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Common SEO Questions Answered

What is a Search Engine?
A search engine is an online database of websites that allows Internet users to search for information contained on websites listed in the database by “Keywords”. Keywords are words or phrases that Internet searchers are likely to use when looking for information on a specific topic. For example, the words “Victoria hotels” would likely be used when looking for information on accommodations in Victoria BC. Each search engine has slightly different behaviors and characteristics.

What is a Directory?
A directory is a search tool much like a search engine but with a few major differences. Directories tend to employ human editors to review and rank websites submitted to their database. DMOZ.org is one of the most well known examples of a directory. Most directories catalog websites based on a variety of topic categories such as Business and Economics, or Arts and Culture. Most directories demand payment before assigning a website review to one of their editors, although many, such as DMOZ are free.

What is PPC or Pay Per Click?
Companies such as Google and Yahoo Search Marketing allow webmasters the chance to purchase placement in an auction system. Advertisers pay for the traffic they recieve on a “per click” basis, hence the name “pay per click”. StepForth has Pay Per Click campaign management keyword research services designed to find the best performing keywords to bid on.

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Is there a simple solution to top placement?
There is no simple solution to attaining high search engine rankings. Search engine optimization (SEO) is time consuming work and requires current knowledge of the latest search engine guidelines, SEO tactics and web site structures that are most likely to improve rankings.

Are not all search engines the same?
Each search engine has its own unique characteristics. As businesses differ from one another, each search engine has found ways to make its service slightly different from the others.

Will my website stay at the #1 position once my website is placed there by StepForth?
Search Engine rankings fluctuate regularly, however, if your site is properly maintained by an SEO  specialist month to month then it is likely that the movement will usually be confined to within the top 10 positions.

My website did not get accepted last time I submitted to the search engines… why?
Search Engine listings are not guaranteed to everyone who posts a website to the Internet. Search engines are for-profit businesses and have the right to refuse to list any site for virtually any reason. At StepForth we specialize in getting sites listed on search engines. These days the engines will find your site on their own, so submission is seldom necessary. A properly optimized and linked website will stand the best chance of being listed.

How long does it take to see results?
It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. There are many factors which impact how long this will take based on the industry, website age, the level of competition for your desired target phrases, and a number of other factors. A properly optimized site has the best chance for quick results. Ask about our SEO services.

How do the Search Engines find websites?
There are two main ways a search engine can find a website to add to its database.

The first, and most common method of finding websites is through the use of a “spider”. Search engines send these spiders out to follow all links from page to page, and site to site. By having links from other relevant sites pointing to your site, the search engines will ultimately discover and index your website.

Another way, and most direct method is to accept submissions from website designers and optimizers. Most search engines have a “submit your URL” section inviting submissions from Internet users. Users can also submit an XML sitemap which can further help the search engines index and rank your website.

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What is a “Spider”?
A “spider” is a software program that travels the web examining websites in order to add them to a search engine database and rank them according to the specific ranking criteria for that search engine. Most search engines use spiders to quickly and efficiently canvas the web for information.

What is Web Site Optimization?
Web Site Optimization is the process of making websites search engine friendly. The process often involves minor modifications to, or additions of, several standard elements of a website.

What do you mean by Search Engine Friendly?
We use this term to describe a website that has specific elements added or modified to attract and please search engine spiders. Here is a link to an article that will provide you with more information: “Is Your Web Site Search Engine Friendly? Your Personal Checklist” – A StepForth SEO Tutorial

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Why might I need to have extra elements added to my website?
A search engine spider is an automated program that electronically probes every URL submitted to its database. As the spider is a computer program, it is designed to look for and rank very specific items on each page it probes. If those elements are present, the spider computes a higher ranking than it would if those elements were not present.

If these elements are so important, why didn’t they get added when my site was originally designed?
Most website designers haven’t learned the importance of search engine friendly design. In almost every case we’ve encountered, the site designer is a highly skilled and creative person whose job is to put your ideas on the web. More often than not, the designers have not received any training in web site optimization and don’t think about it while pursuing a cool looking design. Search engines are also constantly changing their ranking criteria. They do this to prevent gross manipulation of their search tools. Often, website designers are not fully up to date with changes at search engines.  At StepForth, we spend a good portion of our time studying how search engines work and how any sudden changes might effect our clients.

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Why don’t I just do the work myself and save money?
You can do the work yourself. You will need to continuously update your knowledge of how the various search engines work and any changes made in the way they work. This shouldn’t take you too much time. Once you get the hang of it, search engine optimization (SEO) can be as simple as re-shoeing the brake pads on your car or replacing the motherboard and system bios in your computer.

You should know that if you make a mistake in optimization and submission, it can take months to find the mistake and fix it, resubmit the site and obtain the search engine ranking you desired. Our 14+ years of experience with search engine optimization helps us avoid most mistakes.

 


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