Blog Post

Top SEO Questions for 2014


Lots of people have questions about SEO. We answered them in a video last year, but we wanted to revisit the topic to answer the questions people are asking now. SEO is constantly changing, so having an eye on it is important, and understanding the current climate is harder to keep up with. Watch today's Daily Brown Bag to learn the top SEO questions of 2014 and our answers to them.

Also available on YouTube.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hello and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today we're going to be talking about some of the top SEO questions that we get. I'm Chad Hill and I'm joined by Adam Stetzer.

Hey, good afternoon Chad. It's fun to be updating this video for the top SEO questions in 2014. I know we've done it in previous years, but SEO is a fast moving industry and things change. So let's dive right into this Chad.

Is SEO dead?

First one, one of my favorites, read this all the time. Is SEO dead? And people like to claim that, it's a great headline, I think every year I've seen SEO is dead in 2000 and insert your year here. The answer to this folks is no, it is not. However, it has changed quite a bit. Spammy practices that offer quick short-term solutions, quick hits, those are definitely dead and more than ever would get you in trouble via penalty with Google as they've moved aggressively to tighten up their algorithm. SEO has definitely evolved, has much more PR, much more brand focus. You have to do it differently. Things both onsite and offsite are different but we know from Matt Cutts and Google that back links are still a major factor. In the algorithm, onsite factors are still very important and SEOs, therefore very much still alive.

Is SEO against Google's guidelines?

Good one, so the next one here is, is SEO against Google's guidelines? So I think in general this is a very interesting one and a lot of debate this year, but I think in general SEO is not. Now Google provides in something called the Webmaster Guidelines, some very specific guidelines about what they say you should do or mostly what you cannot do. And for the most part those are very clear, but there are a few especially with the one that says you cannot participate in link schemes that is very difficult and hard to understand. So we actually have a great Q&A webinar that we've done on that and if you're interested in learning more about how to understand the Webmaster Guidelines and what's possible in 2014 and what's not, I'd recommend taking a look at that.

Should you only do SEO?

Yeah, it's a good one Chad. So moving down our list of top SEO questions in 2014. Should you only do SEO? It's a good Chad and I know people are tempted to think, well, if that's going to be ultimately the lowest cost per lead, which we have some data that suggests it is, it's very tempting particularly when you're running Pay-Per-Click advertising and your PPC bill is very, very high, you're working on social media and you're just not able to nail down that return on investment, analysis, email feels old to you, you might turn towards SEO. The answer here on should you only do SEO is absolutely not.

A couple reasons here Chad. One is, people get into the magic bullet thinking that this is going to solve all their marketing woes and bring tons of leads and it just doesn't work that way. You really need a well rounded and diversified marketing strategy. And when it comes to online digital marketing, the SEO is definitely a part of that, but your tactic should really compliment each other between the content you're creating, the PPC strategy you have, your email marketing and nurture, your social media as well as your SEO particularly with some of these other questions we've talked about, and how Google has changed, and SEO has evolved. It's more and more emerging into PR and you should definitely be doing these things in concert and not only doing SEO.

Which is better, SEO or PPC?

Great, next up is, which is better, SEO or Pay-Per-Click? And usually a lot of people that ask this question come to us and say I have this amount of money and I can either do Pay-Per-Click or SEO. Our general answer is, it's always great to do both and it really comes down to what is your time horizon for seeing results. The beauty of Pay-Per-Click is that you can literally put your credit card in today and have your ads up and running immediately. Whereas with SEO it's always going to take time because you're making changes to your website, you're running content marketing programs and those always take a while to work their way through Google's algorithms and ultimately see improvements in rankings.

So if possible, do both. They compliment each other. There's a lot of data out there that says that you get incremental benefits when paid search works with the organic, but then again just look at what your time horizon is. SEO is going to have a better long term ROI.

Should I only focus on Google?

Should I only focus on Google? Well, this is a tough one Chad because we very much want the answer to be no because we believe in diversified marketing strategies, having multiple channels, going where your audience is and understanding what our audience is looking for, and they maybe in niche markets. But the reality is according to the latest comScore data that Google still does hold a decidingly large lead in search traffic at 68%. Bing is the runner-up at 18.7%. So that means for most people, Google is going to be the place where they see the most traffic, but we still think you should do your research, know your audience and try to diversify as much as possible within the landscape that we're in today.

Do you need to keep doing SEO after your rankings improve?

My next one here is a great one. Do you need to keep doing SEO after your rankings improve? It's a great one because it really gets to the heart of what SEO is. SEO is part what you do to your website, the onsite optimizations but then a lot of it is what happens off your site and how you can earn links and get citations back to your website. So even if you have rankings today, if you stop working on promoting your business and being cited across the web, what's going to happen is that your competitors are going to see your spot and want to get to where you are. So they start doing those activities and start pushing you down. So there is in most cases a need to do some type of ongoing SEO program.

Now the beauty of that is that more and more the kinds of things you do for SEO to help improve your rankings and keep your rankings are the same things you should be doing to promote your business in general from a general marketing stand point. So in most cases today if you're doing smart marketing for your business, you are getting ongoing SEO benefit from that.

Do I need to be involved in my SEO?

And that leads very well Chad in our last question here which is, do I need to be involved in my SEO? And as you just said and I stated earlier, more and more SEO and public relations activities are merging as the landscape of what is okay to do an SEO and what the Google guidelines say we can recommend to clients is changing. So the answer here is, absolutely you need to be involved whether you're doing your SEO in-house or you're sending it out to an outsourced vendor. You need to know what's going on and you also need to know what's working and not working.

You need to be involved in the idea generation, the research, and some of the content development because as we've talked about, that would be very useful for you in multiple channels. The better your SEO team understands the business and better understands your audience and the goals you're trying to achieve, of course the better the outcomes are going to be. And all facets of your online marketing really should have some integrated touch point with SEO to create better results. So I guess the short answer on this Chad is the days of set it and forget it SEO are long gone and that's just not how things are.

So that wraps up our top questions about SEO in 2014. I hope these are helpful for you. We'd like to see your comments and your feedback, and we do hope you'll subscribe to our YouTube channel.