SEO Webinar Follow-Up: Top SEO Questions Answered

You’ve got questions; we’ve got answers. Here are the top 52 SEO questions from the SEO webinar addressed by our experts. Still need help with your SEO? Call our representatives at 1-888-750-3996 to learn more about our SEO services.



If you missed our Less Pain, More Gain SEO Webinar, not to worry! You can view the video and webinar slides.

Due to time restraints, we weren’t able to address all the questions we received during the webinar, so we wanted to take some time to address them now.

For you convenience, these questions are organized by theme:

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On-site

1. On our product display page, where is the best place to put our product information?

Alison: There aren’t a lot of rules when it comes to information placement. Try not to push content too far down the page so that it’s hard to find and don’t do anything strange such as “hiding” the content from humans. Other than that, simply place the information where it works best for the shopper.

Jason: AsSEO specialists, we like to see content “above the fold”—visible without the visitor having to scroll down—but the key here should really be user experience. Keeping your visitors happy is a great way of keeping search engines happy.

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2. Should the description of a webpage be a phrase or keywords? Same for the Title?

Alison: Never simply list keywords for either. The Meta description should be marketing copy that clearly communicates the benefits of the destination page and entices shoppers to click through from the search results. The Title tag should clearly communicate the theme of the page using phrases that naturally contain important keywords. I recommend you watch the SEO Bootcamp video for a quick tutorial on this. You might also consider the Starter SEO Audit for personalized coaching.

Jason: And remember that SEOs very rarely mean single words when we say “keywords”. The keywords that we focus on are phrases. I would never suggest that a client target “shoes” as a keyword, but something like “women’s athletic shoes” could be an appropriate keyword or key phrase to incorporate.

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3. What are your thoughts on hyphens vs. underscores in URLs?

Alison: Hyphens are preferable. You are not doomed if you use underscores, but if I had my choice… hyphens.

Jason: I think all of us in SEO Marketing Services have a strong preference for hyphens. There is a technical argument to be made for hyphens, since search engines interpret hyphens as definitive separators, but I think there is an equally strong aesthetic argument to be made for them.

 

4. Can product description and Meta description be the same or is that considered duplicate content?

Alison: They can be the same and no, technically the search engines will not punish this type of content duplication.

Jason: Duplicate content concerns aside, however, I think it is also important to keep in mind that you are much more limited when it comes to your Meta description than you are with your product description. You may only have room for two sentences or so in your Meta description, while I would not recommend less than 100 words or so of descriptive text for your product description.

 

5. I have one product in four different models – so the Meta description is the same. Is this a problem of duplicate content and how do I resolve this?

Alison: It is a best practice to have unique Meta descriptions, even if the only differentiator is a size or small technical detail. Don’t let this keep you up at night, though. This is a common occurrence in ecommerce and Google understands the scenario. However, if you have the time, slightly differentiating between those four models would be the best practice.

Jason: I agree with Alison. Ideally, they should be unique, but that can be difficult in situations like this. I would still suggest, however, that the Title tags for these pages be unique.

 

6. Can you employ SEO keywords before your website goes live to the public? If so how?

Alison: If a website is not live, the search engines will not crawl or index it, so you won’t be able to build SEO relevance just yet. You can, however, start your SEO strategy ahead of your website launch. Properly structure your category architecture; map out the keywords for each page; implement your optimized content and tags… and so on. Then, when you go live, you are 100% ready for the search engines.

Jason: I think this is an excellent idea, since it gives you the chance to plan your website from an SEO standpoint before it goes live. Just be certain to install Google Analytics as well so that you can start capturing that valuable data as soon as you go live as well.

 

7. Once we use the name of the product in the URL there isn’t room for additional keywords – how do we handle this?

Alison: If you can include keywords in the URL, you should, but it certainly is not absolutely necessary. The Title tag will carry more weight. Use the targeted keywords there, in the page’s H1 tag, and definitely in the page’s content.

Jason: In many cases, you can adjust the name of your product to be more keyword friendly as well. If you wanted to target “athletic shoes”, then you may want to rename your “Brand X” product “Brand X Athletic Shoes”. This would as simple to incorporate into the URL text as the original brand name was, and would add a more natural feel to the keyword inclusion.

 

8. Are <h1> tags worth anything anymore?

Alison: Yes, and I still use them. The Title tag is far more important, but an H1 can help reinforce your Title tag strategy and is a great place for the page’s content “headline” or call to action.

Jason: H1’s still have some SEO weight behind them, and I think they make for a better readership experience as well. Headings are a great way to break up content and to encourage your visitor to read the rest of your content. A strong headline has always been a staple of advertising copy—both print and digital—and Alison makes an excellent point when she says that this is a great place for it.

 

9. Is it a bad thing to make the Title tag and H1 tag the same on the same the page?

Alison: I prefer these two tags to be different as they serve two different purposes. The Title tag is communicating the main theme of the page to the search engines and acting as a search result headline for potential visitors. The H1 tag is the headline on the page that visitors see once they are literally on that page. The difference is subtle, but I think they merit two different approaches.

Jason: I would not say it is absolutely terrible, but it would not be something that I would suggest. One should encourage visitors to click through to your site and the other should encourage them to read on once they are there. With that in mind, I might highlight free shipping and other incentives in the Title tag, while my H1 tag might be more focused on the quality of my products. The former would help set me apart from my competitors, who are offering similar products, while the later would help reassure my visitor that he or she will find what he is looking for on this page.

 

10. Content is important – but how long is too long in the product description or features?

Alison: Sadly, I cannot give a definitive length as every product and industry is different, but a good rule of thumb is to stop when the description starts impeding the shopping experience. If its length becomes disruptive or creates a strange user experience, you have gone too far.

Jason: This is another situation where you may want to have a friend give you feedback. Someone selling model cars and airplanes may wish to provide more description in order to satisfy an avid customer base, while someone selling refrigerator replacement parts may write less. There is not a magic number here that will impress the search engines, so base your decision on what will be most helpful for visitors. If you do that, then it could result in metrics—time on page, a lower bounce rate, etc.—that will impress search engines.

 

11. You mentioned having good website architecture. Is it provided with Volusion’s shopping cart? And if not how can I implement that?

Alison: If you activate SEO Friendly URLs, Volusion’s platform will take care of the technical side of things… but you will need to employ human logic to produce truly optimized architecture. I recommend you watch the SEO Bootcamp video for a quick tutorial on this.

Jason: A lot of what we were talking about with website architecture involves how your categories, subcategories and product pages are structured. No matter what platform you are using, there are good ways of organizing your inventory and bad ways of organizing your inventory. The SEO Bootcamp video, however, will give you an excellent guideline for thinking like one of your visitors and using your categories to help them find what they need.

 

12. What is a resource library?

Alison: A resource library is a collection of online resources that are valuable to your target market. For example, a knee brace store could provide guides to selecting a knee brace, videos on fitting specific knee braces, a glossary of brace related terms, tips for healing popular knee injuries, and more. Resource libraries are great for attracting traffic throughout the purchase cycle, as well as building authority and keyword relevancy.

Jason: Any well-organized, well-written material that helps educate your customers on more topics than product advice alone can be considered a resource library.

 

13. With keywords, if I have: “”mobile home furnace parts””, should that be written “”mobile, home, furnace, parts””? Do I need both?

Alison: It sounds like you are filling out your keyword tag. Due to significant abuse of the keyword tag, these tags are not utilized by the search engines. I would strongly recommend you apply this energy elsewhere on more valuable SEO activities, like your Title tags. That said, if you are really set on filling in keyword tags, it would be “mobile home furnace parts, furnace parts for mobile homes,” and so on. There used to be no space after the comma, but that no longer matters (much like the keyword tag itself.)

Jason: And keep in mind that single words like this do not really reflect how people search. People search using phrases, and Google is very efficient about matching those phrases with other relevant ones.

 

14. Why does Google and Yahoo re-write my page Title from what I have set? (Attendee provided an example that is removed to preserve their privacy.)

Alison: I would need to know more about the search term(s) being used to generate the result to truly diagnose the situation, but I will say Yahoo and Google reserve the right to display what they want. They will change the SERP result if they believe it provides a better result to the searcher. That said, if both Yahoo and Google are making the same exact change… there may be other issues at play here.

Jason: I see two possibilities: either your page’s Title tag is being overwritten or Google is pulling the information from elsewhere. I would check your default values first. If Google is pulling the information from elsewhere, there is not much you can do to change that.

 

15. We have a new drop ship website that sells similar products. How do you recommend differentiating product keywords and tags for companies with similar products that have very little differentiation?

Alison: Great question. The two sites should have unique content. There is no getting around that. Please don’t use the exact same content on both websites… it may save you time, but it will only cause SEO pain.

For the very similar products, you will likely target very similar keyword with slight modifications to reflect the slight differences. For example, I may sell 8, 10, 12 and 14 inch axels. These axels are essentially the same except for the size. I might target “widget axel” on all pages, but slightly modify that phrase for each page with the sizing. For example “8 inch widget axel” and “widget axels 8 inch” for the 8 inch product page.

Jason: I would follow Alison’s guidelines above, using slightly more generic terms for category pages and more targeted keywords for product pages. There might be a category that covers all of the products that she mentioned, and for that I would use “widget axel” as a keyword, saving the more specific terminology for individual product pages.

 

16. We have uploaded PDF files via FTP. Does this help SEO? Is there a better way to use this data?

Jason: The search engines are going to pay more attention to how the PDF is used on your site than they are to where they appear in your FTP folders. So long as the PDF is linked to from an appropriate page, I can see it providing some SEO value. However, the information would be much easier for the search engines to “digest” if it were in HTML instead.

Alison: The search engines can crawl PDFs if they are linked properly from the website so PDF’s can certainly be part of your SEO strategy, but Jason makes a great point here… HTML is just easier to crawl so you will get more crawl frequency. Only use the PDF format when it is best for the end user. Also, here is a great resource regarding SEO and PDFs… it’s a few years old, but much of it still holds true.

 

17. Are Trust logos and the Better Business Bureau important to establish trust?

Alison: As far as the Better Business Bureau, I don’t think membership in itself will necessarily influence search engines, but it might influence humans. Likewise, featuring trust logos on your website can establish trust for humans and have been shown to help conversion rates, but they will not influence search engines.

Jason: I personally would not hesitate to put a Better Business Bureau logo on my site, but I think there are much more important factors that go into trust signals. Positive reviews will get you much further, and I would encourage you customers to actively rate your business and products.

Alison: Also, don’t go bananas with trust logos. Choose a few compelling ones and disregard associations with no brand recognition or credibility. Too many logos can clutter the page and even have an adverse effect on trust if the website starts looking unprofessional.

 

18. Does the “product index”” on the footer of my site work as a sitemap and is it listed as sitemap in the code?

Jason: It isn’t a sitemap, but it has a similar function. Your product index is a way of “declaring” a full list of products to search engines. By having an up-to-date list of products that is stripped of all category duplication, and having them all at the same level (rather than some products being two pages deep and others being five pages deep), you are providing an easy way for search engines to examine your inventory. I have also seen some industries where website visitors prefer the product index as an easy way to look for specific product numbers.

Alison: For the record, your Volusion sitemap is located at www.YourDomain.com/sitemap.xml and will update dynamically as you add new products and categories, which is a huge time saver. This is the sitemap you would declare in robots.txt and submit to the search engines.

 

19. What Competition level should we work in?

Alison: It comes down to what resources you have at your disposal and your pain threshold. The more competitive a space, the more you will have to work. If you are uncertain, I would recommend mixing in competitive terms with long tail keywords… you’ll get traction for those long tail targets while you build momentum for the competitive terms over time. In fact, long tail terms can contain broader ones, so it’s a two bird, one stone situation.

Jason: I would just add that if you are working in at a more competitive level, you will want to make sure that your product pages are optimized early in your campaign, and not just your category pages. Product pages will naturally encourage you to focus on some of the more specific, long tail keywords that Alison mentioned.

 

20. What about using schemas, i.e., html tags

Jason: Schema markup is a particular kind of microdata that was developed in order to help search engines display more robust search results. When you see search results that display things like user ratings or pricing information, this is because the information is being pulled from schema markup. Google is still experimenting with how it would like to utilize schema markup, so using it is not a guarantee that you will see these “rich snippets”, but they are still your best chance. Fortunately, the Volusion platform automatically incorporates a lot of important schema markup.

Alison: Be sure to encourage customer reviews of your products. Volusion provides the necessary markup, but you need those reviews to have stars appear in your rich snippets. Those stars are arguably the most compelling Schema markup in ecommerce.

 

21. When you say 3 to 5 keywords per page, do you mean search keyword exact? Or does it include the plural too?

Jason: I would suggest 3 to 5 keywords per page, but using variations of those 3 to 5 keywords (such as plural versions) is an excellent practice, and those variations would not count as separate keywords. Having these keywords incorporated in your navigation text can also be beneficial, but be sure that it still appears to be useful to the visitor.

 

22. How do you do keyword research?

Jason: Our team uses a wide variety of measurements when doing our keyword research. We take search volume into consideration as well as proprietary metrics that we use to determine competition for that keyword. Depending on the client, sometimes we also examine existing traffic and optimization efforts or the efforts of their competitors. An assessment of search intent also plays a large role. We examine the way that the keyword relates to the buying cycle and then assign it to the right sort of page appropriately.

Alison: There are also automated tools that can help you with keyword research, but ultimately it requires human logic and strategy. Those tools are pointless without a human perspective.

 

23. My seo analyzers say redirecting links are present that may be errors on site. I looked at them and its volusion redirects to logins etc. is this hurting my site?

Alison: Speaking of automated tools… it sounds like you are using an automated tool for an SEO audit and that tool is saying “redirects are in place – potential issue”. (Automated tools are not so great with nuance.) Volusion adheres to redirect best practices, so I would wager this is not an issue. However, I usually block pages like the Log In page in a site’s robots.txt. This removes the page from Google’s radar, which is good as it is not a page I want ranked in the search results. I would prefer Google rank my more meaningful pages. If you are nervous about those redirected pages, disavow them in your robots file.

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Blogging

24. What do you mean by INTERNAL copywriter – is it a good idea to hire a copywriter to write content?

Jason: In our sample scenario, we were referring to a current employee who had a talent for writing content. If you do not have someone on staff that is a good writer, then an outside copywriter might be a good investment.

Alison: Agreed, but if you have in-house talent, use it. Your employees know your industry intimately and that brings a deep level of authenticity that is hard to achieve with outsourcing. That said, be aware that this writer isn’t free. Content creation can be a huge undertaking and you may need to adjust their other responsibilities or even hire additional manpower. Good content comes at a price.

 

25. Are we able to store an internal blog within our volusion website?

Alison: Volusion does not allow external blog software to be hosted on our servers. When I set up blogs for my clients, I use Blogger (a Google property) and place that blog on a subdomain such as blog.domain.com. Matt Cutts, the head honcho on Google’s Spam Team, made it clear back in 2007 that Google does not favor one over the other, but the SEO community continues to have the subdomain vs. subdirectory debate… because that’s how the SEO community is – we debate things to death. That said, I can say with certainty that I have had excellent SEO results hosting a blog on a subdomain. In some instances I also include a resource library on the website itself, but a subdomain blog in itself is very effective.

 

26. Should I be using my blog as main landing page, or keep my online store with the products as main page? Which would help with SEO more?

Jason: I would keep your home page product-focused, since it will be the main point of entry for your site and because it is the best way to help direct your visitors to the appropriate page of your website. The main thing that makes blogs such an asset for SEO is that they are content-driven, but there is no reason that your home page could not (or should not) have rich content as well.

Alison: In most instances, the content on your website and the content on your blog will be different in nature because they have different purposes… and thus, in most cases, they will attract different types of traffic. Thais is actually quite healthy and good for SEO in the long run. I would recommend optimizing these two properties with slightly different but complementary keyword strategies. That way they will reinforce one another, but not directly compete for the same traffic.

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Off-site

27. Do you recommend putting ads that link to your website on your blog?

Jason: You can certainly link back to your ecommerce website when appropriate; however, I would do this sparingly. Links within the text of the blog article itself will probably convert better than image based ads, such as banner ads.

Alison: You may have not literally meant ads, but just to be 100% safe, these links should not be ads, per se. You can create clickable images and buttons, and include natural links as needed, but I would not make them formal advertisements.

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28. If I buy ad on a reputable website, would that link help me? I am paying for it. Is this allowed?

Alison: The link itself won’t bolster SEO, but the traffic can be beneficial. First, it could send traffic that converts to sales. Those new sales could even become repeat clients. SEO aside, we all want more sales and loyal customers. Second, the traffic it sends can boost SEO if it is legitimate (not some bot) and displays nice engagement metrics which signals the traffic is “happy” with the website. I would ensure the link is nofollowed.

Jason: Ads on reputable and relevant websites are a great idea. Just be sure to use Analytics to find out which ads are producing a positive ROI. As Alison said, you should make sure that they are using nofollow links, but most webmasters will do this by default.

 

29. Mickey@ Super_Six_Two commented on Twitter: “guest blogging isn’t really a great idea” and referenced Matt Cutts’ recent blog post.

Alison: There has been a lot of hubbub going around the SEO community over the past 2 months about “guest blogging” thanks to Matt’s blog and the recent deindexing of the MyGuestBlog network. I agree that low quality guest blogs are bad, but as with everything in SEO, it’s all about execution. If you post on low quality blogs and include spammy links to your website, you’re doing it wrong. But having a well-written post featured on a high quality blog… that’s a good thing.

Matt Cutts followed up his post admitting “I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future.” So he agrees that guest blogging, when done correctly, is good for branding and outreach, which are in turn are good for SEO.

Jason: The culprits involved in Matt’s comment were largely guest blogging networks that were using dishonest practices. Just remember that good content is good content, whether you are hosting it on your site or you have published it elsewhere. To shield yourself from backlash, however, you can reach out to bloggers directly rather than relying on guest blogging networks.

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30. Would you create a Press Release within website and direct people here or publish separate?

Jason: For a true press release, I would use a distribution service or contact news sources directly to seek publication and coverage elsewhere. There is nothing wrong with publishing newsworthy stories on your own site or on your blog, but off-site SEO should be part of your strategy as well.

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Links penalties

31. What is a link penalty?

Jason: In order to combat abusive linking practices, Google has begun applying manual penalties to websites that have built blatantly unnatural link profiles. This frequently applies to websites that have bought links in the past. When we mentioned “link penalties” during our webinar, we were referring to penalties applied by individuals who work for Google and who have personally examined the website in question. These penalties are declared in the site’s Webmaster Tools.

Even if you do not have a link penalty of this kind, however, your rankings and organic traffic may still suffer from bad linking practices. Google’s algorithm updates have targeted this sort of behavior so that it can be penalized even if the site has not been manually reviewed. You may notice a dip in traffic after such an algorithm change, but there will not be a notification in Webmaster Tools that clarifies the situation.

 

32. On the blog post, please put the details of finding the bad links and how to use Disavow links. We haven’t bought links, but there have been a few sites linking to us that we don’t want.

Jason: Our colleague Tori has put together a great blog post that walks through the subject in detail.

Alison: You can also find link penalty removal advice on reliable resources like Moz, Search Engine Watch, SEO Book and Search Engine Journal.

 

33. If you have a manual action and tried to get rid of bad links and still have some. How do you know which ones are good and which are considered bad?

Jason: Take a careful look at the sites that are linking back to you. If the site is littered with unrelated links, or if the main purpose of the site seems to be for the purpose of backlinking, then this is probably a site that you would want to disavow.

Alison: You may want to look at your link profile’s anchor text as well. If you have a disproportionately high number of blatantly optimized links, the search engines will conclude that you have an inauthentic link profile. Also, as we mentioned in the webinar, learn from your mistakes and stop any link building that targets these low value websites or seeks to build links with over-optimized anchor text.

 

34. What is “submit site for reconsideration”? How do I do that?

Jason: If you have a manual link penalty on your site, you can clean up your link profile by contacting webmasters directly and by using the disavow tool. Once you have addressed these links, you can submit your site for reconsideration. This is an option available with your Webmaster Tools, and you should receive a message providing you with instructions if a manual penalty is applied to your site.

Alison: Submitting for reconsideration is basically saying to Google, “we did our best to clean things up, please have a look and let us know if we got it right.” Google might say no… and then it’s back to the drawing board, or they may like what they see and officially lift the penalty.

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Video

35. Do the search engines prefer “YouTube” over adding your own videos?

Jason: I would suggest uploading videos that you have created to YouTube and them embedding them in your site. YouTube makes this easy by providing you with the necessary coding in the “Share” tab of the video. YouTube is a Google property, and most of us in the SEO community suspect that Google treats these videos more favorable. There are other reasons for using embedded video that are covered in the question below.

Alison: In my opinion, Youtube is nearly always the way to go. Not only does YouTube show up with regularity into Google’s search results (Google loves Google products), but people also use YouTube as a search engine.

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36. Do the videos use up a lot of our data bandwidth

Jason: If you host the video on another site, such as YouTube, and then embed the video on your webpage, then you do not have to worry about the video taking up a lot of your website’s bandwidth.

Alison: It also means faster page load.

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37. Does using product video’s on YouTube from Manufactures on product help in ranks?

Alison: If your main objective with the video is increased visibility in the search results, a unique video of your own is ideal. That said, a manufacturer video can boost conversions and may have subtle SEO benefits.

Jason: A manufacturer’s video could increase the time that visitors spend on the page and help them make a purchasing decision. You will want to make sure that you have permission to use such a video, however, and embedding a video from a manufacturer means that you have no control over whether or not the video will be available in the future. For branding purposes, I normally suggest creating your own videos.

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38. What if the quality of the video isn’t up to par… such as an iphone video?

Jason: If the content of the video is valuable enough, then it can sometimes outshine poor recording quality. That said, if video is something that you want to incorporate into your marketing strategy on a regular basis, you may want to invest in an inexpensive HD video camera.

Alison: Also, context can come into play here. If the video is what we like to call “user generated content” (i.e. content created by a customer such as a review), the quality of the video is secondary to the authenticity. Sometimes a homemade video can be quite compelling.

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Social media

39. Can you tell me more about Volusion’s Facebook features?

Alison: The Volusion Knowledgebase has a fabulous collection of Facebook related resources that include advice articles and guides to setting up various Facebook related features.

 

40. What Social Media Management suite do you recommend?

Alison: Our team uses Hootsuite and are quite happy with it.

 

41. So do search engines give more weight to those sites with active social media accounts?

Jason: Absolutely. Social media sites provide search engines with a convenient way of picking up on trust and authority signals, and they use measurements taken from social media when determining ranking.

Alison: This probably goes without saying, but the social media activity needs be quality. Blasting posts without rhyme or reason will not benefit your SEO. It will just waste your time and – worst case scenario – possibly damages your branding and perceived quality.

You need a proper social media strategy that is aligned with your SEO and an engaged audience that interacts with your social media presence. If you are not sure about where to start with this, we have a very affordable Social Media Consulting service that can teach you the ropes. Or, if this is just not something you want to deal with at all, we have a full Social Media Marketing service.

 

42. We are not a brick and mortar store is it still important to have a Google Places page? Or is Google+ enough?

Jason: Google has stated on multiple occasions that they plan on incorporating these two products. For now, Google Places for Business remains important for those who rely on maps in Google’s search results to attract business. For those businesses that do not have a brick and mortar location, Google+ would be more appropriate.

 

43. Based on something on your third example – Why would Google+ profile be any use in B2B when selling wholesale to resellers? Google+ is a poor idea targeting individuals (weak version of FB profile). Or were you talking about Google Business listing for Google Maps? That one is very valuable in establishing credibility.

Jason: I would still suggest using Google+ if Google Authorship is something that you see as being valuable for your business. If, however, an ongoing Google+ presence is not something you see as valuable for your business, you might want to focus your social media efforts on a different platform, such as LinkedIn. Google Places for Business is certainly worthwhile if Google Maps establishes credibility in your industry.

Alison: It hasn’t really taken off yet, but you might consider Google Rel=publisher for your company or brand. I have heard more than one SEO expert theorize that it will increase in power and relevance. I think it’s worth exploring.

 

44. FYI – google places is going away and away and those listings will now be fed from google +

Jason: This is something that Google has expressed interest in doing for a couple of years now. For the time being, Google Places for Business is still accessible as a separate property.

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General SEO

45. SEO seems to be an ever-changing landscape with search engines (Google, Bing, etc.) continually changing their algorithms. How/should an individual keep on top of this?

Jason: There are several blogs available that provide a regular updates on search engine changes. Some of our personal favorites are Moz’s blog, Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land. If you are going to be doing SEO on your own, you should definitely place a high priority on your ongoing SEO education. There are several things that do not change about search engines, however: they will continue to reward good content and they will continue to target unethical marketing behavior. Stay committed to writing such content and stay away from “shady” SEO practices no matter how much time you are able to commit to your SEO education.

Alison: Be wary of the information you consume about SEO and don’t believe anything you read from unknown sources. There is a lot of inaccurate, reactionary and sensationalized SEO information out there. Stick with reputable sources like the ones Jason mentioned.

 

46. When we were creating a Workout Plan for the saw store, and Alison mentioned visual reading technology and someone observed, “Yep since visually impaired people will be using power saws…”

Alison: Ha ha! We had a bet on whether anyone would say anything. Jason wins!

Jason: Here is an awesome video of a blind person using a chainsaw for the first time.

Alison: Anyone can use power saws! And now they can order their power saw parts online.

 

47. Do you have a summary of the Google search algorithm change last August? We saw a significant traffic volume drop!

Jason: While Google will never explicitly confirm the exact changes they make to an algorithm, you can typically figure it out with a little research. Be sure to read only from trusted publications and SEO experts. The SEO community has a history of sensationalism and there are numerous unqualified folks masquerading as experts.

Alison: Moz provides a thorough Google Algorithm Change History that I find useful. In August Google launch Hummingbird… which was a huge algorithm shift, not merely a patch. Hummingbird impacted many ecommerce websites, placing a strong emphasis on content and long tail search. Volusion provides a terrific Hummingbird resource that I recommend every store owner review.

 

48. Is it true that you get higher SEO rankings if you buy extended time on domain name renewals?

Jason: Search engines do pay attention to the age of your domain, but there is a lot of debate as to how much weight they give it. There are even more uncertainties surrounding domain renewals and their effect on SEO. It seems logical for Google to see longer renewals as a positive signal, but their effect on Google’s search algorithm is purely speculative at this point.

There are also a lot of domain renewal scams out there that try to create urgency by attaching SEO importance to long-term domain renewals. Make sure to renew your domain through your current registrar or to thoroughly research any new registrar that is courting your business. How long should you renew your domain name for? You should base that decision on your business needs rather than gambling on any SEO benefit that it may or may not offer.

Alison: You just do not want your domain to expire; that leaves you very vulnerable as someone could buy your domain and thus acquire all the SEO you have built for it. Losing your domain is almost always heartbreaking.

 

49. My customers mainly speak Spanish. How does Google handle Spanish?

Jason: Most of the same SEO principles apply no matter what language your site is written in. Focus on quality content, unique title tags, appropriate URL text and logical website architecture. As long as your content is written with your customer’s convenience in mind, you should be able to optimize well in any language.

 

50. My site sits at www.czapparel.com, but I advertise www.cozone.us, which I purchased later, and now simply redirect to www.czapparel.com. Is this detrimental to SEO?

Jason: There are a few different types of redirects, and we always advise that you use a 301 redirect for SEO. This is the one that you are using now, so you should be fine. For branding purposes, however, I would start using the primary domain in future advertising material.

 

51. My website at www.skyboyphotos.com has been at that url, with google analytics, for five or six years, but I have just migrated to Volusion. Now of course, all pages URLs are brand new, as well as metadata. So, What SEO will still be helpful that might have “grandfathered” in? How can I leverage it?

Alison: Your home page SEO will carry over, but I am concerned about your deeper pages. Thankfully you have historical analytics data – that will make this much easier! First, go into analytics and export your top landing pages. Next, determine where these pages now reside (i.e. their new URL). If you have thousands of landing pages, start with your most popular landing pages – the ones that really drive traffic and revenue. Last, set up 301 redirects from your old URLs to their new location. This will formally relocate the pages for the search engines and redirect any human traffic that is resulting from existing inbound links. 301 redirects are critical for these sorts of moves so do this as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more SEO mojo you may lose.

 

52. My SEO stinks and I cannot afford a PRO. What can I do if I can’t afford a SEO Pro?

Alison: You will need to become your store’s SEO pro. It is no easy feat, but you can start by reading a few beginner SEO guides from reputable resources like Moz and SEO Book. Attend informational webinars when you can. Then set aside several hours each week to reach up on the latest SEO and search marketing news. You might sign up for Newsletters from the resources like Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land. You can also jumpstart your SEO education with an educational SEO Audit. Both the Starter SEO Audit and the Advanced SEO Audit are structured to advise and educate.

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About 

Alison Garrison is Volusion’s SEO Group Manager, overseeing a team of passionate SEO and social media experts. Armed with a Liberal Arts degree from Kenyon College and an MBA from SMU, Alison has optimized more sites than she can count. When she isn’t obsessing over search marketing, you can find her with Hilly Bean, Olive & Lamar (her dog and two cats), reading SciFi or exploring the beautiful city of Austin with her husband.

2 Responses to “SEO Webinar Follow-Up: Top SEO Questions Answered”

  1. glen mulder

    Any chance Volusion could take a look at your Photo Alt Text issues? Right now it uses the product name as the Photo Alt Text, when you enter a photo alt text nothing happens. The product name is still displayed on the product page, this negatively affects SEO because google sees it as no photo alt text. Please fix this.

    Reply
    • Alison Garrison

      Hello Glen,

      I apologize for the delayed response. Your comment was just brought to my attention on Friday, but it is a really important one that I am very happy to address.

      I have reviewed your correspondence with the tech team, and there appears to be some confusion. The photo Alt text is working perfectly. I think the confusion arose in regards to the hover text display. When you hover over an image, most browsers will display the image Title. They do not display the Alt text. If you look at the page code, however, the Alt text is coded exactly as declared in the software. Likewise, if you disable the images (I use the Web Developer plug in to disable images), you will clearly see the Alt text displays in the place of the image. I tested this on your Hunger Games and Universal Soldier product pages and both display your Alt text perfectly.

      The Alt attribute and image Title are two different tags and the search engines use them in slightly different ways, with the Alt Attribute being the more important of the two from an SEO perspective. This article from Ann Smarty is a really great resource that clearly explains the differences.

      I hope this is helpful! You are definitely applying your energy in one of the right places. Alt text is a great SEO tactic for image driven products.

      Reply

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