Answers To SEO Questions You Were Too Afraid To Ask
No matter how long you’ve been in the industry, you’ll have questions to ask about SEO. Whether it’s on-page, off-page or technical, there’s a lot of subject matter to ask about! In this blog, I will highlight and answer some of the most common questions about SEO (apart from “what is SEO?”) Read on to learn more!
What are meta descriptions and are they still useful?
To put simply, a meta description is the little snippet of text you see on a search result snippet below the headline and URL. You can set your own meta description for each page on your website, but Google doesn’t have to show the meta description you set. In fact, research shows that Google will rewrite your meta description over 60% of the time.
Whether your meta description shows or not is entirely based on how relevant your meta description is to the search query used. If Google finds a piece of content on your page that is more relevant to the search term, Google will rewrite your meta description with the more relevant content instead.
What is alt text?
An alt text/alt tag is an attribute that can be used on img tags. Alt text serves as a way for users to descriptively explain what an image is showing. It is used by search engines to understand what the image is about, and it will be shown to users if for whatever reason the image itself fails to load. Whilst search engines such as Google have invested a lot so their bots and algorithms can better understand what an image is about, it is still best to use alt tags to show how your images are relevant to the written content on the page. It’s also a very important thing to remember if you are trying to optimise your images for Google Image searches.
What is an “EMD?”
An EMD stands for “Exact Match Domain.” Back in the day, a website could rank extremely well for a keyword by simply registering a domain name with the keyword in it – this is what an exact match domain is. In fact, EMDs still work on Bing for example. However on Google, the world’s most popular search engine, you won’t get very far if you try to use this tactic today. In fact, Google released an update in 2012 to specifically target spammy EMDs.
Am I using the right number of keywords?
There’s no such thing as the “right number of keywords” unless you just want that pretty green bullet from Yoast. The fact is keyword density is not a thing. Similar to the EMD tactic, back in the wild west days of SEO you could just spam your exact keyword across your content and you’d magically rank for it. Today, you’ll just get a penalty and your website won’t rank at all.
What is an inbound link and an outbound link?
An inbound link is a backlink from another website pointing to your website. An outbound link is a link from your website pointing to another website.
Bonus: an internal link is a link on your website to another page on your website.
Do I need to know how to code?
Short answer: no. You technically don’t need coding knowledge to do the core aspects of SEO. Long answer: definitely. The more technical aspects of SEO require some sort of knowledge of how a website works, such as HTML, CSS, JS and PHP.
If you’re going to do website SEO, eventually there will come a time where you’ll have to put some coding skills into practice.
What is robots.txt?
Robots.txt is a text file on your server which tells search engine crawlers which pages/resources they are allowed to access and which they aren’t allowed to access.
What is htaccess?
The .HTACCESS file is a server configuration file which dictates how the server should handle specific requests. As an example of how technically important it is, the .HTACCESS file is where the website URL structure is determined. For a more SEO example, the .HTACCESS is the server-side method of redirecting URLs (redirect plugins are client-side.)
What is a sitemap?
A sitemap is an index of all the pages and posts on your website which search engines can use to quickly locate all the pages on your website. It is generally either an XML file or a plain page with a list of URLs.
What is the difference between indexing and crawling?
Crawling is when a search engine bot is discovering your website and pages. Indexed means the page has actually been added to Google’s index and is able to show up on the search results. Just because a page is crawled/discovered does not necessarily mean it is indexed, and just because a page is indexed does not mean it will be guaranteed a spot in the search results.
How can I see if a page is indexed?
The quick and basic way is to search Google with the site:domain.com parameter. This will filter the search results to only show pages from domain.com.
The more advanced and useful way is to use Google Search Console where you can find some extra information such as when the page was last crawled, mobile usability, rich snippets etc.