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Answers to Common SEO Questions for Marketers

By Fred Steuart on Dec 18, 2018 2:00:28 PM

We've been focusing a fair bit on SEO in some of our recent articles, so we thought it'd be a good time to change it up just a bit and answer some questions we often get surrounding rankings, SEO tactics, and best practices that content marketers need to know. 

1. Should I re-publish older posts to boost my ranking?

Short answer: yes!

A potentially effective tactic for giving your site a bit of a traffic boost is to re-publish old content. Often these are blog posts or news articles that are updated to reflect additional or corrected information.

But this tactic comes with a catch.

You can't just modify a paragraph or two, rearrange things, or add a couple of new images then adjust the published date and voila, that post is suddenly getting more traffic than a Walmart on Black Friday. 

Your updated content needs to be significantly different than the previous version for Google to care.

If not, those changes won't improve your SEO apart from a possible, short-lived increase in traffic to that post from any promotion. Other than that, don't expect much out of it.

Google is pretty smart, so if you re-submit your sitemap for re-indexing once your re-publish your old content, they're not going to care unless those changes are significant enough. 

But how do you decide which articles to update and re-publish?

Focus on the articles with topics you write about most and have the most authority on. Since content quality and value are important to your ranking, you want to keep improving on that by publishing as much content as you can to really demonstrate yourself as an authority. This lets you be prolific without losing sight on the quality of your content. 

When re-publishing old content, don't forget to add some shiny objects like photos, infographics, or videos. Users love rich media! 

2. Should I be blogging every day?

Yes, blog often, but blog well

While it's true that sites that publish content frequently can have higher rankings, Google's voodoo magic is ridiculously smart about determining the value of the content being published. Posting infrequently can hurt your rankings, but so will posting frequently when your content is awful.

What does that mean?

We've covered this in more detail in a recent article, but it doesn't hurt to revisit the basics:

  1. Write longer articles. Long form posts rank better. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, but aim for articles that are at least 1,000 words. Aim for 2,000 or more.
  2. Add visuals. Users love photos, infographics, and videos. Be careful with your featured images, though. using cheesy stock photos may turn off potential readers. Also, cite your rich media sources.
  3. Add internal links. Linking to other articles on your site is good for SEO. Just be sure the articles you're linking to are contextual and your linked text accurately matches where that link goes.
  4. Write about topics your users like. Focus on what you know and what your readers are into.
  5. Avoid click bait titles. Seriously.  An initial, short-term boost to page views isn't worth the potential, long-term dent in your rankings.

If you're struggling with getting the creative juices flowing, we have an article that covers just that. 

3. How do I make my new pages get noticed by Google?

If you've created some new product pages or articles and want to help give them a boost, it's all about giving users the path of least resistance. 

Place them as high up your site's hierarchal structure as possible.

Linking to them from your home page is a good idea, too!

4. Should I request a re-indexing of my site each time I update it?

Not necessarily.

If your site already has a decent ranking and flow of traffic, you don't need to stampeed over to Search Console to request a re-indexing.

That said, it doesn't hurt to do it, either. If you're one of the smaller fish, then go ahead and make the request.

Instances where you do want to request a re-indexing includes: 

  • After a redesign or major redesign of a section of your site (including your home page)
  • After making significant changes to your sitemap/menu structure 
  • After making significant content changes
  • When launching a new section or product 
  • When removing a number of broken or poor quality backlinks from pages 

Keep in mind, however, that submitting a re-indexing doesn't guarantee it'll happen or happen immediately. You'll have to monitor your request in Search Console to know when it's been completed.

5. Does Accessibility affect SEO?

You bet it does!

Accessibility means a web for everyone and has all sorts of benefits for marketers, not the least of which includes better rankings, more conversions, and lower bounce rates.

If you're a content marketer and you're not concerned about Accessibility, you're basically taking a percentage of your potential customer or user base and giving them the ol' finger.

This seems pretty counter-productive when you're so focused on conversions!

If you're part of a niche market and want to get a jump over your competition by going the extra mile for users with visual or physical disabilities, make Accessibility a priority

6. Should I update my main navigation menu, and how do I decide what to change?

The common approach to organizing your website's main navigation menu is to place your key pages in an order related to their type. There's nothing wrong with this and when launching a new site, you have to start somewhere. 

As your site evolves, you should modify your menus to both maintain your strategy (that being making it easy for users to get to your content and convert them) and your user trends.

Adapt your menu items based on where your users are going, not where you want them to go.

See what the data tells you and re-arrange your menu items accordingly. 

Some general rules of thumb when evolving your menu includes: 

Provide access to your most popular pages first. This means getting rid of menu items for low-performing pages, not giving them more prominence in the hopes they'll get more traffic.

Child menu items should logically flow based on URL path. Think of your menu tree like breadcrumbs when it comes to how they flow. If your News section is domain.com/news, don't make it a child item under domain.com/about, unless you're changing the URL to domain.com/about/news. In this case, the content logic breaks a bit, so it would be best to keep the News section independent.

Don't bury your Contact page link. Keep it immediately visible.

Don't forget your footer menu! If you're using your footer to include navigation items, include many of the same ones in your main menu as well. Choose the most popular ones first.

Make your site search visible and easy to use. Users don't care how fancy your search form looks but they do care about finding it and searching your site quickly. If they can't, they'll go somewhere else.

7. My content is great but my rankings stink. What's wrong?

Without properly triaging the problem and we assume that your content is indeed solid, it's possible it could be for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Your site takes too long to load 
  • Your site isn't properly built for mobile users 
  • Your type is too difficult to read
  • Your site isn't Accessible 
  • You're not employing the right SEO techniques 
  • You have (too many) poor backlinks 
  • You haven't submitted your site's sitemap to Google (or the last one indexed is out way of date)

You may also be losing the race for topic and/or keyword dominance, both globally and locally.

Check your analytics and heat mapping tool to see where your drop-offs are happening as well. 

8. Does valid HTML still matter with SEO?

Marketers may tell you differently, but valid HTML still has an impact on SEO.

The more semantic and error-free your markup is, the easier it is for search engines to properly crawl your pages and understand the context of its content. 

Proper HTML is also great for performance.

The leaner and cleaner your markup, the less time it takes to load your pages. Granted, this also assumes that supporting content and assets are optimized as well (like images, CSS, and JavaScripts).

And, as we've stated, performance is critical for SEO.

Can I use more than H1 on a page?

Yes, you can!

No, really, it's true and here's Google confirming it:

 

 

But should you use more than H1 on your pages?

Since there's no impact either way provided you only use them once in each section of your page, it's up to you. 

Of course, you still want to use header hierarchy correctly in each section of your page. In other words, using an H3 before an H2 is still a no-no.

Personally, I prefer to not muck up the works and tend to stick to one H1 per page but that's not set in stone, either. Context matters, so keep it to one H1 per section and you'll be fine.

Further reading

Check out our other SEO-related articles valuable to content marketers: 

Still Have Questions?

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Topics: SEO Management, Website Optimization, SEO Implementation, Content Marketing Strategy, SEO Strategy

Fred Steuart

Fred Steuart

Fred is a seasoned web developer and designer who specializes in front end development, SEO, UX, and content marketing.