These FAQs are always expanding and gaining topics. We encourage you to ask an SEO question if it isnt already included. Just visit submit an SEO FAQ and we’ll respond to you and if it seems relevant to many we’ll add it here.
Domain Authority is a Moz.com metric meant to predict a domains ability to rank content on a search engine. It relies heavily on backlinks and anchor text just like Google. DA is a number between 0 to 100. It is increasingly harder to increase your domain authority. So a site may have 20 backlinks from 20 different sites and it earns a 10 DA but when that site has 40 domains linking to it its not going to have a 20 DA it might have a 15.
The Law Of Diminishing Returns is really easily seen in this topic. Over a 4 month period a DA33 site increased its linking domains from 400 to 800 and its DA increased to DA40. That was 7 points for double the domains. This site on 2/1/2019 has a DA41. A month ago this site had a DA40. In the last 30 days this site added about 34 domains linking to it for a total of 854. The other site previously mentioned had about 800 when it became a DA40 as well.
An indepth discuss is included in an article on the site. Domain Authority, Why Should I Care?
170 Meta Description Character Limit
There’s debate on this … but primarily its accepted that about 170 characters is the full length Google displays. It used to be a little lower and that’s why from time to time you may see 150 or 160 listed as the limit. Those lower numbers though are based on outdated info.
Writing A Good SEO Meta Description
Tons of programs and most free audit tools will check this for you but it’s also not as important as the description being:
A lot of sites leave these behind and never declare a description which leaves Google to create one for you, and its usually just the first couple sentences of an article. This is pretty bad for your conversion rate in organic search. Why check out the content if you author didn’t even bother to provide a decent description?
In the same thought your description should be unique. What makes this page worth clicking on? What makes this page any different from any other page on your site? If your descriptions aren’t unique then you don’t really make a case for why that specific page exists.
And while you may be selling something, keep in mind your description is not an advertisement for your business it is an ad for that page. This page for example should talk about SEO FAQs, even though I sell SEO Services and not SEO FAQs. A searcher seeking out SEO FAQs isn’t going to click on a description of the services I offer and a person seeking SEO services isn’t going to care much about meta descriptions if they are looking to contract that worry out to someone else.
Finally your description should be catchy… it needs to call out among the others and get someone to click on it. Overly technical descriptions will discourage someone seeking knowledge about that topic…so keep it simple. You dont need to prove your wealth of knowledge in the description as a person who is searching for information doesn’t know what you’re talking about likely … why would they be searching the topic if they already knew it?
What’s better for a page’s description with just this SEO FAQ on it?
- Check out our Many SEO FAQs including On Page, Off Page, Technical SEO by a Top Rated Freelancer And Ultimate SEO offering SEO Services
- SEO Meta Descriptions – Limits, Best Practices And The Way Its Done. How To Attract Searchers Using Proven Researched Methods – Ultimate SEO
Now each of the descriptions are less than 170 characters but one is a good description and the other is crap. If you’ve just Googled “Meta Descriptions” I’m betting you’re going to appreciate the second one better. And thats what the page is about. The first muddles the water up by mixing the page with the sites purpose and then advertising the credentials of the owner.
Another thing you may have noticed between 1 and 2 is capitalization. Research has shown that capitalizing the first letter of each word increases CTR. Its more eye catching but ITS NOT ALL CAPS so its not in your face.
And by the way…if you go over the length its not the end of the world. There’s no penalty there is just …
Likely this is the most annoying question I get but I get it…we all wanna know the future. Anyone who tells you a set time table is lying or doesn’t realize they don’t know. We can guestimate…and I mean guess estimate it. Cause for us to make an accurate quote on how long it will take we have to know what other people may be doing on the same keyword in the future and often they dont even know they are going to rank for that keyword a week from now.
You have to understand with 200 factors coming together in your ranking there are like thousands with there own 200 ranking factors that are going to play into the answer. Sometimes unrelated things like adding a huge blog post on something else with poorly optimized images can slow down the whole site and that speed decrease may be enough to move someone else a spot higher.
In broad general terms I’d say with backlink building from relevant sites using the correct anchor text, users clicking your search result more than the one above you and with some good content thats optimized you can rank at the top in less than a month for easier long tail keywords. It its a difficult keyword that has competition surrounding it Id expect it to take longer and Id be prepared for fluctuation some days you may lose some ground don’t get upset. The thing I’d focus on is the trend…is it climbing and can you keep up that pace? Here is a set of keywords I use to serve as a baseline for this site…I think the trend is the most important thing.
Let me show you how important it is….
Why is realtor.com not higher than zumper.com in the mobile search on the left? Consider these metrics
Realtor.com = Domain Score: 55 Trust Score 58 Alexa Rank 763 Registered 1996 Ads 3,900 Backlinks 57,000,000 Traffic Rank 108
Zumper.com = Domain Score: 37 Trust Score 44 Alexa Rank 17,000 Registered 2004 Ads 0 Backlinks 1,700,000 Traffic Rank 2830
In every metric realtor.com wins, so why is it below Zumper.com on the mobile search?
Site Speed Test on GTMetrix
Realtor.com Fails Speed
Zumper.com Passes Speed
So in this example we clearly see a more popular site beaten by a less established site and the single only factor the smaller site did better was speed. And we cant discount this as … well its only important in mobile. In case you missed it…
So…two cost centers here ….
The steps you take to address the tech issues…often they should pay for themselves. For example. I worked for a company that did like 20 million a year in sales, so not a mom and pap shop but a company. B2B data analytics kinda folks..so also dealing in some big deals likely.
They were using GoDaddy shared hosting …. I think I used that for a summer in my college days for hosting my personal blog about my life on campus. Thats NOT appropriate for an enterprise and it shows easily in page speed.
They paid like $5 a month. I made them a Digital Ocean 1 cpu 1gb ram virtual private server for $5 a month. Same cost …. but 12 second load times turned into 5 second. We also signed up for Cloudflare’s CDN free plan and saw another 2 second decrease.
So what was the cost?
Well me. Everything cost the same as when we started. But now they could deliver a site in 1/4 the time. Sure they paid me for my time but I’m pretty cheap. Imagine the boom that gave their conversions, site traffic, repeat visitors and ultimately sales. They probably made up for my time in one sale..
So Technical SEO should be seen as a revenue generator. And the costs associated can likely be improved for the price of a tank of gas. Use linux OS, Open Source Software, Virtual infrastructure and you’ve spent next to nothing.
Its just like investing in a coffee maker if you’re starbucks, with out it there isn’t any business.
Where are the best places to share articles that will help increase my site’s DA?
First … if you want to increase your DA you can but keep in mind thats a Moz dot com metric with no direct connection to Google page rank. DR AS DS CF TF are all also metrics that are proprietary and DA is really only useful when you consider it along with other metrics.
But so a primary decider in both of those metrics is referring domains on seperate ips that get traffic and are indexed on Google. Easy answer … every place you can put it. Now it’s important we note, we aren’t talking about just a link….but you noted an article, which is the way to build context around your link and build relevance. In content links … don’t come up in a menu, the header or the footer and sidebar but are in the body in the content.
So many domains…a guest post is probably the way to go. A guest post on a syndicated network is viable … it is not a pbn. A PBN is just a collection of sites that no one goes too, that don’t rank themselves for anything and are full of links.
You’re welcome to guest post on my site at Ultimate SEO Content Syndication Network pick the category and it gets approved for syndication. Once syndicated your article gets posted on various sites such as ultimate seo dot org which is my main site or my personal blog … or about 30 others each with their own unique purpose and audience. Now if you post to an obscure category it will go to less sites than say business. Just cause for instance a dental article wouldn’t make sense on my personal blog.
But thats what you’re after, as many unique viable sites that don’t all share the same ip that have some SEO metrics of their own.
Everyone wants links from sites like Home Page – MarketWatch or FORTUNE and they’re great to have but a natural link distribution would mean you have more mediocre sites than high ones…just high ones and it looks like you bought them….which you can but thats expensive.
Check out places to post an article that syndicate the content.
And just to make a point on content syndication vs a pbn cause some might not get the difference … The Associated Press is not a PBN but their content is on every newspaper’s website. Getting an article about you from the AP is great. Now where folks get weird is when we think of who gets credit for that article, if it’s printed on 100 different sites. That’s fine too though, Google figures out where it was first rather easily. A misconception about “Duplicate Content” is rampant in the SEO world and Google has said many times as far back as 10 yrs ago that Duplicate Content “isn’t a pressing concern.” There’s also no penalty to it and that concerns traffic credit to the page, which you as a Guest Author don’t need to worry about since it’s not your site anyhow.
They are just longer phrases with a more exact intent by a searcher. For instance SEO isn’t a long tail keyword. Ultimate SEO isn’t either but its twice as close to it. Ultimate SEO FAQs is just about there and you can see that its more and more specific… Ultimate SEO FAQs On Long Tail Keywords …. now thats a long tail keyword.
They are searched less but they are much more specific and its easier to rank well for them with the right content.
SEO can be divided into subdomains or topics in various ways. Often On-Page and Off-Page is an easy distinction. With things like keywords being “On Page SEO” and Backlinks being “Off Page SEO.” Additionally we could consider Technical SEO a distinct branch of SEO dealing with server technology, site speed and site structure.
Theres likely debate and I don’t claim to have tested everything out there but I’ve found this mix to be good for me.
WPA Auto Links – It auto adds links in your content when it recognizes a phrase you have already covered so it adds an internal link for you.
Yoast – Hands down the best most configurable SEO plugin for what you want people to see in search results. I rarely use the keyword tool where it says to add this word here or there. I also prefer xml site maps from a different plugin.
XML Site maps And Google News plugin just makes the files I want exactly the way I want.
Schema is another plugin that Yoast also does but I prefer a plugin that does it really well.
CyberSyn – For RSS feeds to posts, it gives the most features of any plugins I know of on WordPress for RSS to post.
Ultimate FAQs – I am a fan of FAQs all the time and anytime. I like that in this plugin they are all on one page together but a permalink exists to the specific FAQ on its own as well giving you the flexibility of serving it a la cart.
Smush – Image optimization is essential and without a plugin to ensure you’re not showing a 2000 x 2000 image in a 200 x 200 spot you’ll quickly lose control of your site’s load times.
Merge Minify Refresh – You’ll have 25 css and 20 js files on every page and this plugin helps tackle that with out breaking everything. I am NOT a fan of Auto-Optimize I usually find myself having to recover from backup after it auto does its thing.
404 to 301 – I like to 404 redirect to a search page that is likely to help someone find what they are after rather than just drop them on a 404 error page or the homepage.
WP-Optimize – I prefer this tool … always backup first but it does a good amount of cleaning and helps keep your database tables neat. Neat means faster page load times.
Negative SEO is a branch of SEO that largely came into existence with Google’s Penguin Update. For the first time in SEO a search engine was prepared to lower your ranking based on what it perceived to be a site gaming the system. Not only did site’s change the way they promoted themselves but this created a very real opportunity to harm competitor’s sites.
All you have to do to is mimic spammy promotion of a site to draw Google into penalizing that site. This can include:
- Building too many unnatural backlinks from low quality sites too quickly to have been organic
- Using anchor text with adult themes or words associated with low brow tactics.
- Associate the competitor or target site with link building schemes, such as a PBN.
- Duplicate content thereby watering down the value of their original content.
Google On Negative SEO
What is SEO based on?
SEO is a mutable, always changing field of half technology and half marketing. To my knowledge their are no independent third party nonprofit certifications offered in this expertise. I mention that because with 40 billion a year spent on SEO efforts you’d think there would be an unbiased professional group like ASTD is for training or CompTIA is for technology.
SEO is honestly the wild west. I’d say half of it is a total waste of time and money with folks operating on pre-2010 notions of repeating their keywords over and over on a page and expecting to rank. A lot of your DIY SEO efforts fall in to this area.
From there, 25% is likely On Page optimization which is not much better than the first part. Correctly placing optimized text here and there, insuring the headers are right and the alt-img tag has something … is the page title too long?
Paying no regard to the fact no one links to that content and it loads so slow that Google’s not going to rank it on the first 4 pages.
Finally we have 25% for Off Page … of which I’d bet half of this quarter is done incorrectly.
In the end, it’s the 13% of SEO effort that actually is relevant, executed properly and noticed by Google.
But in the end what all of this really comes down too is attempting to reverse engineer Google. Sure there are other search engines … ya right. No one is really trying to reverse engineer Bing…its a value added option to Google, the primary focus of anyone’s SEO efforts.
Officially, I should say the basis of SEO is on creating the best content that visitors will love to backlink too, that’s on the fastest, most secure network. But … its still reverse engineering Google.
Sometimes I have to remind clients … that backlink we just spent a week trying to get, it’ll provide us 0 traffic and with that … not one conversion. But that’s not really who the backlink is meant for … its there for Google to see.
We want local citations and mentions because they impress Google and elevate our search ranking which in turn drives traffic. No one really should expect traffic from the local chamber of commerce minute notes that links to us…but hey thats a great local search backlink that would be in content and from a trusted source.
That’s what makes it a field that you have to experiment with and be open to adapting the way you do things day by day.
For more reading we have an article on the site discussing SEO SEM SMM and SMO and whats the difference.
And when I said it is the wild west … it really is volatile. Heck look at this tool, ask yourself how many other industries have something like a daily scale letting them know how much upheavle there is in Google rankings for the day.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a broad term that covers actions intended to improve a web site or web page’s visibility within one or more search engines. Its ever evolving as the search engines change and the way they rank is updated.
In the earliest days of the internet Keywords and Keyword stuffing rained king. As search engines have evolved they no longer use old tools such as the meta keywords or keyword density. Keywords are still important but its their contextual use and placement that now matters.
SEO includes “off page” topics such as anchor text, backlinks and technical SEO. In all 200 factors go into consideration by Google when ranking sites for searches and each of these factors is arguably a subsection of SEO.
SEO can further be divided by Whitehat or Blackhat with many SEOs falling into a hybrid Greyhat area. Blackhat SEO is considered fast and risky with Whitehat meeting the requirements of a search engine and seek long term growth that may take some investment of time and money.
What is the best SEO audit tool?
So thats like asking whats the best tool for building a house?
Just like in building a house the right tool for the job is essential. So as an SEO, BSIT MBA MEd whos “top rated” by clients on Upwork and has tested in the top 10% there heres how I see it.
No automated free audit tool is really that much better than another because they cant accurately audit the 200+ signals that we suspect Google uses, because of course Google does not publish that. These tools are usually just lead generating gimmicks intended to gain your contact info so someone can actually follow up with ya. Now they are useful …. in like a heart monitor is useful. They cant diagnose the problem but they can be an indicator of something catastrophic.
I divide audits into groupings and each has a tool set.
- User Behavior – The most important factor…this includes bounce rate, how many pages they view, if they return, whats the CTR in Google Search Console…these are the most important signals. And it makes sense….if a page doesn’t include a phrase on the page but every time Google lists it first for a specific search everyone clicks it and stays on that site for an hour …. its safe to assume the site is relevant to the user’s search. So in this one I think the best tool is Google Search Console and then Google Analytics. You can combine the data in Data Studio for free.
- Backlinks and Mentions (What others think of the site) A Little less important than user behavior but a heck of a lot more important than meta tags and keywords are the off page signals. For this Google Search Console is a good tool again. Now if you’d like a site that breaks this into more then you have to consider that SEMRush .com SEOProfiler .com Moz .com and HREFS .com all crawl the web on their own. They are always going to have a smaller sample size than Google. So all of them are only as good as how fast they can crawl the web and start all over again. With that said I go with SEMRush .com and SEOProfiler .com as they are reasonably priced and I always use at least 2 because of the smaller sample size. You notice the often disagree on what site has how many backlinks and that’s fine I just average them in my head… I also like Monitor Backlinks for just monitoring backlinks.
A couple notes here … DA Domain Authority is no more accurate than Citation Flow or Trust Flow they aren’t accurate. Neither can fully predict Google’s algorithms and focusing on any one of these is as effective as chewing gum to treat a heart attack. Taken together they become more accurate…so know all three and SEMRush offers you DS with LIS from SEOProfiler so there are plenty of measures that eyeball it … but don’t get fixed on anyone. Its like looking over your three credit reports and trying to come up with a FICO score.
- The least important part is the most thought of part and the one that gets too much attention…the on page audits of a site. Any of the tools already mentioned with audit the site for broken links and error pages…so just use anyone of them. I use SEOProfiler then SEMRush’s audit but I also like WebSite Auditor as its available offline. On page though is the least accurate indicator to the relevancy of a page to a search. I’d give it maybe 30% of a site’s signals.
- Finally the often forgotten but important … especially in the world of mobile. ( Don’t forget over 50% of searches are mobile and Google has a separate index for them ) is Technical SEO. How long does the page take to load. GTMetrix .com is the tool I use for that.
Well so DA or Domain Authority is a proprietary guess by Moz dot com as to a domains ability to rank for a relevant keyword. It attempts to mimic Google PageRank, which is also proprietary so no one knows what’s exactly in it. We know it has 200 ranking factors and I’ve actually done an article on this on my own site but to be quicker …
its primarily a measure of the number of domains that link to your site, how old your site is and how much social buzz there is … now DA is just one measure. DR DS AS CF TF all are made by someone else but all try to mimic Google PageRank which is not publically shared.
There are hundreds if not thousands of free sites that give out DA. The just have to be linked up to Moz to pull the number they assign. There are also many bulk DA lookup tools out there for free.
I personally use Domain Detailer by Domain Hunter Gatherer. (I don’t work with or for them, I honestly just like their product) its great cause it gives you DA but in a useful way. DA by itself is worthless…only has value if you believe it too, cause its just their guess.
Domain Detailer also gives you Moz Backlinks, Majestic Backlinks count, Majestics Domain count, Majestics IP addresses count, CF TF Moz Rank, Page Rank and more…auto does it all…does it in bulk and you buy credits ahead of time. I think I paid like 30 bucks and can use it 10000 times or something.
Learn more about these SEO Metrics in these two articles:
Auto Blogging is the practice of increasing content across sites usually with the same content but sometimes with subtle changes in the wording. It’s done usually to pad content and it’s similar to syndicating news or guest postings that may appear on other sites.
Whats the issue with it? Well it cant be the most unique, fresh content if you’re auto blogging it. Even with the use of synonyms and word spinners the content is below grade and could carry duplicate content. You should ensure that the content isn’t plagiarized and give credit to the author. Canonical tags begin to play into this more where you get the use of the content but you provide the SEO value and credit back to the author.
Whats wrong with spinner content? Its not natural … consider the sentence … Its the day after Valentine’s Day here and I’m just hanging out with my dog. I got back “Its the after a long time after Valentine’s Day here and I’m simply spending time with my puppy.” from Free Article Spinner.com. There is a mishap in the beginning of the sentence now and now “I’m simply spending time with my puppy.” … how would it not be simply? Or how about another test sentence…
Get the point on Auto Blogging? I’d say you’re better off rewriting it yourself and now its not auto blogging.
James Cameron does what James Cameron does because James Cameron is James Cameron.
That is keyword stuffing. It’s easy to spot and pretty obvious. Think of a shameless self promotional tactic that just forces a keyword needless into a page’s content. It distracts visitors at best and at worst it hurts your SEO value.
In the early 2000s. Page Rank isn’t a publicly available factor anymore according to Google. You can monitor your page and domain using other metrics such as Domain Authority, Citation Flow and Trust Flow. These metrics are 3rd party measures of what they expect Google to see your site as for ranking keywords. They are not Google’s metrics. There are additional competing metrics from other sites as well and you should be aware of them all. Test them out and decide for yourself which numbers work best for you.
Ultimate SEO uses Domain Authority and Trust Flow along with Spam Score to help build a base depectition of a page’s ability to rank a keyword.
Keywords first and foremost should be located where they make sense. Don’t force them into a place just because you want that keyword.
With that said, Keywords should be in the page title, description, Img Alt tags, headers, and a few times in the content. Since each page needs to be unique I recommend focusing on a main keyword per page or post. That way you can focus on that keyword and all of the content on the page is relevant to the specific keyword.