When we’re building a website we make sure to hit the right notes when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization). Over the years we’ve built up a strong knowledge base on SEO and have had hundreds of questions on the topic. Here are some of our most frequently asked questions and answers.
What is SEO?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is the process of tweaking your website to best suit search engine ranking algorithms and the search intent of web users. In a nutshell, this is making sure that your content lines up with the best practices for Google search and includes the right keywords that users are searching for online.
How long does it take for a website to rank on Google?
Unfortunately, there’s no set time for how long it takes to get your website ranking on Google. This all depends on the age of your website’s domain name, the content on the website, and the keywords you are focusing on.
For new websites, there is a Google sandbox which is effectively there to ensure that new websites aren’t ranking in the top 10 for their chosen keywords. Whilst an annoyance for site owners, this is in place so that only the best and most reputable websites are able to rank in the top 10 positions. The sandbox period is assumed to last between 6-24 months.
For websites that have been around for a while and are being tweaked and optimized, you can expect to see updated ranking positions much quicker, in a matter of weeks and sometimes days. It all depends on the competition in your chosen niche and of course the highly secretive Google ranking algorithm.
How to track how a website performs on Google?
Google Search Console is the most commonly used tool for the job. Here site owners can see an overview of the keywords their website is ranking for, the total clicks on their website for each keyword, average search positions, and click through rates.
Search Console is a free tool and can be used to track only websites you own or have access to. This is verified by adding some HTML code, a file, or a DNS record to your website’s domain. It’s an easy set-up process and unlocks valuable information on how your website performs on search engines.
Can you pay to rank on Google?
The short answer is yes – you can pay to rank on Google via Google Ads. The long answer is sort-of; you cannot pay to be top of the search results themselves but you can bid for advertising space up above and alongside the results. These ads are usually offered on a cost-per-click or cost-per-conversion basis and the highest bidder takes the top spot.
Paid search is a great way to get your website in front of eyeballs quickly, but be warned that if set up incorrectly this can be costly and without results. A good organic search optimization strategy is always the best way to funnel traffic to your website at a low cost.
How do you track website visitors?
Tracking website visitors is such an important task. By doing so you can find the content that is performing well on your site and also content that doesn’t perform so well. This is key when optimizing content and choosing where to focus on your website.
Google Analytics is a free tool used to monitor visitors to your website. The latest version, GA4 is very events-focused and can be used to set up custom tracking for things like button clicks, newsletter sign-ups, and eCommerce purchases.
Should I be using an SEO plugin?
All websites should have some form of SEO plugin or optimization tool installed. An SEO plugin is essential for a website owner’s toolkit and should provide some basic guidance on your on-page SEO, search display, and technical SEO.
For WordPress sites, we always install Yoast SEO as this gives a good balance of tools for setting out how your site displays on search engines alongside tools for writing new content. Other tools like Ahrefs SEO Tools are available but be warned that SEO tools usually come at a cost.
How much content should you write to rank on Google?
The amount of content needed to rank on Google always differs for the chosen topic and keywords. Generally, you should aim for around 300 words as a minimum. It’s worth noting that it’s not a great idea to string out a 250-word piece of content to 1000+ words just to appease Google, this usually does the opposite and will see you sliding down the rankings into the depths of page 10 and beyond.
A good way to gauge how much to write is to check out the competition and see how much they are writing for your chosen keywords. Using your peers as case studies will usually give you a good foundation to build your content around.
Does page speed affect SEO?
As of 2021 page speed is now a ranking signal on Google search. This means that how your website performs will have a direct impact on where you land in the search result pages.
Does posting on social media help SEO?
Surprisingly not – posting on social media won’t have a direct impact on your search engine rankings. It will of course increase brand awareness and potentially website traffic but won’t have an affect on search rankings.
There are many factors to consider when performing SEO for your website. Make sure you get the basics right (meta description, titles, good content) and you’ll be off to a great start.
If you don’t know where to start then consider hiring a professional to help you with an SEO audit or check-up. A fresh pair of eyes on a project is normally a good thing and will deliver results.