Recently I’ve read one of those awfully misguided anti-SEO posts. It linked to another blog post called SEO FAQ. It wasn’t an actual SEO FAQ though. It was just another awfully misguided blog post from a guy I have never heard of before and who only reveled in the attention he got from displaying his ignorance. People got angry as usual in such cases of blatant provocation and disregard.
Sadly the Google algorithm still sometimes prefers those who raise hell instead of those who provide useful resources.
So that completely useless SEO FAQ ranks at #2 for SEO FAQ in Google.com and misleads lots of people looking for answers to most basic SEO questions.
Thus I decided to provide a new SEO FAQ. I want to outrank this fake resource. Also I want you to copy these questions and to provide your own answers on your own blog.
I want to see 10 or more real SEO FAQs to outrank this crap. So feel free to copy the questions I’ve compiled with the help of some SEO practicionares from all over the Web and to provide your own answers. I will link your answers in this post as well. So steal this SEO FAQ: 30+ SEO questions you always wanted an answer to.
Some of the Q&As might sound funny, especially the original tweets they’re based on. We had a lot of fun while collecting the questions and answers.
- What does SEO stand for? The acronym stands for Search Engine Optimization but by now it’s not only about search and engines anymore. See 2.
- What is SEO? To define SEO is not an easy task as it’s changing all the time. In 2010 the SEO definition might sound something like this: Everything done to ensure getting found on the Internet and to make sure that the ensuing traffic converts.
- Is SEO spam, bullshit, dead etc.? Who knows. The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, BBC etc. certainly don’t think so. They practice SEO like most of other website owners. Last time I checked all the people who blame SEO for global warming, the Iraq war, the global economic crisis have optimized their websites according to SEO techniques. By the numbers SEO is booming all the time for several years a in a row.
- Why aren’t we #1 or on page 1 at Google? You haven’t done SEO yet? You have no content? Your site consists mainly of Flash, AJAX or simply graphics? You have asked Jason Calacanis or Derek Powazek for SEO advice? Also you most probably rank for long tail queries already. Question by @rishil and @peteyoung – Answer by @IngoGuava
- Why am I on #1 all the time but when my wife searches for me she doesn’t find me? Maybe you need a divorce? No, just kidding. You probably need to disable personalized search. Otherwise Google will serve you the results you most desire.
- When will we see results? It will take a while depending on what results you expect what for. Some keywords might even take a year or more while others may work after weeks or months. Perform a thorough keyword and market research first to know. Also SEO is basically a continuous process that never stops. Question by @IngoGuava, @tonyboney and @DolphinPromo – Answer by @IngoGuava
- Can we rank for iPhones? Do you sell iPhones? Are you a representative of Apple? Do you sell iPhones globally or just nation-wide? Do you want to spend 50k+$ on SEO monthly? Then maybe yes. Question by @rhyswynne – Answer by @rhyswynne
- Can we rank for everything (huge list of keywords)? If you are Jeff Bezos and your site is Amazon you probably can. In all other cases you have to choose and set preferences. You have to determine your main keywords, a few of them, and go after them. Your main keywords are the most popular and profitable ones. A hotel in London would go after hotel london probably and similar combinations. Question by @maxyRo
- How much does SEO cost? How much does a car cost, or a house? First we need to know what kind of car or house you need then we can try to assess the price. Otherwise we can just say somewhere in between 1k and 1 million dollars per month. Everything below 1k is low quality and/or automated. Question by @seowolf
- Why is SEO so expensive? Why are cars and houses so expensive? Because it takes lots of time, resources and work to build them. Besides SEO makes your website actually earn money while setting up website and designing it by itself does not. So at the end of the day SEO earns more money that it takes. Also remember that SEO is not just like a house or car. It’s more like a shop or a hotel when it comes to the house metaphor and it’s more like a race car when it comes to the car metaphor.
- How long does it take to get indexed by Google? Google needs minutes to weeks depending on your site to index it or new content appearing on it. Without SEO it might even take forever.
- How to submit my new site to Google/Bing/Yahoo etc.? You don’t submit sites to search engines these days. You link to them from already indexed sites, you ping them via blog posts and or you submit an XML sitemap.
- How do I submit to 1000 search engines? Only idiots do. There are only a handful of search engines that you need at all. Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask in the US. Mostly Google in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
- Do I need an XML sitemap? Depending on your site you may or may not need one.
- Do I need meta tags for SEO? No, the meta description tag is good for search users though who might decide whther they click on yours based on the description you offer.
- Do I need a high PageRank for SEO? You need internal Pagerank for your site to get indexed. Toolbar PageRank (the green bar in your Google toolbar) is not a prerequisite.
- What is linkbait? There are at least two common definitions of linkbait (or link bait). One negative and one positive. The negative one says that it’s luring people to link to you for a reason they normally wouldn’t. The positive one explains that linkbait is a highly linkable masterfully crafted peace of content people not only like but also recommend to others by linking.
- Can’t my niece who is a graphic designer do the SEO? She probably can cook as well but you probably would go to a restaurant nonetheless. Designers in most case underestimate the importance of SEO and misunderstand it. They assume that the designer should be decide how a website should be build and when the site is done, they, or rather their clients realize that they’re not even indexed by Google. SEO should be part of website design not just a add on. An open minded designer can provide a good findable site architecture that works for SEO as well. S/he in most cases needs an SEO expert to accomplish that task.
- Can’t my nephew who is a web developer do the SEO? Many old school SEO professionals have started out as web developers. Nonetheless they had to focus on other non-technical SEO techniques. A good web developer can provide roughly one third of the skills you need for SEO. Sadly most web developers are clueless about SEO beyond the most common basics.
- Can my son-in-law who is a Perl, Java and C programmer do my SEO? Programmers often underestimate the difficulty of SEO and attempt to to attain rankings by creating scripts that automatically enhance websites. This is a very risky business as it often crosses the thin line of waht’s allowed by teh search engine guidelines.
- Why should I outsource my SEO? SEO is a full time job for a person or requires a whole team with several skills ranging from web development, content creation to marketing. Unless you have at least one experienced full time SEO inhouse it is strongly advised to seek assistance from a SEO compnay or consultant. Question by @seowolf
- Can’t I just use WordPress plus plugins for SEO? You can but it’s not enough. Nowadays most modern CMS and blog software has built in technical SEO capabilities. To outrank others who use mostly SEO friendly software as well you have to stick out.
- Does Google hate SEO? No, Google even offers SEO advice and a plethora of SEO tools itself. It’s an ages old myth that Google fight SEOs. In fact the Google employees and SEO practitioners speak at the same conferences and work together as business partners. Most SEO companies are big clients of Google as they also buy PPC ads from Google.
- Does SEO mean optimization for search engines spiders not humans? Some people still assume that SEO is used to please search bots only. Most reputable SEO experts advocate search engine optimization for users.
- Is buying links, hidden text, IP delivery etc. black hat SEO? Some techniques considered by many a s SEO are also considered black hat. Still most them can be used ethically as well so only the context can tell you when a particular measure is black or white hat.
- Is black hat SEO legal? The question to ask should rather be whether black hat SEO is recommended. No it is not. Most of it is probably still legal, depending on the technique. It pays only for the few who do it on large scale.
- Does site size matter? Historically it did matter. For a period of time bigger sites by the sheer number of pages seemed to rank batter. By now the pros and cons outweigh each other – so it does not makes sense to inflate the size of a website artificially by adding low quality content.
- Do domain extensions (top level domains like .com, co.uk) matter? Yes they do. Especially when it comes to country based domains like .fr, .de or .es – for local results in respective countries you should use preferably a country domain to get a small advantage. Also many in the SEO industry assume that .edu and .gov domains are trusted more by Google. Google itself has denied that explaining that .edu and .gov domains get more links and thus Google trusts them more. Question by @Ramkarthik
- Do nofollow links count? Indeed it has long been known that Yahoo doesn’t discount nofollow links completely. It also seems that Google makes exceptions as well. Plus remember that the main function of a link is to bring visitors. The search engine “juice ” is just a side-effect so a link is a link no matter the attribute. Question by @amabaie – Answer by @amabaie here.
- Do you offer PageRank optimization, search engine submission, meta tag optimization? You should try some time travel back to the dark past of early SEO. These things are secondary or negligible.
- Is blog commenting for SEO spam? Like in many other cases, it depends dear london real estate! Try changing your name to some real name and add something of value to the conversation and your comment will be very welcome.
- I have a question or answer that is not on this FAQ what can I do? There is a comment section! Add your questions and/or answers there. They might get added to the actual FAQ.
OK, now steal this SEO FAQ and provide your own answers. Make sure not to copy both as in this case this would be a case of duplicate content and most likely lead to at least the copy losing ground in the search results.
Also make sure to read this post by Rishi Lakhani where he answers a lot of questions you might encounter in future.
Update: Thanks everybody for taking part in the SEO FAQ meme and providing your often excellent answers:
- 30+ SEO Questions You Always Wanted an Answer to by buynary (offline by now)
- SEO Questions and Answers Worth Stealing by SEO Web Help
- SEO FAQ by SEOForums.org
- SEO Tips – Your Search Engine Optimization Questions Answered by SubHub
- SEO FAQ by Jeroen van Eck [in Dutch]
- 32 SEO Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and Answers by Shannon Steffen
- SEO FAQ – Answers to your SEO questions by David Leonhardt