An Intro To SEO: FAQs & Need-To-Knows For REW SEO Clients
Edit: Updated June 8, 2015
General SEO Questions
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization is a set of actions and standards intended to increase the amount of relevant, organic search traffic to a site. It can be seen as an alternative to paid traffic (like PPC) and traditional offline marketing; those are short-term solutions, whereas SEO has long-term benefits.
The act of SEO is a complex and constantly evolving process, which requires time, dedication and technical know-how to master. It includes everything from page set-up and content building to social media initiatives. It also requires thoughtful analysis, ongoing research and a comprehensive understanding of how the online world operates.
Why is content important?
Content is the main driving force in SEO. In this context, content refers to the words on the page and these words tell the search engines what a site is all about. In turn, the search engines are able to refer users looking for that information ("relevant users") to the site. High-quality, unique content helps to give search engines a clear picture of each site's purpose and function, which helps them decide which site is most likely to meet a user's needs. It's important to understand that search engines are concerned with user experience, first and foremost.
What's wrong with duplicate content?
In short, duplicate content is terrible for SEO. When you're looking for info on the internet, you don't want your query for "adorable cat photos" to return the same kitty cat 15 times. You want to see 15 different cats. Search engines like Google know this about their users, and that's why they strive to return unique results. If multiple sites use the same content, Google tries to show the original source only, and won't show the duplications.
What should my domain be?
If you don't already have an old domain with lots of "authority", then the best domains are consistent with your branding. The keywords appearing in a domain name have little bearing, if any, on search engine ranking – so they shouldn't even be a factor in your decision making. Pick something that looks great on a sign, is easy to remember, and reflects who you are.
When will I receive leads? / How long does SEO take?
ASAP! Unfortunately, it's impossible for any credible SEO consultant or company to give an exact figure or estimate of when leads will be generated. There are hundreds of factors that affect SEO, including competitors, domain age, keywords chosen, social media initiatives, client participation, budget and so forth. As your SEO writers, we do absolutely everything we can to get you quality leads as quickly as possible but we can never make promises about when, or how many.
How do you measure success in SEO?
It may be our natural instinct to use search engine rankings to measure SEO, but this is actually a highly inaccurate (and even counter-productive) metric for website success. That's because search engines like Google provide customized web results for each user depending on numerous factors, like social media, user location and search history. In other words, you and your next door neighbor can type the same phrase into a search engine and return entirely different results. Instead of looking at rankings, REW uses traffic and leads to measure success, as these are much more accurate metrics. We don't strive to increase rankings; we increase relevant traffic to your site.
I encourage you to read "Your Search Engine Rankings Don't Matter" , a blog post which further explains why we don't use ranking to determine success.
My competitor does exactly what you're telling me NOT to do and she ranks well. What gives?
Some old sites can get away with naughty SEO tactics simply because there are other factors keeping them afloat. We recommend and implement current "white hat" SEO tactics that follow search engine guidelines and Google recommendations. This way, we know our clients aren't going to be penalized. Seeing other sites "cheat" can be incredibly frustrating (we hate it too!) but there are two things to take away from this:
- It's just a matter of time before the non-compliant sites are taken to task by the search engines' frequent algorithmic updates.
- A new site simply doesn't have the authority to get away with ill-advised SEO tactics, which means it's just not a viable option.
Your competitors may be getting short-term benefits from shady practices, but our adherence to search engine professionalism is a long term approach which has consistently proven to be effective.
Working With REW
How do I get the most out of my SEO hours?
Our advice for best results is to allow our SEO writers to draft and optimize your content from scratch. In the past, real estate pages were written like travel guides, which allowed for nearly anyone to write the content. However, we now find that writing about very specific types of content in a calculated order has the best results, and therefore recommend having an SEO expert take care of all content development for you.
If budget is a concern, you may hire an external writer to draft content, which our experts will then optimize. While this may save some time, please note that we still estimate approximately 1 hour to adapt the content to meet our SEO standards; it's often best to save yourself the hassle and allow our team to look after your entire content creation!
Warning!: Many virtual assistants and bargain freelance writers will submit duplicate content that cannot be used by your REW writer for SEO. Ensure that all third-party writers are contributing 100% unique content.
Am I being billed for this?
Our official policy says it best: "As a general rule, our production team members' time is billable, and our Support staff's time is non-billable. You should always assume that when you are having a production staff member assist you with something (perform work for you, consult or handle communications) it is billable." REW writers bill for all custom work, communication, information processing and research related to your project. (Read more here.)
Can I have a phone call with my SEO writer?
Absolutely! However, phone calls are billable and most questions can be answered more efficiently through email, which also provides you with a permanent record. If you would like a phone call, simply ask your writer and he or she will schedule you in.
What about my social media?
Our SEO writing team will evaluate your social media on a case-by-case basis and make recommendations that are tailored specifically to you. We usually start tackling social media after your site's content framework is established and optimized.
Anything else I can do?
Get involved! The REW community is very active, which means that both clients and staff are routinely sharing valuable information. If you're looking to learn more, join the forums, request an invite to the REW Facebook group or sign up for a free REW blog. Keep in touch with the REW community, including your SEO writer, and you're likely to find limitless inspiration for ongoing growth and success.