This is a compiled set of answers to questions that commonly arise from clients when asking about our SEO services. If you still have a question, please contact us directly.

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  • 1. What is LSI?

    LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. LSI is how search engines crawl and index web content quickly in order to ensure the most recent and relevant results are on display for each search term.

    LSI also means search engine spiders can look for keywords and phrases that are similar, so a piece of high quality content could rank for a number of similar keywords even if they aren’t the targeted keywords of a particular page.

  • 2. What is Page Rank?

    PageRank (PR) is a method used by Google to determine the quality of links pointing at a website, and therefore the perceived importance of such a site online. PR is scored from 0 to 10, with only a very few websites having a PR of 10. Even Facebook and Google have a PR of ‘only’ 9, which should give you an idea of what level your site needs to be at to achieve a 10.

    PR works by transferring ‘link juice’ from one page to another. For example, if you earn a backlink through an article on a high quality website, you’ll boost your own PR and authority as a result. If yours is the only link in the article, you’ll receive the maximum possible benefit, while if there are numerous links, the ‘link juice’ is spread evenly among them.

    You can also build your PR by using internal linking. Although you need to be careful of doing too much ‘exact match’ anchor text linking, you can still grow the relevance of your site in Google’s eyes by using this technique sparingly.

    PR shouldn’t be the only thing you think about when link building or pursuing your SEO goals, and you should also keep in mind that Google will view a long article with only one link as unnatural and low quality.

  • 3. What are "Supplemental" Results?

    Supplemental results are web pages featured in search results that come after the main rankings. Supplemental content allows the search engines to feature as much content as possible, but means that they can still focus on providing browsers with the most relevant, high quality results first.

    Unless you’ve been using doorway pages or have lots of duplicate content on your site that you haven’t highlighted using rel=canonical, it is unlikely that your pages will be placed in the supplemental index. However, as the search engines continue to refine their algorithms further, low quality, low value content is also likely to begin finding itself in supplemental results.

  • 4. What's an "Authority" Site?

    “Authority site” is a term used to describe websites with a specific niche that contain high quality content and that are respected and use as a reliable resource within an industry.An authority site will typically provide thought leadership and be able to gain many organic backlinks through people wanting to link to the featured content. Authority sites are trusted to provide accurate information, give value to browsers, and link out to other authority sites.

    Authority sites, unless they’re news sites, should always centre around one key area, niche, or industry, and be as focused and specific as possible, covering topics from all angles and in-depth.

  • 5. How Does Google Personalize my Results?

    Google personalizes individual search results by using your search history and geographical location. This allows Google to provide you with a set of results that are more relevant to what you’ve searched for and to meet your needs as closely as possible.

    If you’re signed into Google when searching, the data is taken from history stored in your account. If you aren’t signed in, or you turn off search history personalization, Google will still use your location and cookies on your computer to show results it feels are best suited to you.

  • 6. How Often Does Google Update Page Rank?

    In the past, Google has usually updated PageRank (PR) on average every three months. However, the most recent update to PR came in February 2013, leading to speculation that Google are dropping PR from their algorithm, although Google haven’t made any comment.

  • 7. What is a Backlink?

    A backlink is any link that points from one web page to another.

    Prior to the emergence of search engines, backlinks were a primary aspect of web navigation, although they are still widely used today, too.

    The quality of backlinks pointing to a particular website or page helps Google and the other search engines to determine the quality of that site, and is an influential factor in search engine algorithms.

  • 8. Does PR Matter?

    In the past, many webmasters and site owners have looked to pursue PageRank (PR) as the focal point of their SEO activities. While chasing PR alone was never seen as a worthwhile approach, people are now asking whether PR matters at all.

    Part of the reason questions are being asked is because Google haven’t updated PR since February 2013. Irrespective of that, it is debatable whether PR mattered, or matters, anyway. After all, PR only looks at the quality of backlinks that, while an important part of SEO, aren’t the only thing you should be working at achieving.

    While a better PR is obviously a good indicator of site quality, it is something that you can achieve by following an excellent SEO strategy overall, rather than focusing solely on this one thing.

  • 9. What is Anchor Text?

    Anchor text is the text that you click on when navigating the internet via a hyperlink.

    For example, in the sentence, visit boughdigital.com for SEO services, the anchor text is 'boughdigital.com for SEO services.'

    When link building, it is important to use a range of anchor text so that you don't look like you're trying to spam the search engines.

  • 10. What is the "Google Dance"?

    The Google Dance is an old term used to describe how search rankings would fluctuate in Google's early days. Google would rebuild their rankings on a periodic basis, leading to often huge differences in search rankings over time.

    Google started updating its index weekly from 2003, which stopped the Google Dance from happening, although many people have experienced something similar when Google Panda and Google Penguin updates have hit their sites.

  • 11. What is a Site Wide Link?

    A site wide link is a link that appears on every page of a website. Site wide linking had previously been used as a black hat SEO technique in the days when the quantity of links is what mattered most to Google's algorithm. This is because if you had a link to your blog on every page, and you had 100 pages on your site, you'd gain 100 links for your blog. Naturally, it didn't take too long for this technique to be abused.

    However, site wide linking may be necessary on your website, for example if you have a particular policy that you have to make available to everyone. A site wide link is only considered such of the anchor text is always the same. For example, if every page of your website had a column featuring "Clients," and it was the same on each page, these would be site wide links.

    Depending on the context in which they are used, site wide links aren't always seen as a bad thing, such as in the example given above. However, if you have a site wide link pointing out to one site, and that same site has a site wide link pointing at your site, it is likely to be seen as a link exchange. When choosing a hosting company or working with a web designer, be wary of them putting site wide links onto your pages that point to their own website, as this can damage you as much as it does them.

  • 12. What is Three-Way Linking?

    Three-way linking, or a three-way link exchange, is the process of linking three sites together for the process of boosting the search engines of one, two, or all three.

    In three-way linking, site A would link to site B, which would link to site C, which would then link back to site A, completing the cycle.

    While some SEO agencies and webmasters believe three-way linking is a better way to build links than by reciprocal link building, it is ultimately still a technique that Google will see as being used to manipulate the search results. Some website owners even go so far as to buy multiple domains and then create link exchanges between all of their sites in order to try and boost their search visibility.

  • 13. What is a One-Way Link?

    The answer to this one is in the question.

    It is simply a link pointing from one page or website to another, which doesn't have a reciprocal link pointing back, or is subject to three-way linking.

    For example, if you own site A and you write a piece of content with a link to site B, that is a one-way link.

  • 14. Are Reciprocal Links Bad?

    Back in the dark days of SEO, webmasters and SEO agencies would use reciprocal links to boost their search rankings. They could do this without any fear of their rankings suffering, because the quantity of links is what mattered the most.

    However, such link schemes and agreements were quickly and openly abused in order to manipulate search results.

    That's not to say that all reciprocal links are bad. For example, if there are two authority websites in the same industry, it is likely that there will be some natural linking between the two. Natural linking is the key point here; it's easy for Google to tell the difference between reciprocal links where sites are linking to each others' high quality content, and those which are blatantly part of a scheme to try and manipulate search results.

  • 15. Can Paid Links Harm my Ranking?

    Yes, paid links can have a devastating effect on your search rankings, especially if you have been buying links in 'bad neighbourhoods.'

    If your site has a number of paid backlinks and you haven't already been penalized, then you should request their removal or have them 'nofollowed,' as a Google warning and penalty is likely to be just around the corner.

    Remember that paid links refer to links on websites and aren't associated with PPC, which is still a digital marketing method you should use if it fits your strategy.

  • 16. What is a do-follow/no-follow link?

    If you want to show search engine spiders that you're building links for traffic and not to manipulate the search results, you can use the "nofollow" tag within your links.

    There are two types of "nofollow," a meta tag which tells search spiders not to follow any links on a page:

    And the link tag that tells search spiders not to count the link within search algorithms:

    Your link portfolio should feature a range of "dofollow" and "nofollow" links. Be aware that for a link to be "dofollow," you don't need to do anything, as all links are automatically "dofollow" when you insert them into text.

  • There are several automated SEO tools that you can use to help you achieve your objectives. However, given the time and effort you'd need to put into setting these tools up to work for you and double checking what such tools produce, they are often not worth using. A holistic, people led SEO approach is always the best way to make an impact in search.

    Here are some examples of the types of SEO automation tools that are available.

    • SEO tools that edit and structure your content to make your posts better optimised. The problem with these is that they're still stuck in a world of "optimising for search engines" instead of optimising for human readers.
    • Automated keyword tools.
    • Tools for automatic submission or updating of content, including to directories, or those that update your social media account, like Hootsuite.
    • Link building tools, including those that create link wheels and post blog comments, although these will often be on very low quality, not to mention irrelevant, sites.
    • Article spinning tools, autoblog software, and article or RSS scrapers.
    • Tools for pinging your content.
  • 38. I Bought a Packet of "High PR Links" but all my Links are PR0, What Happened?

    This is a common problem with backlink packets.

    What happens is that you're directed to a "high PR" site on the knowledge that you can build links from there.

    You haven't been conned (too much). The site, in all likelihood, really is a high PR site. However, the page, profile, or blog that you only recently set up is going to have a PR of 0, because it is new, has no authority, and no backlinks pointing to it.

    Therefore, you've just paid potentially hundreds of pounds/dollars for little to no SEO benefit!

  • 39. What is a Backlink Packet?

    This is a list of links that you can buy if you're looking to save time with link building. Note that buying a backlink packet doesn't mean links are being built for you, it simply tells you, and often shows you with screenshots and other visuals, places where you can build high quality links, which are usually free of charge.

    Although purchasing a backlink packet can be beneficial and help you to gain some links, it is surely only a matter of time before Google start to devalue links from such sites, if they're not already doing do. You also need to consider that links within a packet might not have any relevance to your own, and as such you stand a higher chance of being labelled a spammer and receiving a Google penalty.

    On balance, it is best to stick to other methods of earning high quality backlinks before using a backlink packet.

  • 40. Can Anyone Guarantee a 1st Place Ranking?

    No, they can't, and if you find anyone that says they can while you're searching for an SEO agency, then we recommend you run a mile and don't even think about using them, no matter how tempting it might be to do so.

    There are too many variables involved with SEO to be able to guarantee a number one ranking. In fact, it is impossible to guarantee anything when it comes to SEO, because success is largely based on the performance of your competitors as much as anything else. If a competitor has a larger budget, then that is in their favour when it comes to SEO.

    SEO agencies who claim to guarantee first place rankings are usually black hat practitioners, who might catapult your site to the top of the search rankings quickly before Google realises what's happening and penalises you heavily.

  • 41. Who is Matt Cutts?

    Matt Cutts is the Head of the Webspam team at Google.

    He is a well-known figure in the search community, regularly posting video blogs and answers to questions through Google's Webmaster Help YouTube account, which are subsequently posted on Search Engine Land and other industry websites.

    While many find his advice helpful, there is a lot of cynicism surrounding Cutts, given his senior position at Google, and he has also been known for throwing out a number of "red herrings" in the past which have led webmasters and SEO agencies to do things that might not have any SEO benefit at all.

  • 42. Why Doesn't Google Tell me how many links I have?

    Many suspect that the real reason is simply because Google doesn't want you to know. Of course, you can use Google Webmaster Tools to look at a diverse cross section of your links and where they're coming from, but it is unlikely that Google will ever cede and tell webmasters exactly how many links their website has.

    Google also claimed some years ago that they don't have the resources available to list and share this information which, given that they obviously have it for generating search results, seems a little odd.

  • 43. What is the Official Google/Yahoo/Bing Policy on SEO?

    There aren't any strictly defined policies on SEO, but all search providers to supply webmasters with resources to help them build and maintain the best website possible.

    The policy of Google, Yahoo, and Bing is that they are businesses who want to grow their market share by establishing a reputation for delivering the best and most relevant search results to their customers (internet users) in the form of high quality content. As a result, the resources they provide all point you towards creating as user-friendly a website as possible.

    Search providers aren't stupid, and they know that SEO happens. However, they're tolerant of a variety of SEO practices, including link building, and will usually only take action against sites when they fall below certain quality standards or they are making blatant efforts to manipulate the search algorithms.

  • 44. What are Long Tail Keywords?

    Long-tail keywords are a type of keyword phrase that is entered into a search engine and normally the search query consists of over three keywords (but sometimes over five). The idea of long-tail keywords Is to target users who are looking for a very specific query, and you can target their needs much more closely. For example, “seo accountancy form in Long Eaton, Nottingham” can be classified as a long-tail keyword phrase as the searcher is looking for very specific information.

  • 45. What is the "True" Competition for a Keyword?

    90% of search engine users pick a result from the first page of the results, so it is said that the true competition for a keyword are the sites that appear in positions 1 - 10 for that particular keyword or phrase.

    To determine the true competition for your keywords, do a Google search of them and see where you rank in comparison to the top 10 results. If you're already there, then great. If not, you need to start looking at how they have attained that position. How often do they post content? How socially active are they? How much content is on their website? How many backlinks do they have?

    Answering these questions will give you an idea of what you need to do to hit page one and tell you the true competition of all your keywords. Carrying out this piece of work will also help you identify less competitive yet still relevant keywords that you might want to target instead for a quicker route to page one.

  • 46. How Long Does it Take to get Indexed by Google?

    To get your website indexed in Google can take minutes or even a few weeks depending on the methods that you utilise. I’ve just had a new client to Bough Digital who had been using another SEO supplier and within three months they were still not indexed in Google. Apparently, the previous SEO supplier was stating that this was normal behaviour as it was a new website. Was this information correct? No.

    As with most things, the quality of work that you put into the process will maximise your returns. In the above example, the previous SEO supplier had not created a sitemap.xml file, was blocking the whole website in robots.txt file, and they had not achieved one external link pointing to the new domain. Therefore, there are methods that are well documented by Google to increase the speed of indexing, however, ultimately it is down to the mighty Google on how quickly this process will take. Theoretically with a high-quality SEO company it should not take longer than 24 hours.

  • 47. Why is SEO so expensive?

    Why are cars, houses, TV’s, and even PPC campaigns so expensive? The simple answer is that all of these examples have a value attached to them; houses are there for living which has a higher value than a car (which is only used for travel). In the same regard, SEO is expensive because the value attached to this technique is extremely high; SEO has been the most effective marketing technique for the last ten years and will continue for the next ten years.

    Other reasons are that quality SEO takes a lot of time and resources to succeed. Unlike other marketing techniques which have a one-off activity, SEO is a continual process to generate sales and revenue for a company. Once again, you can find cheap SEO solutions for $200 a month that promise 5,000 links; but remember SEO is not about quantity, it is about quality, and finding a quality SEO supplier is a process that needs to be researched properly. Or, you can just enter your details in the contact form to the right, and come aboard with Bough Digital.

  • 48. How much does SEO cost?

    How long is a piece of string? I could leave it there, but I will try to justify my answer. Again, there are many factors that will influence the prospective SEO cost for websites; ranging from:

    The current state of your website, and its authority?
    What industry sector and keywords you are competing for?
    How powerful/ authoritative are your competitors?
    What is the duration of your SEO campaign i.e. when do you want to see results?
    How much are your competitors spending?
    What are the commercials of your website?
    Based on these factors above, an SEO campaign can be anywhere between $1,000 and $1 million per month. For instance, the keyword ‘poker’ is probably worth in excess of $1 million per day to the website in position 1, so spending over a million dollars per month is a cost worth spending. However, for a local SEO campaign i.e. a local restaurant, a campaign could be as little as $750 - $1K per month. One word on note is that companies that offer SEO services for under $750 are probably very low quality, and run automated software that will undoubtedly get you penalised at some point. SEO is definitely a marketing technique where quality is imperative.

  • 49. Can my Website Rank for Every Keyword?

    As a business owner myself, I understand the requirement to try and rank for as many keywords as possible, as this is one source of commercialisation. However, it is normally unrealistic to assume that you can compete for every keyword that your website is targeting. Especially with the recent Google Penguin updates, Google are making it a lot harder to rank for a large number of keywords. Having said that though, if you carry out exceptional SEO there is no reason why you shouldn’t rank for a large proportion of your targeted keywords.

    The optimum strategy for any website it to prioritise their keyword selections based on competitive factors, your current website, conversion rate of those keywords, and the commercialisation applicable to each of those keywords. Once you have achieved your initial set of keywords, it is wise to maintain the ranking positions whilst progressing to targeting additional keywords. As always, SEO is a long-term approach that if carried out properly is the most effective marketing strategy.

  • 50. When Will I See Results From Search Engine Optimisation?

    Search Engine Optimisation is classified as a long-term marketing activity, as it possesses a huge amount of work to be implemented correctly; stages such as a technical audit, keyword research, and then on-going external link development. However, there are a number of variables that can influence the time it takes to start seeing search engine rankings, and these are:

    • The current state of your website, and its authority?
    • What industry sector and keywords you are competing for?
    • How powerful/ authoritative are your competitors?
    • Your budget

    For example, to compete for the search term ‘poker’ will take a lot longer to compete for, and a huge budget due to its commercial value and keyword popularity. Whereas some long-tail keywords such as ‘dentist in Derby’ should be a lot easier, cheaper, and quicker to rank for as the keyword is less competitive. Search Engine Optimisation should always be seen as a continuous process though, and gradual improvements will generate long-term profits rather than short-term gains.

  • 51. When I look at Google, my website is in position one. However, when my friends and family look on Google we have dropped to the second page. Why is this?

    This is completely normal, and is part of the Google’s Personalised Search. Google are continuously looking at new techniques to deliver the best user experience for each individual whilst using their search engine. So, in late 2004, Google introduced this feature to their product. Ultimately, Personalised Search is a product that looks to serve you the results that they believe are more attractive to you as an individual user (based on historical data, and previous website visits).

    To gain the results that are shown to the majority of users, you will need to disable personalised search. Depending on the browser you are using will depend on how you can disable this feature. For example, in Google Chrome, you can also search Google by using the Incognito search function.

  • 52. My Website Has Been Up and Running for Four Months, Why aren’t we on the First Page of Google?

    There are many different reasons why your website may not be currently ranked within Google search results. Google have a very sophisticated algorithm that is comprised of over 500 different elements/ variables, so there is huge scope to identify what is right or wrong with your website. This is the job of a high-quality inbound marketing or search engine optimiser, as they have the experience to test a number of hypotheses into why your website is not ranking well.

    Some generic reasons why your site might not be ranking is a lack of search engine optimisation, you have no content, your website is 100% flash-orientated, lack of marketing ability, no external links to your website, or your website might not even be indexed yet.

  • 53. What is SEO?

    Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a digital marketing technique that improves the visibility of your website in search engines in order to generate a greater volume of relevant web traffic. Statistically, SEO is the most cost-effective marketing technique as it provides the highest return on investment (ROI) by targeting the organic results from search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

    With over 16bn monthly web searches, search engine optimisation is undoubtedly the most significant digital marketing strategy that will achieve a website's targets. Therefore, it is imperative for companies (regardless of size or industry sector) to learn and understand what search engine optimisation can do for their business.

  • 54. What Does SEO Stand For?

    SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’. SEO is a digital marketing technique that looks to optimise websites to appear higher in search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. SEO is perceived to be the most cost-effective digital marketing technique as it offers long-term value and return on investment (ROI) for companies.

  • 55. What is a Community Manager?

    In the context of digital marketing, a community manager is a person within a business assigned to interact and engage with the business' audience across social media platforms, including the company's blog and any forums they may manage through their own site.

    The purpose of the community manager is to be the human face and contact point of the business online, so that there is always someone present to deal with customer enquiries, complaints, and just to generally engage with followers online.

  • 56. Should I Tell Someone That I've Linked to Them?


    Modern digital marketing is all about relationship building, and one of the easiest and quickest ways to build your online network and develop relationships is to reach out to people when you link to them from your own site.

    Whenever you cite a website, person, or a particular piece of work, reach out to the source, tell them you've linked to them, thank them for creating such a great piece of valuable content, and ask them to check out the post you've linked to them in.

    This is a great opportunity for you to start developing relationships and letting people know that you appreciate what they're doing. The people you reach out to will become the first to link to you whenever they are creating a relevant piece of content, and before you know it your SEO and overall digital marketing campaign will be going from strength to strength.

  • 57. How can I Measure my Digital Marketing Success Offline?

    While digital marketing is predominantly aimed at helping your business make more money online, you can certainly use your online presence to drive offline business, as covered in this tutorial specifically in relation to social media.

    There are a number of ways to measure the success of your digital marketing efforts if you're interacting with customers offline, including:

    Asking your customers at the time of sale or during first contact how they discovered your company.
    Capturing data through your website, using enquiry or sign-up forms, and then monitoring whether these customers convert online or offline.
    Using specific promotional offers that you advertise online but that require an offline conversion to redeem.
    If there is no means of converting through your website, still ensure you use Google Analytics data to measure traffic, and analyse how this correlates to revenues and profits.
    Remember that the path from online awareness to offline conversion might not always be a direct one. For example, if your website aims to get people to phone you, the phone call is the measure of your digital marketing success. If the phone calls then aren't converting, this is another area you should then be looking at.

  • 58. Why Does Google Hate my Site?

    This is a rather broad question, and there are too many hypotheses to mention in this answer as Google has over 250 variables that it considers in its algorithm. However, there are a number of high-quality SEO companies/ agencies, free resources, Google’s own SEO guide, and free tools such as Google Webmaster Tools and Woorank that can help and support you in your quest to solve this problem.

    The one thing to remember is that Google has not manually penalised your website, as it is solely based on one single highly complex algorithm to determine search engine rankings. Some things to consider are:

    Have you carried out any SEO work on your website?
    Have you signed up to Google Webmaster Tools for guidance?
    Have you researched blogs, and websites for helpful information?
    Have you carried out any unethical practices to your website?
    Does your website have high-quality unique content?
    Is the user experience on your website good?
    These are some broad questions that might help you solve the problem, however, it is probably advisable to hire a SEO agency as they are specialists in implementing strategies to make sure that Google loves you in the short, medium, and long-term.

  • 59. What is an XML Sitemap?

    A .xml sitemap is simply a list of URLs that is designed for spiders to identify all pages attributed to the particular website. The sitemap generally facilitates the search engine bots to locate URLs in order to index them within their search results. However, it is known that Google does prefer to locate the URL’s independently of the sitemap to improve the knowledge of that page in terms of relevancy, and link power.

    These .xml sitemaps are the modernised version, moving forward from the traditional html sitemap. The new .xml sitemap protocol was introduced by Google as companies were adding more content and complexity to their sites, so a one-design protocol has made the crawling process easier to handle and understand.

    Below you can find a small sub-section of the Bough SEO sitemap, which provides an idea of what a .xml sitemap looks like visually:







  • 60. I have just bought a social bookmarking website; can I use this to improve my external linking, overall website traffic and use the thousands of registered users on the website?

    There are a number of things to discuss within this question. Some of these include: Is the social bookmarking website creditable? What are the current traffic levels of the website? What is the process for sign-ups?

    In my opinion though, I would be very sceptical in purchasing a social bookmarking website, as the quality of the website, users, and links achieved from this website would be extremely low (in some cases useless). This opinion can be supported by the recent algorithm updates by Google and other search engines, which clearly state that social bookmarking websites are low-quality.

    Within having completed the research, my thoughts would be that the email list that you have gained is completely worthless. This is because a number of “black hat” SEO companies currently use fake email accounts to sign-up for social bookmarking websites in order to get an external backlink for their clients; the process is create a fake account, upload a large number of external links/ bookmarks, account gets banned, set-up another fake email account. In all honesty, the email list is probably about 99% fake accounts (unless the social bookmarking website is a creditable one).

    Short cuts are not the best technique within SEO. It should be avoided at all costs.

  • 61. How do I Submit my new site to Search Engines?

    There are many methods that you can submit your website to search engines. These include manually inputting each URL via Google Webmaster Tools, setting up an account in Webmaster Tools and submitting a sitemap, or just gaining some external links to your website from already indexed websites.

    These are primarily the tasks of your web developer or SEO company to ensure that your website is well indexed within all of the search engines.

  • 62. How do I submit my website to thousands of search engines?

    Unfortunately this is an all too frequent question that is asked around the SEO community online, based on some bad practices and wrong advice offered by black-hat/ unethical SEO companies. To begin with, if a prospective SEO supplier ever offers this within their package or even mentions this type of activity, my advice would be to stay clear (as they do not know what they are talking about).

    Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo prefer to locate each individual URL by themselves so that they can crawl the HTML coding in order to contextualise and rank the page in search results. The three mentioned search engines also hold such a dominant market share that other search engines are relatively dormant. For example in the UK, Google operates 92% of all search queries which therefore highlights the importance of optimising your website and getting indexed on Google. Instead of wasting your time, money, energy and resources on getting indexed on 1,000 search engines, you should look to prioritise your activities to achieve success at the prominent players in the market; Google, Yahoo, and Bing.

  • 63. Do I need meta tags for SEO?

    Meta-tags are traditionally the tags at the top of HTML and refers to the three main categories:

    Page Title
    Meta Description
    Meta Keyword
    Traditionally (circa. 2005), these meta-tags were important to search engines in how they used to rank websites. However, as the search engines have increased in sophistication over the years, the meta-tags (description and keywords) are dormant in terms of affecting the ranking positions, as search engines have realised that SEO’s used to manipulate these tags to gain higher prominence in search engines.

    Therefore, my advice is to ignore meta-keywords and to create a meta-description only to attract further click-throughs via the search results pages- as the meta description is the snippet shown within these pages. So, implement the meta-description for users rather than search engines.

    For more advanced SEO, there is now an advanced feature of meta-tags called either ‘Rich Snippets’, ‘Microformats’, or ‘Schema’ that looks to provide search engines with advanced coding in order to help them understand the page further. Examples of rich snippets for a food recipe page can be:

    Ingredients of the dish
    Preparation Time
    Cooking Time
    Cooking Method
    Cuisine Type- Indian, Chinese, Mexican

  • 64. What is linkbait?

    Link bait is a term used to explain ‘something’ (normally a piece of content) that is of exceptional quality and is primarily used as ‘bait’ for gain some external links to a specific website. Some examples of link bait can be free products, quality content such as an infographic, discounts, or something similar in nature.

    Link bait can come in two forms; positive and negative. Positive link bait is what is labelled above where users like and therefore are willing to link to your content, whereas negative link bait is a black-hat tactic to lure people to link to you for unnatural reasons.

  • 65. Does Using Google Authorship for Different Niches Dilute my Authority?

    Google Authorship is one of the most relatively recent exciting new developments in the world of SEO and digital marketing, and is used for a variety of reasons.

    One of the main reasons is that it helps individual authors to establish themselves as authority figures in a certain niche. However, some authors, such as bloggers, might be authors for a number of websites across a variety of niches.

    Authors should think carefully about where they link to with their Google Authorship if they're trying to develop their authority in a particular niche, as appearing as an author across a number of sites can have a detrimental influence on their authority. In addition, Google+ members are less likely to follow a person who is not a specialist, which in turn will lead to lower numbers in search where Google display how many circles an author has been added to, which subsequently will influence the clicks their content gets.

    If you have used Google Authorship to link to a collection of websites in the same niche sector, however, you'll look much more like a specialist and find it much easier to build your authority and standing in your niche. The difference between a sector specialist and a great writer that writes across various subjects is stark, and the reality is that people are unlikely to worry too much about how great your writing is; they simply want to read the most authoritative content.

    If you can help it, only use your Google+ profile to link to websites in your specialist niche sector.

  • 66. Can my graphic designer do the SEO?

    Your graphic designer can probably cook, drive, and write; however you would not go to them if you wanted a restaurant meal, a track-day on a race track, or to write a book. The same applies to the SEO element of your website, as completely different skill sets are required for each specific role. Whereas a graphic designer might know a bit about the basic requirements of SEO, they most certainly will not be in a position to implement a full SEO campaign for your website. Generally speaking I have met a large number of designers that misunderstand SEO and don’t really appreciate the importance of the activities and/ or keep up-to-date with the industry.

    My advice would be to seek professional SEO advice, as the building of a specialist team is always going to be more successful than a ‘jack of all trades’. I have always recommended that all websites looking for SEO should seek out a minimum of 3 to 4 alternatives before deciding who to handle the SEO for their company; one of these options could be your graphic designer. In building your team, it is also advised to get your SEO team/ representative to communicate with your graphic or website designer to ensure that SEO is implemented correctly. Graphic designers generally see SEO as an add-on, and it should definitely not be perceived as that.

  • 67. Is Social Media Really Important?

    You bet it is!

    While there is many a business owner out there that believes social media isn't going to deliver any success or value for them, the reality is that most of the time they haven't given these platforms a chance.

    However, various studies and pieces of research provide a huge body of evidence that point to the great value of social media within SEO and as a digital marketing strategy in general. Our favourites are the 2013 Moz Ranking Factors Survey and a great infographic from the free Metro newspaper, which you can see here.

  • 68. Can my website developer do the SEO?

    The same question has been asked in accordance to a graphic designer, and the same answer applies really. The majority of website developers will obviously know how to code a website, and will understand the general practices required for search engine optimisation to be successful i.e. page titles, header tags etc. However, depending on your preferences and requirements will depend on whether to employ a professional SEO company to undergo your website marketing. As I have mentioned many times, there is no point having the best built website in the world if no one ever visits the website.

    It is all too common nowadays that website owners get a site developed by a respectable website development company, who add-on SEO services. However, in the majority of cases web developers are clueless about SEO beyond the most common basics; so if you are looking for just the basic requirements and limited success then getting your website developer to handle the SEO is a logical step. However if you are serious about improving your website, then you are better going with a SEO specialist to deliver your campaigns.

  • 69. Should I Listen to Everything Matt Cutts Says?

    That's a very good question, because if you head over to Search Engine Land, Search Engine Roundtable, or another industry resource, and check out the posts related to Matt Cutts' video blog answers, below the line you'll see an array of opions, from those who hang on Cutts' every words to those who frankly say some not very nice things about him!

    The reality is that you should listen to what Cutts says. After all, he is the Head of the Webspam team at Google, so what he says does carry an awful lot of weight, and much of the time he will refer directly to the Google Webmaster Guidelines, which we all have to follow if we want our websites to succeed.

    However, experienced Cutts and Google watchers will know that he often throws in a curveball or a red herring, perhaps leading you down a path away from what could make your site successful, or leaving his answers open to interpretation.

    Overall, Cutts is a good resource, but perhaps not one you should look to for "chapter and verse" on SEO. Most of those who dislike him tend to do so becuase he doesn't give away all the answers, or because they have followed what he says yet have seen no improvement in terms of SEO.

  • 70. Why Should I Outsource my SEO?

    The answer to this question really depends on the type of website that you are operating, the potential of SEO traffic, and how the users are finding your website. If you perceive that your website is to be SEO-led in terms of the traffic source, then outsourcing your SEO is a hugely logical step. Search engine optimisation is a full-time job, and depending on the size of your company can require a complete team to manage your SEO campaign.

    Some of the main reasons to outsource your SEO is the following:

    An SEO agency will be a specialist in this field.
    The outsourced company will have a large amount of data available on a number of different clients, so understand what succeeds and fails, based on previous and existing clients.
    The agency will have processes in place already.
    It is cost-effective. Without outsourcing, SEO could be expensive as purchasing the high-quality SEO tools is an outlay of $300 - $400 per month.
    The SEO agency has spent money on technology such as crawling, SEO tools, reporting, database creation etc. Therefore, you will get added value based on these valuable and expensive tools.
    Ultimately though it will depend on your specific circumstances and preferences in whether to outsource your SEO services or keep it in-house. As an agency, I think it is always advisable to have an agency associated with your website whether it is as just a consultant or the full service.

  • 71. Can SEO Hurt my Website?

    That all depends on the type of SEO you do and the reason you're embarking on an SEO program.

    If your SEO plan is to try and make your website "better for the search engines," to follow an old-school way of thinking, then in all likelihood you will hurt your website as you won't be adding anything, and perhaps even devaluing your site, in the eyes of a real life user.

    The flip side of that is if you're using an SEO strategy to make your website brilliant for website visitors, it is unlikely that this SEO will hurt your website, although how much it benefits your site will depend on a number of different factors, including what your competitors are doing and the quality of the design, development, and content in respect of your website.

  • 72. Does Google Hate SEO?

    Google has predominantly built a search engine as its core product offering for the last couple of decades. Their job is ensure that their users get the best customer service when using their product to maintain the user-base and customer retention. In order to implement this strategy, Google is continually evolving whether it is implementing a new algorithm or designing a new interface.

    Google specifically offers advice and a large number of tools for SEO’s in order to help and support individual webmasters to rank their website. Therefore, I would not specifically say that Google hates SEO’s. In fact, Google employees such as Matt Cutts and SEO figureheads like Danny Sullivan are often seen together at conferences to discuss SEO processes. However, it is Google’s job to provide the most relevant results for a given keyword search query, so they are continually fighting to stop SEO’s from manipulating their search engine results by updating their algorithms.

  • 73. Why Does Google Hate my Site?

    This is a rather broad question, and there are too many hypotheses to mention in this answer as Google has over 250 variables that it considers in its algorithm. However, there are a number of high-quality SEO companies/ agencies, free resources, Google’s own SEO guide, and free tools such as Google Webmaster Tools and Woorank that can help and support you in your quest to solve this problem.

    The one thing to remember is that Google has not manually penalised your website, as it is solely based on one single highly complex algorithm to determine search engine rankings. Some things to consider are:

    • Have you carried out any SEO work on your website?
    • Have you signed up to Google Webmaster Tools for guidance?
    • Have you researched blogs, and websites for helpful information?
    • Have you carried out any unethical practices to your website?
    • Does your website have high-quality unique content?
    • Is the user experience on your website good?

    These are some broad questions that might help you solve the problem, however, it is probably advisable to hire a SEO agency as they are specialists in implementing strategies to make sure that Google loves you in the short, medium, and long-term.

  • 74. Is SEO Meant to Optimise for Search Engines or Users?

    Matt Cutts, the Head of Web Spam at Google, has constantly provided communication stating that webmasters should always optimise their website for users and not search engines. In the last two years Google have enforced this philosophy stronger than ever with the deployment of major algorithmic updates such as Google Panda and Penguin. These updates have been to protect their search results from being manipulated and to eradicate spam and low-quality content from appearing in search results. Google have, and will continue to improve their search engine by putting more emphasis on social factors, user behaviour, and sharing rather than the actual HTML coding (which can be manipulated easier).

    Here at Bough Digital, we see SEO as a holistic approach to digital marketing whereby it includes many different functions and departments such as content, website development, user-behaviour, partnerships and much more. Therefore, moving forward it is definitely advisable to optimise your website for users primarily but with a strong emphasis towards search engines.

  • 75. Is Buying Links Black Hat SEO?

    Black hat SEO is defined as techniques that are unethical in order to manipulate the search engine rankings. So, is buying links unethical and black hat? Well, this has been a hotly debated subject for over a decade now and will continue well into the next decade as well. There are different types of paid links available today. For example, is writing a ‘guest blog’ and publishing it on another website consider to be a paid link (as you’ve paid the writer to write the blog)?

    Therefore, it is a rather hazy subject area and defining what is black and white hat is probably down to the individual’s perspective and the context in which it is being used. My advice would be to tread very carefully when blatantly purchasing links as this practice is unethical and (hopefully) search engines will find the culprits and penalise them. The best quality SEO campaigns are the ones that look for ethical practices that will generate a return on investment in the long-term, rather than looking to slightly unethical shortcuts.

  • 76. Is Black Hat SEO Legal?

    The simple answer is that the majority of black hat SEO is not illegal. Techniques such as cloaking, keyword stuffing, and buying links are not illegal and never will be. However, other types of more extreme black hat tactics such as illegal scraping of content and hacking can be classified as illegal activity. Whether it is or isn’t illegal, black hat SEO is not a recommended strategy as it is unethical and will have detrimental effects on your long-term growth prospects.

  • 77. Do Top-Level Domain Extensions (like .com, co.uk) Matter?

    Yes, these top-level domain (TLD’s) extensions do matter in relation to SEO, but also have a significant impact on user behaviour. This is particularly true when discussing specific country-based domains like .fr, .de, .nz, and .es as implementing these provide you with a small advantage in the search engine results pages. Therefore it is good practice to implement these top-level domains for the country in question. In addition, there is also the advantage of specifically targeting your domain to the country through a feature in Google Webmaster Tools.

  • 78. Do Nofollow Links Count?

    The concept of links was introduced to allow webmasters control of the ‘link juice’ that flows throughout the website and to other external websites. Nofollow links are generally used when the website does not want to pass the link juice to the link’s recipient i.e. if Bough Digital linked to google.com we could place a nofollow attribute to that link so that the authority from the Bough Digital URL does not pass on to Google. This should be carried out for affiliate links, and other types of advertising to ensure that the black-hat method of link-buying is maintained ethically.

    It has been widely acknowledged that Google uses this attribute in the majority of cases, however there are still known cases where Google treats the link as a followed link by assigning the link’s value to the recipient. This is also the case with Yahoo.

  • 79. Is Blog Commenting for SEO Perceived as Spam?

    Blog commenting is a SEO technique that is utilised by many low-quality SEO companies that offer prospective clients ‘quantity’ rather than ‘quality’ external links. The process of going to a blog, writing an irrelevant comment and inserting your ‘keywords’ as your name is definitely perceived to be spam and it is not a recommended strategy to undertake.

    However, if you go to a blog, add a meaningful comment, and leave your name as your ‘real name’ or ‘company name’ can be classified as a legitimate external linking exercise (at a push). However, the effectiveness of blog commenting has never been proved, and my personal opinion is that it is a low-quality exercise that was utilised about 5-6 years ago. Again, if your agency or in-house SEO team recommend this activity, tread carefully.

  • 80. How do Backlinks Affect my Rankings?

    It depends on what type of backlink it is.

    If the backlink is from a high authority website and is relevant to your own, then they can make a massive positive difference and really increase your search engine exposure.

    In contrast, if the backlink is from low quality website, or from a spam blog comment, for example, then your website could fall down the rankings, be subject to a Google penalty, or even be removed from Google's index completely. Thankfully, if you do have a spammer building lots of low quality links, or you've built them yourself in the past, you should have the opportunity to deal with them before Google takes action

  • 81. How do Backlinks Affect my Rankings?

    It depends on what type of backlink it is.

    If the backlink is from a high authority website and is relevant to your own, then they can make a massive positive difference and really increase your search engine exposure.

    In contrast, if the backlink is from low quality website, or from a spam blog comment, for example, then your website could fall down the rankings, be subject to a Google penalty, or even be removed from Google's index completely. Thankfully, if you do have a spammer building lots of low quality links, or you've built them yourself in the past, you should have the opportunity to deal with them before Google takes action.

  • 82. What is the Best Way to Determine my Online Marketing Budget?

    The first thing to do is investigate what you're going to get out of what you spend.

    Is your site well optimised in terms of keywords already, so all you need to do is hire a blogger to provide a steady stream of content for your blog or resources section?
    Do you need to develop your social media presence?
    Is your website not performing at all and you need the help of a digital marketing agency to help you revamp your online presence?
    Consider what you need, and then think about what is realistic from an expenditure point of view for your business. If you manage to find a great digital marketing partner, you will see your investment repaid many times over. Keep in mind that cheap digital marketing solutions will usually have a catch, which is often that black hat SEO practices are being used.

    In terms of how much of your business revenues/cash at bank you should be spending, look at what you can afford to commit to digital marketing without putting other areas of your business at risk and taking too much cash flow out of the company, all the while considering the potential returns.

  • 83. What are the Best Ways to Optimise my Site?

    The best way to optimise your website is to be invested in an integrated digital marketing strategy that incorporates SEO, social media, content marketing, and perhaps some PPC, too.

    By carrying out one of these tactics individually, you will see a difference in the performance of your website, but for true optimisation, you should be doing them altogether.

    Optimisation starts when building your website with the design and coding used to put your site together, before moving onto static commercial pages that will rarely or never change. This gives you the foundation of SEO, but from then on you need to be performing the on-going elements of digital marketing through constantly reviewing your targeted keywords as well as producing content and maintaining a social media presence.

  • 84. How Does Google View my Site?

    Google views your website by sending a robot - Googlebot - to "crawl" your website pages, which are then indexed for their search engine.

    Googlebot can only see text, which makes it important to use tags to label rich media such as images and videos on web pages.

  • 85. What is Google Webmaster Tools?

    Google Webmaster Tools is a free service offered to webmasters by Google. It helps webmasters identify how their site is performing in key areas and also serves as a platform for Google to communicate with webmasters with regard to various issued connected to the site.

    Many see Google Webmaster Tools as an essential tool when it comes to website maintenance and SEO, as they can submit sitemaps, analyse and disavow links, check loading times, view the keywords that are bringing traffic to the site as well as other sources, and take advantage of all the other data provided.

  • 86. What is 301 Redirect?

    301 redirect is a HTTP status code that means a piece of content has permanently moved from one URL to the other.

    If your company website was http://www.example.com and you changed your domain to http://www.yournewwebsite.com, you would place a 301 redirect on each page of the first website and point it to the same page on the new domain.

    Using a 301 redirect means that anyone who inputs that URL is automatically redirected to the new page. You should monitor how much traffic comes to your new site as a result of the 301 redirects and ensure you maintain ownership of your old website until traffic from this source is minimal. Consider including a message on your new website so redirected browsers take note of your new domain.

    A 301 redirect also influences search engine spiders, meaning they will start to show your new domain in search results.

  • 87. What is Google Analytics?

    Google Analytics is a free to use tool that helps webmasters track the behaviour of users on their website.

    Google Analytics can give a lot of great insight into how engaging your website is. You can track visitor numbers, landing pages, the "route" visitors take through your website, how long visitors spend on each page, which page the looked at last, and many more metrics that will give you an idea of whether your website is as good as it should be.

    You can then use this data to identify performance areas and make changes to the design of your website, the content on your website, or to your SEO strategy as necessary.

  • 88. How Long Does it Normally Take to see SEO Results?

    There is no hard and fast answer to this question, because SEO results will vary depending on every client and industry.

    It is recommended that any site embarking on an SEO program spends at least six months working at it, as SEO is an industry where the work you (or an SEO agency) does today might not start to bear fruit until six months (often longer) down the line.

    SEO success not only depends on the work carried out on a website, but also on what that site's competitors are doing. For example, carrying out six months' worth of SEO work on a site will lead to a better website, but it may not improve traffic, revenues, or any other performance metrics if there are 10 other sites in the industry doing the same thing.

    It is also important to consider that SEO is an on-going process and that improving your website never stops, so it isn't a case of "doing SEO" for six months and then never having to carry out any further digital marketing activities. In fact, doing this will cause considerable damage to a website.

  • 89. What is Keyword Density and How Does it Help?

    Keyword density refers to how often you write your keywords within a piece of web content. For example, if you wrote a 400 word blog and featured your keyword 4 times, your keyword density would be 1%.

    There are a number of resources online that help with determining keyword density, including some overly complicated calculators and formulas, but as the idea behind "content is king" has developed keyword density has become regarded as less important.

    If you add a meta keyword tag, and the keyword is then in the title, page URL, and mentioned even once in the content, that is often enough.

    Don't dilute your content and ruin its readability by putting additional keywords in just for the sake of it. If you write your web content in a natural manner, keywords will find their way in without them feeling forced or contrived.

  • 90. Why do I Need to Write Copy for my Website?

    "Content is king" is probably a phrase you're familiar with, although this will likely be in the context of blogs and other content that you create on a regular basis. However, copy is imperative across all of your website pages.

    Copy helps to reinforce meta data and other HTML tags on your pages and shows the search engines what your website is about, helping them to rank you in relevant search results.
    Copy plays many roles when it comes to your human website visitors. On commercial pages, content tells your visitors what products and services you have to offer, as well as giving some scenarios and reasons as to why the reader should buy it from yourself.
    Without copy, your website it just a shell, and you aren't going to hit page one or be seen in a favourable light by Google or users if that's what you're giving them! Copy, and great copy at that, is part of the foundation of every website.

  • 91. How can Social Media be Used for SEO?

    Social media is a hugely important aspect of SEO and digital marketing in general.

    The big benefit websites can see from using social media is through social shares that their content generates. Every time a reader shares a piece of content on social media from your website, that registers as a social signal and shows Google that you are publishing content that other internet users are actively endorsing.

    In addition to this factor, social media links provide a valuable stream of traffic to your site and like social media in general they provide you with another way to target your audience.

  • 92. Why Does my Company Need Reputation Management?

    It only takes one negative comment or review online to damage your company. If you aren't managing your reputation, then when this happens you'll be helpless to do anything about it. Thankfully, there are many different reputation management techniques that you can implement.

    If you maintain a busy social media presence and do a lot of work to build your reputation, you'll minimise the damage done whenever anything negative does appear.
    When negative feedback or opinions about your company, or you as an individual, appear online, address them at the earliest opportunity. Moving quickly will often help to turn around the negative opinion and show those that follow your company you are willing to listen and act on feedback.
    Producing lots of content about your company, both on your website and in the form of high quality articles elsewhere, will ensure that branded keywords for your business keep any negative articles from appearing high enough in the search engine results to have any lasting impact.
    You can carry out these reputation management strategies yourself or use a digital marketing agency or PR agency to manage them on your behalf.

  • 93. What is a Landing Page?

    A landing page is a single page on a website where an internet user will land when they click through an organic search result, paid advert, or backlink from another website.

    The objective of a landing page is to convert customers who land on the page. Modern SEO's tend to recommend that webmasters treat every page on their site like a landing page, as this brings a greater focus to the quality of a page and makes your site more likely to inspire a customer to make a purchase or an enquiry.

    Website landing pages are either reference landing pages or transactional landing pages.

    Reference landing pages feature information and content relevant to the internet user, and may include images or links to another website, as well as a call to action.
    Transactional landing pages will either feature a call to action that users can immediately act upon, or that links immediately to another page where a purchase can be made.
    What should your landing pages focus on?

    A clear reason why someone landing on the page should trust the information that you're providing or the product that you're selling.
    Not having too many links. Think about the objective of the page, and have one link that helps deliver it. You might think that more links looks better, but it is just confusing your customer.
    An attractive call to action. This might be a screen dominating "BUY NOW" button or a simple "Contact Us Here" message. Whatever you choose it needs to fit your site and inspire action.
    Feature testimonials or feedback from customers. If you have a testimonials page on your website, get rid of it, and feature them on your landing pages instead.
    Use bullet points to break up information and communicate important information.
    Use of colour to engage visitors and keep them on the page.
    As part of your wider web design, think about how you can use responsive web design, too, especially if you're anticipating a lot of enquiries coming from users with mobile devices.

  • 94. Does Site Size Matter?

    When you're launching your website, you should make your website as large as it needs to be but no bigger than necessary. For example, if you're a small business operating in your local area, why would you need 50+ pages of content talking about what you do? These pages are likely to be irrelevant and, as a result, devalued by Google.

    However, the more content you have to index, the more likely you are to build authority and acquire a high ranking.

    How do you solve this problem?

    The answer is with a blog in addition to resources and Q&A sections, much like we feature on the Bough Digital website. This enables you to provide fresh, relevant content to your audience at all times while also growing your website bigger. All of your content will have meaning and value if you take this approach, rather than simply being on your website because you wanted some extra pages.

  • 95. Can I Find out my Competitor's Traffic?

    This is a good question, and as part of any SEO or even digital marketing campaign it is crucial to analysis your competitors. Certain types of information to analyse would be your competitors current traffic volumes, where do they get their traffic from, what keywords do they rank for, and where do they get their external links.

    All of this data is available through ready-made SEO tools, but in answer to your initial question, you can find out how your competitors are doing by looking at Alexa, Quantcast, Compete, Google Ad Planner, Comscore or HItwise. Each of these specific websites/ tools has its advantages and disadvantages but depending on what information you require for your campaign will depend on which individual or combination of tools that you use.

  • 96. Should I Create a Blog for SEO Purposes?

    As with everything, you really need to prioritise your resources in relation to the potential ROI opportunity for each specific task. My advice is that blogs offer a great way to communicate your messaging to your audience, clients, and website visitors. The other benefits of creating a blog include:

    It highlights your expertise in the subject area.
    You can communicate directly with your client base.
    Google loves high-quality and fresh content.
    If you write engaging copy, this could generate in social awareness and people sharing your content.
    You can include rich media within your blog posts
    You can extend your reach, and gain a larger audience.
    I hope the reasons above give you enough ideas and recommendations on why you should start a blog for your website. Starting a blog clearly has its advantages, but as always, scheduling it into the wider business strategy is always a tough choice.

  • 97. Can an SEO Company Have a Special Relationship with Search Engines?

    Great question! I am presuming you are asking this question because an SEO company has stated that they have a special relationship or partnership with Google. If this is a case, I would quickly rip their proposal up and put it in the bin. There is no SEO company in the world that has a special relationship with Google, and in my mind, never will.

    There are certain certifications that you can gain from Google, such as becoming Google Analytics or Google Adwords certified; but this just shows that you understand how to use their products and not that you will get an artificial push in their search results pages. There are only a limited amount of people in the world that know snippets of information about Google’s algorithm as this is their “secret weapon” and why they have become one of the most powerful companies in the world. They don’t give out these secrets to any SEO company.

  • 98. How can we Minimize Traffic Loss After a Domain Name Change?

    Switching domain names is undoubtedly a tough decision for any business, and definitely more so, for a pure online company. There are however some techniques that can dampen the impact of changing domain names. The easiest and most logical is to insert a 301 redirect from every page on your website to the new page on the new domain. Google have taken it one step further, and now actually allow you to specify this information via their Webmaster Tools functionality under the “configuration” and then “change of address”.

    Their advice, which is normally worth following, is to:

    Ensure that your content is 100% set-up on your new domain
    Redirect all your existing content to the new domain with a 301 redirection
    Add and verify your new website via Webmaster Tools
    Although Google has the majority market share in the industry, this advice is also powerful for the other major search engines such as Yahoo and Bing.

  • 99. Will Switching Hosts Affect my Rankings?

    In an ideal world, there should be no affect to your site’s rankings in search engines from switching to a new website host provider. However, I would advise to leave your site up on the old server for 3-4 weeks to ensure that the DNS propagates properly across your entire website, and that search engines are indexing the pages with the new hosting company.

    Theoretically, once you see the results and the spiders entering into your new hosting, it is probably safe to remove the old hosting from your domain. In doing so, you might actually see an increase in ranking if your new website’s hosting is more stable, and delivers quicker pages as this could enhance SEO and user metrics to your website.

  • 100. Should I Optimize for Plural or Singular Keywords?

    The answer to this question is both if each of them gets enough monthly searches. Although Google are clever enough to work out the difference between plural and singular keywords, it is still advisable to look at the different opportunities at featuring both keywords on the page.

    I am guessing that in the majority of the cases, the keywords will both be very similar in meaning, and therefore would be extremely easy and efficient to feature them into the websites copy. If you think about how you would normally speak in a conversation, you would use both the singular and plural versions, so the same theory applies to writing online content.

    Again, the majority of the time you should be thinking about optimising individual pages for a combination of keywords (not just one). This strategy will ensure that you will optimise the page to its maximum, rather than being less flexible by optimising for just one keyword per page. This is increasingly true since the recent Google updates this year, as the Google Penguin update especially is now looking to a greater variety of anchor text on their external links (as that is more natural); therefore it is wise to target additional keywords.

  • 101. Am I Right in Thinking Internal Link Architecture is Important for SEO?

    Yes, you are correct. A friendly site structure is one of the fundamental elements for search engine optimisation as it spreads and builds link equity to internal pages and allows them to rank better over a prolonged period. This site structure ultimately measures the internal value that you attach to each piece of content; a performance metric directly applied in the recent Google Panda update. A successful strategy is to link to your most important pages on your site often with a great diversity of keywords. The site structure really looks at sculpting the page rank, link equity, and topical relevance to maximum effect.

    The internal link architecture is one of the fundamental and most important elements that you can control on your website, and it's worth spending a lot of time to determine what is the best approach for your website. Look to install a solution that will maximise your internal links and will pass page rank around your website for SEO, but most importantly, keep your users in mind when designing this site structure.

  • 102. How can I Optimise My Travel Agency for Maximum SEO?

    Depending on what type of travel agency you are, and the products that you currently advertise on your website will hugely depend on the answer provided. However, taking into consideration the general working practices of a travel agency there are certainly some tips that can be offered to improve your website (if you are currently carrying them out). Obviously, look at the major SEO techniques including on-page optimisation, keyword research and how to maximise and obtain natural and powerful external links.

    Today, Bough Digital will focus on one aspect of SEO that can really see improvements in your traffic levels. The diagram below identifies the opportunities that exist for a travel agency in terms of SEO and also the funnel process, which will ultimately improve conversion rates. In relation to the diagram it offers numerous landing pages to the users and search engines about specific niches and target markets.

  • 103. What is a HTML Sitemap?

    A HTML sitemap is a bulleted outline in text content of the site’s navigation. The HTML sitemap was traditionally a technique used by websites to enable search engines to crawl their entire website, before the newly formed .xml sitemaps were introduced. However, an HTML sitemap still helps people to navigate websites, and to support search engines in their pursuit of finding and indexing all website pages in an effective manner. The HTML sitemap will also improve your website’s chances of getting your pages ranked higher in search engines as it provides an improved link sculpting profile within your website.

    The HTML sitemap needs to ensure that each URL is linked from the relevant pages. In addition, the links need to contain the appropriate anchor text, which I suggest should be the “page title” or "main subject" for each page. The last optimisation tip is to ensure that the sitemap is prominently linked from your website to ensure that it is found. In view of this, I would recommend that you insert a sitemap link from every page within your website. This will have double benefits; ensure your content is found by search engines, and secondly, it enhances your site link structure.

    It is now debatable whether this technique actually works for search engines any more.

  • 104. How Can My Site be Penalised for Duplicated Content?

    A common website mistake is that there can be hundreds of variations of one page by not implementing some very obvious website changes. You need to ensure that ONLY ONE page is viewable to search engines unless you could get a duplicate content penalty. There are two main techniques that can cause duplicate content (without deliberately replicating two pages on a single website). These two are as follows:

    1. Domain Name

    Ensure that all URL’s all point to one unique place. This can include:


    You should generally re-direct the non-www version of your website using a 301 redirection. You need to use only one mode of web-domain address and be consistent.

    2. Individual URL’s

    You should generally only have one mode of specific URL per page. For instance, you need to produce a 301 redirect for the following:

    Capitalisation- for example, www.doMainNaMe.com should be re-directed to www.domainname.com.
    Trailing Slashes- all pages with a trailing slash should be automatically redirected to the non-trailing slash page. Example, www.domainname.com/tag/books/ should be redirected to www.domainname.com/tag/books.

  • 105. Does a Mobile Site Need a Separate SEO Strategy?

    Yes, it does.

    While modern web design trends mean you can choose to have one responsive web design for your whole site irrespective of the device it's viewed on, you still need to adapt your SEO strategy accordingly.

    If you are targeting mobile users with either a mobile site or responsive design, you shouldcarry out mobile keyword research to understand the differences when people search on mobile. If you are targeting purely mobile, then use your keyword mobile research to inform your strategy. If you are looking to optimise a responsive site you should look closely at your keyword research and create a strategy based around popular mobile and desktop keywords. You'll find this easier if you're fortunate enough to find that your keywords are similar across the platforms.

  • 106. What if an SEO Agency Can't Answer my Questions?

    An SEO agency isn't going to be able to answer every question you ask of them.

    In fact, not being able to answer questions, and being honest enough to admit it, is a positive!

    This is because the most common SEO questions asked by clients, such as "How long does SEO take" and "When will I reach page one of Google" simply cannot be answered. The best SEO agencies will tell you this and explain the reasons why. If an SEO is able to give you answers to these questions, and says things like they guarantee a #1 ranking within a month, then you're dealing with a black hat SEO that will damage your site in the long term.

    Of course, if your SEO agency can't answer questions around the SEO process and how they work, then the chances are they aren't going to be very good, either.

  • 107. Is SEO Important for Offline Businesses?

    Yes, it is!

    Just because a business makes the majority, or all, of its money offline, that doesn't mean it should be neglecting opportunities for online success.

    Whether an offline business builds a website and then pursues general or local SEO goals, SEO represents a huge opportunity for reaching out to a wider audience. More people now use Google than look in traditional directories like the Yellow Pages, and they do so to find offline businesses and locations as much as they do to find ecommerce sites.

    If an online platform and SEO activities aren't part of your offline business plan, you're missing a trick.

  • 108. Do Search Engine Spiders Follow Links to Subscription Sites?

    No, they can't, because they are unable to access "gated content" on the internet.

    While you can still insert links to gated content in your own content, Google and the other search engines will be unable to follow them and give you credit for adding to the authority of the article. If you are going to insert such links into your content, it is a good idea to let the reader know it's a subscription required link so they can decide whether to click through from your article or not.

  • 109. Does My Content Keyword Density Matter?

    It matters in as much that you need to make sure your keywords are in your content, but thanks to the sophistication of Google's algorithms and their ability to weed out those websites that were spamming search engines using keyword stuffing and other techniques, keyword density is very much part of the "supporting cast" of modern SEO.

    You should look to place your keywords in your title tags and other meta data, as well as in content where it would occur naturally.

    You don't need to do what some websites suggest and start calculating your keyword density to the exact percentage!

  • 110. Do Ecommerce Pages with Numerous Tabs Suffer from an SEO Perspective?

    It is common for ecommerce sites to use tabs, typically in a box next to pictures of the product, in order to split the information up on the page.

    For example, an ecommerce product page may have tabs with a written description of the product, technical information such as the size of the product and what it is made from, and delivery and returns information.

    Search engine spiders can see all of the information on these tabs so long as there is nothing written in the website code to keep them hidden. Therefore, ecommerce pages with numerous tabs shouldn't suffer from an SEO perspective and should do what they can to optimise the written content contained within these tabs.

  • 111. Do Ecommerce Sites Get Penalised for Duplicate Content on Product Pages?

    Ecommerce sites will often have duplicate content on product pages, such as returns information or information related to how a product is made or produced, and the materials involved.

    As all of this information provides value to the shopper, Google would not penalise an ecommerce site for having duplicated content of this type, so long as it hadn't been deliberately optimised to rank for high traffic keywords.

  • 112. What is Googlebot?

    Googlebot is the name of the search engine "spiders" - sometimes called "crawlers" - that Google send to crawl and index your website.

    You can use your Google Webmaster Tools account to analyse when Googlebot has visited your site, and to check important metrics such as how long it takes Googlebot to crawl a page and any errors Googlebot has encountered.

  • 113. What is a Link Network?

    A link network is a collection of websites that deliver a high quantity of backlinks to a website with the aim of manipulating the search engine results in that site's favour.

    Most link networks operate as "shop fronts" and then either maintain a large number of low quality websites themselves or maintain partnerships with large numbers of sites, where they then build a high quantity of backlinks for a fee.

    Using a link network to acquire backlinks is very much a black hat SEO tactic, and Google is actively taking action against link networks all the time. If you have links in your link portfolio acquired due to working with a link network, expect to see your site hit with a Google Penalty sooner or later.

  • 114. How Often are Websites Penalised for Slow Loading Times?

    Website loading times are considered a key part of user experience, which in turn is a central plank of SEO performance.

    However, it is unlikely that a website will receive a direct penalty as a result of having slow page loading times. Only a very small number of websites have ever received a penalty for this reason. It is much likelier that slow loading times will simply prevent you from reaching as high a position in the search engines. This is because most of the websites that suffer from slow loading times are relatively new, so don't have as much authority in the eyes of Google yet anyway.

    Of course, if you're a well established site and you suddenly start having consistent problems with loading times, you could well see a penalty coming your way.

  • 115. Should Ecommerce Sites Rewrite Product Descriptions Periodically?

    You don't need to do this just for the sake of thinking you are giving Google some fresh content to index.

    However, you should take the opportunity to improve descriptions when you can do so, for example if you learn more about a product or can give a better example of when it might be needed and be effective.

    Do this in addition to making sure your e-commerce descriptions are unique and stand-out from any on websites that the sell the same things as you.

  • 116. Does Googlebot Take Notice of "Noindex" Tags?

    Yes, Googlebot does take follow of "noindex" tags if they are placed and configured correctly within your website code.

    However, if you publish a page on your website before adding the "noindex" tag, Google might crawl and index a page within this time. If this happens, or has already happened to you, don't worry, as the next time Googlebot visits your site it will update the Google cache and remove any pages that have the "noindex" tag included.

    This can take a period of weeks, but afterwards you should see a drop in the number of indexed pages shown in your Google Webmaster Tools account.

  • 117. Can SEO Agencies Have a 'Special Relationship' with Google?

    Many SEO agencies claim to have a special relationship with Google, and so they promise “guaranteed rankings.” These SEO agencies are to be avoided, as there is not one SEO agency that can promise this.

    As soon as an SEO agency promises or mentions this, you should instantly hang up or stop the conversation, as these are probably an illegitimate business. It is though worthwhile asking them if they are certain it’s Google (for SEO) they have a special relationship with, and to get more details on the relationship. There is the possibility that they are claiming to have a “special relationship” with Google, as they have gained the qualification and therefore become a “certified partner” for Google Adwords (the pay-per click advertising product that they offer).

  • 118. What was the Google Payday Loan Update?

    Google launched an algorithm update in June 2013 which became known as the payday loan update.

    This update was aimed at penalising or reducing the rankings of pages that achieved high search engine result placings for keyword search terms that are notorious for being targeted by spammers. This doesn't mean that payday loan providers were penalised, but that sites that would write spammy content around payday loans and other often spammed keywords, such as 'porn,' even if their sites aren't in those industries, were.

    The payday loan update was an additional weapon for Google to use in targeting very specific keywords and terms that are often used to try and manipulate the search results and to gain additional traffic for a site.

  • 119. What is Bounce Rate?

    The bounce rate of a website is the percentage of visits that end with a visitor having only looked at one page.

    Bounce rate is a key measure of the effectiveness of your website, as it shows how effective your landing pages are at inspiring visitors to look elsewhere on your website.

    Average bounce rate is often cited as 50%, so anything better than that can be seen as good performance, while a bounce rate exceeding 60% should be a cause for concern.

    Sites with a high bounce rate should be looking at the effectiveness of their landing pages, how they appear to visitors, and whether they are optimised for the correct keywords.

  • 120. Why are Such Low Quality Websites Ranking in Google?

    This is a very interesting question, and one which baffles a lot of SEO’s. Google has and will continue to take the user experience on their search engine seriously, and as such, they always try to provide the most relevant search results for the inputted query. However, due to the search engine being driven by an algorithm, there are always going to be problems and individual case studies that highlight the inefficiencies in the algorithm.

    Historically, it was more likely that websites will little, low quality or even no content could appear at the top of search engines. However, since the first Google Panda update in February 2011 (and the larger one in April 2011), Google have looked to eradicate these low quality websites from search engines. In the future, I believe that you will start seeing even more relevant results as Google is increasingly placing more emphasis on user behaviour, social metrics, and website usability to rank their results. Therefore, if users constantly click on a low quality page that is ranked in position one and immediately click away, this low performance will be tracked by Google (and calculated in its algorithm).

  • 121. Can Search Engines Index Dynamic Sites with Query Strings in the URL?

    No, search engines can only index pages that appear on your website server, and because these pages are created by searches through your website they don't actually exist in the eyes of search engine spiders.

    If certain dynamic pages are created by repeated searches of the same terms and criteria, you can create links to these and place them within your site map, which will then lead to Google indexing them.

    However, you shouldn't do this for all dynamic pages on your website as Google don't want to display the results of an on-site search engine in their own results.

  • 122. Is my Website Banned in Google?

    Well, if you have gone with a dodgy black-hat SEO company then the answer is probably yes! To determine whether your site has been banned in Google, a simple and easy technique is to insert “site:domain.com” into Google and see whether any results come up. If not, then you should probably sign-up on sign-in to Google Webmaster Tools and see whether your domain has a specific message from Google highlighting that you have been banned.

    There are also a number of SEO tools that specifically look to see whether you have been banned from search engines. If you are not banned, then there is clearly another problem into why your website is not getting indexed. It might be wise to speak to an SEO consultancy that might offer to fix the problem for free, or a small cost. It could be something as simple as you are blocking your entire website in your robots.txt file.

  • 123. How can I Automate the Link Building Process?

    Oh dear, I think we have a black-hat SEO in our community! The link-building process for any website should be based on a targeted campaign that is carried out manually. Yes, you can automate link-building processes by purchasing some ‘dodgy’ software online that automatically submits your website to 5,000 directories, 100 article directories, 500 social bookmarking, and produces 500 blog comments. However, these links are so low value that they are almost worthless in today’s SEO marketplace and websites that are still carrying out these activities are throwing money away.

    Link-building is about getting high quality, contextually relevant external links to targeted pages on your website. Unfortunately this process is resource-heavy, however, the results will be more rewarding as gaining ‘one’ high-quality external link is more powerful than those 6,000 low quality automated links. If you do choice to continue with an automated solution, you are just counting the days until your website drops down the rankings (for good).

  • 124. Should I buy Keyword Rich Domains?

    Well, it depends on whether you are talking about one domain or numerous domains to manipulate search rankings. I am hoping you are talking about the former (one domain) as this is seen as a legitimate strategy for a website. However, in choosing your domain you really need to take into perspective the following:

    • Is the domain name recognisable and memorable to visitors?
    • Does the domain name clearly highlight what our brand is about?
    • Is the domain name short, and spelt correctly?
    • Are there any limitations to the domain name: geographical, foreign language, future products etc?
    • Are your words separated by hyphens?
    • Have you registered the domain on a .com

    If after answering all of these questions, it is fundamental that you select a keyword rich domain, then this can add greater power to your website offering.

    If the question was directed at purchasing multiple domain names for SEO purposes, my recommendation would be to transport you back from 2002 to the present day as these techniques are not working as much as they used to. Google have publically stated that they are working hard to reducing the power obtained by keyword-rich domains.

  • 125. What Should I do About Competitors who Spam the Search Engines?

    If you feel your competitors are taking an unfair advantage through spamming the search engines, you’re certain to feel frustrated.In fact, you’ll probably want to visit Google’s headquarters yourself and point out exactly what your competitors are doing.

    However, there is no need for you to feel this way.

    Your competitors might be standing tall at the top of search rankings for various keywords today, but if they’re using outdated, spammy techniques in order to fool the Google algorithm, you can rest assured it won’t be long before a manual or algorithmic penalty comes into play. While Google Panda and Google Penguin, as well as their manual monitoring of links and content, is dealing with the problem of spam, you can still send feedback to Google if you feel a site is spamming and getting away with it.

    For your part, you should continue playing the long game and pursuing white hat SEO in order to see sustainable, consistent results over time.

  • 126. Should I Optimize for the Plural or Singular Form of my Keyword Phrases?

    There is no definite answer to this question, and is purely depends on your situation. Search engines, and in particularly Google, are getting much smarter and their technology can detect the difference between plural and singular phrases. The correct answer to your query is probably to carry out some primary keyword research to determine what your customers are actually typing into search engines. Use a keyword tool or employ a SEO agency to undertake some findings and analysis on your behalf.

    Once the keyword research stage has been completed, the next stage is to think about your content. The best approach to writing content is to make it compelling and engaging for your target audience. If it's possible to insert your keywords into the text naturally, this is a great approach. However, do not try to add keywords into your website copy for SEO purposes, as there are more important signals in a search engines algorithm than keyword density (and this has been the case for a number of years). In the perfect scenario you would include your primary keyword, plural/ singular variations, synonyms, and other related language into the text; but this should come naturally as the content should be contextually relevant to the primary keyword you are looking to target.

  • 127. How Can I Find out How Much Traffic my Competitor's Site Receives?

    If your website is set-up correctly, you should have some traffic software such as Google Analytics to measure the visits that your website achieves, how they interact with your website, and how valuable each visitor is to your specific website. This is such valuable information from an internal perspective and countless business decisions should be made from this data. How great would it be if you could reach all of your competitors Google Analytics data, and start to create learnings from their activities as well as your own website.

    Unfortunately, spying on competitors in the technique above is impossible. However, there are a number of different SEO tools that can help you to start gathering some information about your competitors visitor figures. A couple of the market leaders is Alexa and Quantcast. Both of these tools provide measurable statistics and information about your competitors from trending information, demographics and in relation to the Quantcast product they try to distinguish the exact visitor numbers. Both of these tools offer an exceptional service, however, the data can never be 100% but it should give you enough details on how your competitors are faring on an on-going basis.

    There are a selection of other companies that offer slightly different but still impressive results. These include Compete, Hitwise, Spyfu, Trellian, Google Trends, Doubleclick Adplanner, Comscore and even SEOMoz. All of these tools are worth investigating and together can pull together some highly useful information that can highlight new opportunities within your industry sector.

  • 128. Should I Create a Blog for SEO Purposes?

    This is a great question, and the answer is definitely yes. However, I wouldn't suggest just creating a blog for SEO purposes, but also for building a community, responding to customers, producing viral content, and to give your organisation a voice (these are just a few reasons). Blogging is a fast way to improve your search rankings, as it allows you to keep content fresh and regularly updated, which are both items that search engines (especially Google) love. The saying "Content is King" has been around for over a decade, and it is still true today.

    Some benefits of blogging can include:

    • The opportunity to produce some linkable content i.e. infographic or other viral content
    • The blog can compliment any social media efforts that you are undertaking, and can also integrate social media within your blog posts.
    • The blog can generate quick external links.
    • The blog provides an opportunity to utilise internal links to your commercially-beneficial pages.
    • Create updated and fresh content.

    Therefore, it is advisable to create a blog as it will have multiple benefits for your company, which one is SEO.

  • 129. Can SEO Companies Really Have Special Relationships with the Search Engines Like Some of Them Claim?

    No, they can’t. If any SEO companies tell you this, then they might be up to a number of things.

    • They might be merely trying to dazzle you with knowledge that “no one else” knows, but is merely something from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines dressed up to sound complicated.
    • If they’re offering “instant SEO,” they’ll use guarantees like “#1 in a Month” to sell their ‘special relationship,’ when in reality they’re probably using black hat techniques, and will take your money and run, usually just before you receive a penalty notification via Google Webmaster Tools
    • They might be selling PPC as SEO.Instead of actually carrying out any work, an SEO company might be looking to profit through selling on sponsored rankings for a small profit. The SEO company that does this enough will enjoy healthy margins.

    When it comes to organic search, there is no magic formula and selected SEO companies certainly do not enjoy a special relationship with search providers.If any SEO company tells you this, it is time to start looking elsewhere.

  • 130. Do I Need to Make Sure my Files are not Buried Deeply in Multiple Directories on my Server?

    Where your website files and pages are located on your server doesn't make any difference to your SEO. However, where your files and pages are located on your website, and how easy they are to find by search engine spiders, does make a difference.

    Search engines judge page importance by where they are in relation to the homepage. So, a page that can be reached in one click from the homepage is deemed more important than one that can be reached in three, for example. When creating a website structure and adding pages to your website, remember that all pages should be reachable in three clicks from anywhere on your site.

    Old SEO articles may tell you that where filed are located on your server does make a difference, but this was never actually the case.

  • 131. What's the Difference Between Paid and Organic Search Listings?

    A paid listing is an advert.These will be displayed in the search results as ‘Ads related to (your search term).’Website owners pay for their sites to be advertised at the top of the search rankings, or beside them, when a specific term is searched for.

    Organic listings are not paid for, and represent the websites that Google or another search engine deems to be the highest quality and most relevant to your search term.Both organic and paid listings can be useful for finding what you’re looking for, however sometimes you’ll find paid search results not linked directly to your keyword, this is because of companies targeting irrelevant keywords within a PPC campaign to try to gain additional traffic.

  • 132. What's the difference between SEO and SEM?

    The easiest way to explain the difference is that SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is part of SEM (Search Engine Marketing). SEO simply comprises of optimising the web property for search engines via the use of natural/ organic search. However, SEM goes into far more details and comprises of many other facets of Internet marketing including paid search/ PPC (pay-per-click). SEM is an extremely important element of Internet marketing strategies as it covers both organic (SEO) and paid search opportunities.

  • 133. How Can we Minimize Traffic Loss After a Domain Name Change?

    If you take the correct steps when launching your new website this shouldn’t be a problem that affects you too much.You can simply add your new domain to the DNS, and people can access your site using either the old or the new URL.There’s also an option in Google Webmaster Tools where you can do this and tell Google about your changes, so they display the correct search results and direct browsers to your site via the search results.

    However, some steps you can take will help you to minimize any further problems.

    Setting up a 301 permanent redirect is the best and easiest step to take.Some SEO’s have suggested contacting webmasters who have links to your site on their own, but the reality is this is going to take a lot of time, plus you have no idea who is actually going to do it, the most likely scenario is that your email will receive an out loud “whatever” and placed straight in the trash.You’d need to set up the 301 redirect at server level, so that everything related to your website is redirected.You don’t want to do it one page at a time as you could end up missing out important commercial pages and lose money as a result.

    You are probably looking at a 3-month timespan for all of your pages to be re-indexed by all search engines, particularly if you have a large website.That said, Google are getting better all the time at recognizing 301 redirects, while Yahoo! and Bing are also catching up in this respect.

    The trick is not to panic if you see pages from both domains indexed in the immediate future, stay calm, and look at it again at the end of the 3 months.

  • 134. Should I Add a Robots Follow Meta Tag to my Pages?

    You don't need to do this, as search engine spiders are automatically set to crawl all pages by default.

    If you have any pages that you don't want to be crawled or indexed, you can add a no follow or no index tag, but you should be aware that these instructions aren't always heeded by search engine spiders. The best approach is to only have content on your site that you're happy for search engine spiders to see, crawl, and index.

  • 135. How do I Get my Files Indexed by the Search Engines After a Redesign Where File Names Have Changed?

    Use a 301 permanent redirect to ensure that all old URL’s point to the new and updated pages.

    It is also worth submitting a new sitemap to Google, although if you put the 301 redirect in place and then send Google your old sitemap with the previous URLs, Google should reindex your site having been directed to the new URLs via the 301 redirect, meaning your correct pages will appear in search.

  • 136. Will Switching Server Hosts Affect my Search Engine Rankings?

    Not if you’re making a like for like swap to a server with similar resources.If you’re moving from a dedicated server to a shared or VPS solution, for example, then you won’t see any immediate impact, but if Google finds your site to be slower in the future, you’ll lose user experience points and potentially see your rankings suffer, too.

    Best practice when switching hosts is to leave your site live with the old host for around a month, just to be sure the DNS propagates and you can check your site is being crawled on the new server without any problems.

  • 137. If I Have an All Graphical Page, Where can I Place Keyword Phrases for the Search Engines?

    The immediate answer you might jump to is “in the alt tags.”Unfortunately, alt tags don’t mean anything to the search engines if the image isn’t clickable.Therefore, it is worth asking yourself if it is really worth having an all-graphical page if it doesn’t go anywhere and isn’t likely to be seen by anyone, at least those who will find your site via organic search.

    If you do still put an all graphical page in place and have non-clickable images, use your page title and other metadata to get your keywords into your content without looking like you’re trying to spam the search engines.

    If you have a specific reason for wanting browsers to land on that page, consider using PPC advertising to generate traffic.

  • 138. What's on-page SEO?

    On-page optimisation includes the improvement of a website's visibility by manipulating titles, headers, content, images, and the internal linking structure; basically anything that is contained in the code and content of the site. Search Engines still consider the phrase "Content Is King", so they place a lot of value on originality, quality and relevance of textual content.

  • 139. What's off-page SEO?

    Off-page optimisation deals with improving a site's visibility by manipulating off-site factors such as links from other websites. In recent years, it has become easier to manipulate on-page factors, so off-site factors have become an integral part of any successful SEO strategy.

  • 140. What is a doorway page/cloaking?

    A doorway page is something used in Black Hat SEO for spamdexing purposes.This is when webmasters or SEO agencies attempt to manipulate search results by spamming the indexing process.Using doorway pages involves inserting keyword phrases that achieve high search volume while sending browsers to another page when they find the result and click the link.

    Cloaking is when a webmaster or SEO deliberately shows a different version of a webpage to a search spider and a human user.It is also used alongside doorway pages to redirect browsers without them realising.Cloaking involves the use of server side scripts so pages know whether a search spider or a human is visiting them.

  • 141. What's the Truth About Duplicate Content?

    Now, there is no instant duplicate content penalty, but if someone steals your content you can report it to Google and ask for it to be removed from their search results.The increasing use of Google authorship will also become a key factor in designating ownership of content, so start using it.

    If you have duplicate pages on your own website, then use rel=”canonical” to ensure Google shows the one you want in search results.Google’s Matt Cutts said in July 2013 that duplicate content won’t hurt you unless it is a blatant attempt to manipulate the search engine, so as long as you’ve set a canonical page you shouldn’t need to do much else.

  • 142. What is rel="canonical"?

    If you have similar content featured on several pages (two or more) on your website, you can use the rel=”canonical” tag to tell Google which page you want them to index and display in search results.The page you want displaying is called your canonical page. Note that Google will still crawl all of the pages, and will only use this one if they agree with your direction about it being the best and most relevant.

    Telling Google you want a certain page as the canonical one is easy. All you do is all the following piece of code into the of the pages you don’t want to display:

    This is most commonly done when a website has a www. and a non www. page, as well as a homepage with and without /index.html or .html at the end of the URL.

  • 143. Why Would I Want to 301-redirect an Aged Domain?

    To being answering this question it is important to understand the definition of what a 301 redirect actually is. A 301-redirect actually refers to the status code of the page, so what is the current state of that specific individual URL (is it live, is there an error etc). The table below highlights the definition of what a 301 page actually refers to:

    Status Code Brief Explanation Definition Type
    301 Moved Permanently A status code of 301 tells a client that the resource they asked for has permanently moved to a new location. The response should also include this location. It tells the client to use the new URL the next time it wants to fetch the same resource. Redirection

    Having understood what a 301 page is, the next stage is to understand the benefits of utilising a 301 redirect on an aged domain. An aged domain generally applies to a website that has been active for a number of years. Having been active for a long time, it is probably a good assumption that over the years this specific domain has built up some authority; either through the content it's produced, current keyword rankings, external links pointing towards its site, number of active visits and branding. What a 301 redirect essentially does is transfer this authority from the aged domain to the new domain, so that this value can be added to your new domain. Also, it will automatically forward the visitors looking for the aged domain to the new site, and alert them that the previous website has been changed to a new and improved site.

    It is worth noting that using 301 redirects to trick and manipulate website rankings is not a recommended strategy. Many SEO companies and websites think that buying domain names to simply apply a 301 redirect will benefit their primary website. This is not and will never be the case, only use a 301 redirect in the right and ethical way.

  • 144. Does Domain Age Help?

    Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Webspam, says that once a site is more than two or three months old, domain age shouldn’t make a difference.

    Why is it the case then that older sites rank higher in search?

    The solution is simple.As long as you’re doing ‘good SEO,’ and producing high quality content on a regular basis, an older site will naturally attain more authority and trust over time.

    Domain age itself doesn’t make a difference or help SEO, but the natural lifespan of an older domain should give these sites an advantage if there has been a long term strategy in place. If you’re just starting your website, keep this in mind and ensure you’re ready to play the ‘long game.’

  • 145. What Other Factors Affect Rankings Besides Backlinks?

    Achieving SEO success used to be closely linked to how many backlinks you had pointing at your site. While backlinks are still important, the type of link and the quality, relevance, and authority of the sites is given greater priority by the search engines. This means achieving one high quality link is better than achieving 1,000 low quality ones.

    However, if your SEO activities revolve solely around backlinks, you’re going to struggle to see any success. What are the other factors you should be thinking about?

    Links from Your Own Sites

    As well as the links pointing back at your site, the search engines are also interested in where your outgoing links are pointing. Are you directing your readers to other authoritative locations, or are you sending them to spammy sites that add no value?

    You should treat an outgoing link the way you’d treat an incoming one; do you really want to be associated with that site? Are you proud to point your website browsers in that direction?

    High Quality Content

    You’ve probably heard that ‘content is king’ and this is definitely true. As Google refine their algorithm further, the importance of having the best content will increase. Great content means you earn better backlinks, too!


    There have been a number of blogs cropping up in recent years saying that SEO is dead and that keywords are irrelevant. If keywords were irrelevant, how could Google present relevant search results? Keywords are still the foundation of SEO, and if you aren’t doing keyword research, your strategy won’t work.

    Ensuring you’ve considered these points, as well as your wider approach to on-site and off-site optimisation, will give you the best chance of enjoying search success. Remember that SEO isn’t about being great at one thing, but consistent performance across a number of factors.

  • 146. Should I Rank My Own Content or Articles on Other Sites?

    Yes, but it shouldn't be the only thing you do.

    Modern SEO means that earning backlinks is far more favourable than building them yourself, especially as you don't know that the article and backlink you had published today is going to be deleted by the end of the month. A website where you post your content could also add other links to help their own SEO, or link to low quality sites which, in turn, hurts your own reputation.

    If you are going to use other sites for content marketing, then ensure you build relationships and can have confidence that your articles or links aren't going to be removed. Instead of doing this to gain links, do it with the aim of driving traffic to your site using the link.

    Focus on your own on-site content so that you earn high quality backlinks from across the web as your main priority.

  • 147. What is a C-class IP and why should I care?

    You probably already know that your IP address is your ‘online address.’ A C-class block of IP addresses are ones that are next to each other, in terms of the numbers in the address itself. In the context of SEO, links that come from the same IP address have barely any value, while those from the same block aren’t much better. Links from different C-class IP addresses are the most valuable, because they indicate a genuine backlink rather than potential spam or a deliberate attempt to manipulate the search results.

    If Google find you have numerous domains with the same or similar IP address, or in the same C-class block, and they all link to each other, you’ll be removed from the search engine very quickly indeed.

  • 148. What is the "Freshness" Factor?

    The freshness factor is something written into search algorithms to ensure that as much new, fresh, and relevant content as possible makes its way into the highest search rankings.It was introduced so trending topics and recent news stories would always appear in results for particular searches, and ensures that newer content will always be given precedence.

    The freshness factor does not penalize quality content, such as in-depth articles and academic reports, that were published years ago, and such results will still be presented if they’re relevant.

  • 149. What Are Meta Tags?

    Meta tags are placed into the coding of a web page.They are a type of HTML code that are written after the title tag. You’ll hear about meta tags and meta data a lot when working around SEO. In this case, people are usually referring to the page description and the page keywords, both of which are written within meta tags.

    Human users don’t see Meta tags, only search spiders do. They are used to show search engines what your page is about and, alongside your content, will help to ensure that you appear in relevant sets of search results. While meta descriptions and meta keywords are the most common tags, others, including http-equiv, refresh, robots, and copyright tags might be used, which can again help search engines to ensure you appear in the most relevant results.

  • 150. What's an Autoblog?

    An autoblog is a blog where the content is automatically gathered from a range of selected RSS feeds.Autobloggers typically use autoblogging software to gather and publish the work, all the blog owner has to do is decide which feeds they want to gather content from and when they want to publish it.

    Autoblogs are usually created in bulk with the objective of generating revenue from advertising.Most software allows you to link back to the original news article or blog, while attributing copied text is usually considered fair.Autoblogging software usually has editing options, translation features, and an article-spinning suite. This can make a site look as if it is producing bulk news articles and stories, although if the common errors that occur using such software aren’t detected, the content will lose credibility quickly, although it will already be of a low quality.

  • 151. What's a Spamblog?

    A spamblog is a blog that is used primarily for promotion of affiliated websites, for selling links and adverts, or attempting to manipulate search results by providing a high number of backlinks to websites also owned by the ‘blogger.’

    Spamblogs will typically scrape content from other websites before filling the text with links and adverts.‘General’ blogs that fit into no niche and feature a high percentage of guest posts might be considered a spamblog, although spamblogging is usually done alongside other black hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing, link farming, and spamdexing.

  • 152. What is robots.txt for?

    Robots.txt is a text file you place in the main directory of your website, which tells search engines not to crawl a specific page or set of pages.You should add this file if there are pages on your website that you don’t want to be indexed, although the page title and URL will often still appear in search rankings.

    A search result indicating robots.txt is being used will say, “A description for this result is not available because of this site's robots.txt.”

    However, search engines will still crawl around the content you want excluding, meaning your pages can still appear in search results.You only need use robots.txt if you have some content you want excluding from search engines, for whatever reason.

    Please note that robots.txt doesn’t hold any legal connotations and search spiders can still crawl the page if they choose to do so, although the leading search providers like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! will generally take notice of the file.

  • 153. What's the sandbox?

    Heard the theory that you can't rank in Google or any other search engine until a specific period of time has passed? Many webmasters believe that your website is "in the sandbox," and stays there until a particular time has passed before Google will index your site and display it in the search engines.

    While this definitely a theory rather than anything based on facts or evidence, it is something that is debated keenly around the search industry.

    Many also use "being in the sandbox" as a reason for a site's rankings not improving, despite undertaking a range of SEO activities, and it is usually Google's (or Bing's or Yahoo's) fault.

  • 154. Should I Build Links for Human Beings or the Search Engines?

    If you’ve been undertaking SEO activities for a number of years but haven’t been keeping up to date with the industry, then you might still be building links for search engines.Years ago, link quantity used to be the main factor behind achieving a high ranking.

    Today, the purpose of building links should always be to direct human traffic to your website.If you’re building incoming links, then you should be doing so on authoritative, relevant websites, where the audience is likely to have an interest in your own.Don’t just build links for the sake of a link, ensure you include it in a high quality article or blog post so that it has meaning, rather than burying it in an author byline at the foot of the page.

    You should also be mindful of outgoing links from your site, too, and ensure you’re only pointing your own visitors to other high quality content.Every aspect of SEO, not just link building, should be done with humans in mind.


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