic Specific Popularity? +

    A link signal that may be used by search engines to measure link value and a site’s link profile. Suggests that links from sites with content that is of a similar topic are more valuable than links that are from off-topic sites. For example if a website offers fitness equipment, a link from a website about fitness and health would matter more than from an unrelated site.

    What is a Link Neighborhood?

    The combined association that a website has with other websites that it is linking to and receiving links from. Search engines look at the aggregate of a site’s neighborhood to help determine spam score and page authority.
  • What is a Natural Link Neighborhood? +

    Link neighborhood in which the majority of sites are from the same topic-specific community. Such a community occurs naturally when sites organically recommend other related sites that have high quality content.
  • Is there more to SEO than creating relevant content and having a crawlable website? +

    Yes! There are a variety of elements that go into SEO- link building, conversion rates, social media, and keywords to name just a few. It is crucial to understand that it is a process. That being said, make sure you're tracking your website's rankings and how it can be continually improved.
  • In the grand scheme of things, is social media really that important? +

    Facebook alone has over 1 billion users, so it's likely that your ideal customers are on at least one social media site. It's also safe to bet your competitors are already on there as well. There are a variety of opportunities that social media can present, including establishing relationships with present and potential customers and increasing website traffic. So yes, social media is very important.
  • What is Hootsuite? +

    Hootsuite is a social media management system that allows you to control all of your social media accounts on one dashboard.
  • What is a clickthrough rate (CTR)? +

    A CTR is the percentage of website visitors that click through from one part of your website to another. It measures how often your audience advances through steps of your marketing campaign.
  • What is mobile optimization? +

    This has become increasingly important in recent years. It means designing your website in a way that makes it easy to navigate and read from a mobile device.
  • What is a landing page? +

    A landing page consists of a form used to collect a visitor's information to convert them into a lead. They must have an incentive to fill out the form, generally coming in the form of an offer, such as an eBook. You provide them with the offer following the form completion.
  • What are Google Adwords? +

    In Google's search engine, Adwords are the cost per click model for text-based advertising- also known as sponsored links.
  • What is a conversion rate? +

    This is the percentage rate that your website converts passive visitors into leads by them having successfully completed a specific desired action.
  • What is alt text? +

    An image description provided in your site's HTML code. Search engines can't read images themselves, they read the alt text. Therefore, it is important to provide an accurate picture description to help your SEO
  • What is an inbound link? +

    A link from one site to another. If you have high-quality links that lead to sites with high Page Ranks, they can improve your SEO.
  • What is Behavioral Targeting (BT)? +

    An area of internet marketing becoming increasingly refined, behavioral targeting looks to put ads in front of people who should be more receptive to the particular message given past Web behavior, including purchases and websites visited. The use of cookies enables online behavioral targeting.
  • What are Analytics? +

    Also known as Web Metrics. Analytics refers to collection of data about a website and its users. Analytics programs typically give performance data on clicks, time, pages viewed, website paths, and a variety of other information. The proper use of Web analytics allows website owners to improve their visitor experience, which often leads to higher ROI for profit-based sites.
  • What is Hummingbird? +

    Google’s new search algorithm, which is renowned for its precision and speed. It is more of a semantic search, where its primary focus is not just the keywords, but rather user intent and the contextual meaning of those keywords. This result is more accurate and personalized results.
  • What is cloaking? +

    This black hat tactic is the act of providing different content to web visitors than search engines. The idea is to get search engines to believe you have the content that the searcher is looking for, when in fact you don't. The penalty can be the site/domain being completely removed from search engine results.
  • What is an algorithm and what does it have to do with SEO? +

    An algorithm is the pattern or program that judges the various components that go into SEO and ranks websites accordingly, delivering searchers with the best results. While the basic principles stay consistent, it is constantly being updated.
  • What is Long Tail SEO and why does it matter? +

    ​Unique “long tail” searches comprise the majority of the world’s searches, so pay attention to what you can optimize on this end. For example, your company is for pressed juice, and a customer may inquire about "weeklong organic fresh juice cleanse." Your website should still be optimized for these types of outlier searches because they are still important.
  • Why is accessibility important for SEO and how is it measured? +

    Accessibility is important because search engine spiders have to crawl your website in order for it to be ranked on the search engine. If the site is not easily accessible, then the spiders will struggle to crawl all of the content, potentially hurting your search engine rankings. This is measured by things such as HTTP status codes, XML Sitemaps, Robots.txt, etc.
  • What is PPC (pay per click)? What can it do for me? +

    PPC is a model of Internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Commonly used with keywords in Google, this is important because it is the only way that Google can accept your ad and publish it.
  • What is Competitive Intelligence? +

    Information and data taken from analytics and monitoring of competitors’ offsite and onsite SEO tactics. Thorough monitoring and analysis of the competition’s strategies can provide valuable insight, allowing you to alter your SEO and social media practices.
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