An SEO FAQ: The 5 Most Common SEO Questions We Get from Clients
Here at Perfect Search, we’ve found through years of experience, testing, and reporting, that a solid SEO & Content strategy can be great for websites. From growing brand awareness via the SERPs to creating a new stream of organic users to the sites, there isn’t a site out there that can’t benefit from a strong SEO campaign.
Our goal is not only to improve our clients’ websites, but we also want to help our clients grow as marketers and understand how and why SEO works. That’s why we love getting questions from clients and diving deep into the reasoning behind our strategies.
With that in mind, here’s five of the most common SEO questions we hear from clients.
1) We’ve been working together for a couple of weeks now. When can we expect to see results?
We listed this one first because it’s undoubtedly the most common question we get—and we understand why. Clients are investing in SEO to improve their organic traffic, conversions, and keyword rankings, and they want to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth. From a business perspective, it’s a totally valid question.
What we tell all our clients is that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. In a perfect world, results could theoretically come in around the 3-month mark of working together; however, that number can sometimes be closer to 6 months or even a year depending on a variety of circumstances such as the site’s historical performance, what the SERP competition looks like, and such.
SEO can have some very powerful and long-lasting effects on a site, but it’s not an overnight solution. In other words, buckle up and don’t worry. We’re in it with you for the long haul.
2) Our goal is to rank first for “[single-word keyword]”—how can we make that happen?
Ranking for any keyword is a tough venture, and that only gets harder the broader the keyword becomes. Our advice to clients is not get caught up on search volume alone and to think about the intent of the keyword.
For example, let’s say you run a business selling decorations for birthday parties and you decided you wanted your homepage to rank first for the keyword “birthday.” It makes sense on paper that it’s a ranking you’d like, but it’s a near-impossible task.
Looking at what websites rank on the first page when searching a keyword like “birthday” can tell us what users are really looking for with that query. After all, search engines wouldn’t rank websites that aren’t relevant to the search.
In this example, two of the top three organic results are Wikipedia and Merriam-Webster, which tells us that users are looking to learn more about the definition and meaning of the word. Since our homepage isn’t really focused on defining what a “birthday” is, we’d have a very uphill battle to getting on the first page, let alone to the top three results.
Instead, it would be a better payoff to focus on more long-tail keywords such as “bulk birthday decorations for kids” for example, even if the search volume is a fraction of “birthday.” It’s better to get 10% of the traffic from a keyword that’s searched 50 times a month than it is to get 0% of traffic from a keyword with thousands of searches.
3) How should we interpret users coming to our site via branded keywords?
Unless your company has a brand name that can be misconstrued for something other than your business, most of our clients have seen that their largest drivers of organic traffic are all branded keywords. And as much as we want to chalk that up to our SEO success, usually it’s part of a much larger picture.
We can only help rank for keywords that people are searching, but we can’t make them search for the keywords we want. If many people are looking for your brand, it means they’ve heard it or seen it somewhere else and want to learn more about you. While SEO can play a part in word-of-mouth marketing, it’s only one small slice of the pie.
4) What is the value of SEO-focused content?
The value of content for SEO—and this is putting it lightly—is huge. One source of confusion we hear a lot from clients is something along the lines of: “this page mentions this keyword but isn’t ranking for it, so can you get it on the first page?”
Sometimes that is something we can do by optimizing the content, cleaning up the meta data, adding schema, and improving the site’s technical health. However, most of the time, the truth is that the page isn’t ranking because the content on that page isn’t tied to the searcher intent behind the keyword.
That’s why content is so vital to SEO. For any keyword a website wants to rank for, the solution is usually a blog that specifically goes after it and provides the reader with valuable information—not just a random webpage that happens to mention the keyword a couple of times. A comprehensive SEO-informed content strategy is the way for your brand to diversify its keyword portfolio, drive more organic traffic, grow your backlink profile, increase domain authority, and so much more.
Which leads us to our last common question…
5) How do blogs lead to conversions?
While it’s not universal, many brands will report that they see a very high bounce rate on their blog pages. By a lot of metrics, a 70% bounce rate on blogs is considered good, while the average is around 80%. This creates the question: if 8 out of 10 visitors leave without clicking to a second page on the site, how is that valuable? Wouldn’t it be more valuable to target pages further down the funnel?
With SEO, we like to tell our clients the old adage: “a rising tide raises all ships.” While blogs don’t necessarily drive conversions directly, a well-written, well-optimized blog does accomplish a lot of things that help SEO: they’ll garner backlinks that will increase a site’s E-A-T, they’ll show search engines the site is updated with fresh content and clicks from the SERPs will show that users want to come to your site.
While it’s a little bit of a longer road, all of that will raise your reputation within the search engine algorithms, making it more likely you’ll earn rankings for the more competitive, conversion-driving keywords on your pages further down the sales funnel.
Curious about the five most common SEO mistakes you need to avoid? Read this.
Have other burning questions about SEO? We’re happy to help! Request an audit today and we’ll help get your questions answered.