Top 7 SEO Questions You May Be Asking

September 15th, 2022 by Anita Nagle

This post was updated by Shira Pinsker on 8/31/2022 to reflect recent trends and refreshed statistics. It was originally published on 7/19/2021.

Key Insights

  • A search engine optimization campaign aims to increase both the quality and quantity of organic traffic to your site.
  • The primary function of search engines is to deliver answers to questions in the most digestible way possible. This is the most important thing to remember when executing an SEO strategy.
  • SEO is a long-term strategy that, when done correctly, pays dividends in results.

A strong search engine optimization (SEO) campaign is an essential tool for any digital marketing strategy. While effective paid advertising, social media, and other digital strategies are important, organic search brings in the majority of website traffic.

Effective SEO campaigns can help drive conversions, improve user experience, and ultimately lead to increased customer satisfaction. In this post, we’ll provide the answers to seven SEO questions clients commonly ask.

Person at desk viewing Google landing page on laptop

1 – What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is the “practice of increasing both the quality and quantity of website traffic and exposure to your brand through non-paid search engine results.” (Moz) SEO is performed through a combination of updates both on and off your website to help Google better understand who you are, what you do, and why searchers should see you at the top of search results.

The most popular SEO tactics include content creation, technical improvements, and link building.

2 – How do search engines work?

The goal of Google, Bing, and other search engines is to display the results that are most likely to answer a user’s query in the most digestible format.

Search engines take three steps to find, analyze, and rank content:

  • Crawl: Search engines comb the Internet and read over the code and content for each URL they find.
  • Index: Search engines store and organize the content found during the crawling process.
  • Rank: Search engines deliver content on the search engine results page (SERP) that is most relevant to a user’s query.

3 – How does Google rank results?

To determine organic ranking, search engines use algorithms, a process or formula by which stored information is retrieved and ordered in meaningful ways. The algorithm is ever-changing; in fact, modifications are made on a daily basis. Search engines use three factors to rank pages: relevance, location, and authority.

  • Relevance is how your business matches what the searcher is looking for. The primary ways we send signals for which queries are relevant to your business are:
    • Content: All the text, videos, and images on your site. A huge factor in where your page will rank is how well the content on that page matches a search query.
    • RankBrain: The machine-learning portion of Google’s algorithm. While Google does not reveal the specifics of RankBrain, we do know Google’s main goal—fulfilling searcher intent. The best way to fulfill search intent is to provide the most accurate information in the best way possible for people who visit your page. Beyond content, the other factor here is user experience. How easy is it for users to find the information they are looking for on your site.
  • Location plays a big role in local search results as they are very attuned to the searcher’s location or the location included in the query. We can reinforce location information through:
    • Content: Using location in metadata and the body of content.
    • Schema markup: Code that tells search engines what content means. Location schema markup helps search engines easily identify and decipher location information.
    • Listing management and building: Building and maintaining correct business listings not only ensures users have the correct location information but also ensures Google has this information and reinforces your location.
  • Authority—being well known and trusted—is another important ranking factor. We send authoritative signals to Google by:
    • Backlinks: Links from other websites that point to your website. These work similarly to word-of-mouth referrals in real life. Both quantity and quality of these “referrals” are important. We want links from other sites that Google trusts.
    • Reviews: The number of reviews a local business receives, and the sentiment of those reviews, have a notable impact on their ability to rank in local results.
    • Citations: Multiple, consistent references to a business’s name, location, and phone number strengthen Google’s “trust” in the validity of that data.

Graphic explaining process of search engines algorithmic rankings

4 – How much content does a page need?

A common practice for determining word count is to match the length of the top-ranking pages for your targeted topic. While this method may help you figure out how thoroughly you should cover the topic, Search Engine Journal reminds us “it is important to remember that copy on a page should be there to aid the human visitor, not a search bot.” User intent is king in terms of determining the length of content. The key is to think about what a user is looking for when landing on your page from organic queries. Is your target audience looking for a quick, concise answer or a longer, more in-depth explanation?

5- When will I see results?

The timing of results from an SEO campaign can vary based on the strategies deployed, the competition within your industry, and your business’s characteristics. You can typically expect to see organic improvement at six, nine, and 12 months.

After deploying a targeted strategy, such as optimizing the content on a specific page, you will likely see initial movement in results (organic traffic to that page or keyword rankings for that targeted topic) at six months. Then, you can expect to see further growth at the nine-month mark. Finally, you should see a larger jump in results at 12 months.

6 – Why do my rankings fluctuate?

Fluctuations in rankings are completely normal and very common. Search engines are constantly crawling and recrawling websites and indexing new information. This means that a page’s rankings will naturally rise and fall as you and your competitors adjust your websites. Also, algorithm updates can cause these fluctuations because they affect how the ranking process works.

7 – How long do I need to run an SEO campaign?

The short answer here is forever. Search engine optimization is a long-term strategy. The internet is constantly evolving, and so are search engine results. Google is constantly improving its ranking system based on providing the best user experience, and therefore, what may have been best practice three years ago, may not be today.

Need help navigating the world of SEO? Search Influence is here to help. Contact our SEO experts to learn more about digital marketing strategies that can drive more customers to your website.