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Frequently Asked SEO Questions

The following frequently asked SEO questions and answers have been collected over the years to help you in your task of researching this often confusing field.

If you have a question that needs answering, you will likely find it here, but if you have a question not listed below feel free to contact us anytime. We look forward to helping you. Call 1-877-385-5526 toll-free in North America or (250) 385-1190 in the Victoria Area or outside of North America.


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 contained in the database by “Keywords”. Keywords are words that Internet searches are likely to use when looking for information on a specific topic. For example, the words “grad schools” would likely be used when looking for information on continuing post-secondary education. 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. Yahoo! is the most well known example 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.

What is PPC or Pay Per Click?
Several Search tools are now offering Pay Per Click (PPC) rankings. Companies such as Google and Yahoo Search Marketing allow webmasters the chance to purchase placement in an auction system. StepForth has PPC Management Services and keyword research services designed to find the best performing keywords to bid on.

What is Search Engine Optimization? (aka What is SEO? )
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) 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 does Search Engine Friendly mean?
We use this term to describe a website that has specific elements added or modified to attract and please search engine spiders or live directory editors. 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


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 search engine optimization and don’t think about it while pursuing a  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 significant portion of our time studying how search engines work and how any sudden changes might effect our clients so that we can minimize the impact on their rankings when changes inevitably occur.

Why don’t I just do the work myself and save money?
You can do the work yourself but why? Wouldn’t the time it took to learn how to competently conduct a web marketing campaign be better spent making money for your company? We are here to be your experts. With over 11 years of web marketing experience our guidance will give you piece of mind that the advice you are receiving is second to none.

Is there a simple solution to top search engine rankings?
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 all search engines the same?
Each search tool has its own unique characteristics. As businesses differ from one another, each search tool has found ways to make its service slightly different from other search tools.

Will my website stay highly ranked after StepForth completes the SEO service?
Search engine rankings cannot be controlled, however, if your site is properly maintained by search engine specialists month to month then it is likely that the movement will be confined to within the top10 positions.

Why didn’t my website get a top ranking when I submitted it to Google?
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. We ensure all bases are covered and all necessary elements are present before submitting the finalized site to the search engines or directories.

How long does it take to achieve a top search engine ranking?
It can take between 4 – 16 weeks to see results, depending on each search engine and up to a year if you are trying to achieve a top ranking in a ultra-competitive field. StepForth staff will make it very clear how long you can expect before rankings will appear. Once we start a SEO campaign we begin tracking your website’s performance up to 14 days after submission. We will forward all ranking results on a monthly basis along with commentary on the progress of the campaign(s) and (if applicable) what needs to be done to improve rankings.


How do search engines find websites?
There are two ways a search engine can find a website to add to its database. The first 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.

The second, and most common method is for search engines to find websites in the course of their daily spidering routines. What do we mean by “spidering”? Essentially a search engine uses a program to follow (“spider”) nearly every link it finds online and as it finds links it stores (indexes, or catalogues) the information for later processing.

What is a “Spider”?

A “spider” is an electronic robot 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 canvass the web for information.

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