Five Top Questions about Search Engine Optimization

When you start the search optimization campaign for your new blog or web site, a few questions always occur. Here are answers to the most frequent questions about SEO.

1) How long does it take to see results from a search engine optimization campaign, is a common question.

A new, well optimized web page may take weeks to get indexed and show up in the search results. For a new web page to be search optimized, and then move into the first page of Google search results is  another story.

Think of search optimization for any individual blog post or web page as an iterative process. You may build a new page or optimize an existing page. You wait a week or two to see the new results in your search page result rank. Then you study the competing pages that rank above you in search results, to see what characteristics of that page made it successful in the search engine competition. You optimize again and then wait to see how Google reacts to your optimizations. You repeat this process until your pages rank on the first page of Google search results.

But we still haven’t answered the question. This can depend on how well optimized your competitors’ web pages are optimized. If competing web pages are poorly optimized, your optimized web pages with useful content may rank on the first search engine result page within the first few weeks or months. This is often the case with retail web pages, technical web pages or hobby web pages. If there are many well optimized competitors you may face months of work to move your web pages to the first page of search results.

2) How many web pages should I optimize for keywords in my blog or web site?

We should focus one web page on one keyword. Many businesses try to get by with less than ten pages of content. This is a strategic mistake. Here’s why.

It’s typical for only 20% to 40% of our keyword focused pages to make it into the first page of Google search results. So if you only optimize 10 keyword focused pages, then you can expect only 3 to 4 pages to do well. The optimized pages that make it to the top of the first page of search results, typically see a nice increase in natural search visitors.

The key here is to optimize up to 100 web pages focused on one keyword each. By optimizing this many pages, your eventual result will be 30 to 40 high ranked pages that pull more natural search visitors to your blog.

3) What’s the minimum amount of content I should write on each web page t0 rank well in search results?

From experience we know that a page with only a few words will be judged to be insignificant, by the search engines. The threshold for a significant page seems to be greater than 300 words. It’s useful to see the word count on competing web pages that were successful in ranking on the first page of Google search results. The word count on successful pages may give you a rough idea of how much content to build, but this is not the main concern. There are other factors such as internal links and external links to your web page. It’s most important to build content that will be useful to your readers in some way. If the  content you build for one of your keywords is useful in informing your readers, they may see it as valuable enough to share with others through links or bookmarks  in social media, by writing comments or by linking to your keyword dedicated web pages from their web pages or blogs to your web page.

4) If my web pages rank in the first page of search results, how long will they stay there?

This depends on how often your competitors optimize their web pages. If competitors have not optimized their pages you may hold a first page ranking for years. This makes SEO one of the best values in advertising.

If competing web sites update useful information on a frequent basis, or if competing web sites are frequently linked to by other web sites, other blogs or from social media, your top ranking may fade away over several months.

5) How does search engine optimizing compare to other types of online marketing?

In 2004, I optimized a commercial recording studio web site for several keywords that we felt would bring musicians in the doors. One of those keyword phrases was “atlanta demo recording”. As of today, that website still ranks in the first and second position in search results for that keyword. The result was that many musicians each month would call or email the recording studio to book recording time. The studio manager and owner were pleased with the resulting increase in business.

How valuable is this to a business? That same web site is still generating business income, seven years after the last consulting fee was paid. That studio is essentially still gaining business from SEO work that has cost them nothing for seven years. That’s a good value.

What questions do you have about search engine optimization? Your question may be selected to be answered in a future AgileScout blog post.

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