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Elena Terenteva

6 Dumb SEO Questions Only Smart SEOs Can Answer!

Elena Terenteva
6 Dumb SEO Questions Only Smart SEOs Can Answer!

Hello, dear SEMrush blog readers!

We have something new for you this time. Our previous Twitter Chat was quite extraordinary and challenging. Usually we cover just one topic during the chat, but this time we decided to cover six topics at once!

We asked six dumb SEO questions to smart SEOs. And here are the results!

By the way, if we didn't answer your question during this chat, we'll be happy to answer your questions in the comments section. Enjoy!

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Just imagine – you worked so hard on your website and you can’t wait to see it appearing at the top of Google search. But for some reason, you don’t get a desirable result. What might have gone wrong?

Let’s find out!

One of the most common reasons for failure – you “blocked the bots from crawling the site in the robots.txt file” Donald Macgregor ‏@MacDonie. Also, your pages might not be crawled because of noindex meta tags. Luckily, this issue is easy to fix. Remove the noindex page tag or the disallow on the robots.txt - Rivka Fogel ‏@FogelRivka.

Also, you need to “set up a Webmaster Tools account, run a Crawl as GoogleBot to see if there's anything blocking” Thom Craver ‏@thomcraver.

Another reason Googlebot can’t reach certain pages on your website – you didn’t submit your sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools or you’ve messed up your site architecture. “Make sure your site architecture is easy for Googlebot to crawl” Beth Kahlich ‏@BethKahlich.

Duplicate content, low-quality content, toxic backlinks – these can all prevent your site from going up. Well, I guess you know what to do here – run a complete site audit, create new content, and cleanup your backlink profile. Spammy backlinks can also lead to penalties, causing your site to go down.

And, yes, it is the most difficult problem to deal with. If you want to know more about this topic, check the recap of one of our previous Twitter chats – “How to Avoid Google Penalties.”

Be sure that Googlebot will find something to crawl. Having all of your text in a PDF image is probably not the best idea.

If you want to get more - read this!"8 Reasons Why Your Site Might Not Get Indexed" by Bob Jones.

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First of all, let's talk basics. What is the difference between HTTP and HTTPS? The answer is quite simple – HTTPS is a version of HTTP with additional security capabilities. HTTPS protects your browser from all kinds of third-party attacks.

Google’s policy is all about user comfort, so it’s easy to come to the idea that moving your website from HTTP to secure HTTPS can increase your rankings – is it true? And the answer is..

It seems like there is no magic behind this move, but is it totally useless?

“Still, it couldn’t hurt. More security is always a plus, and it gives customers more peace of mind” Beth Kahlich ‏@BethKahlich.

User experience is a number one priority for e-commerce websites; and if you are running an online store, you should definitely think about HTTPS. You don’t want your users’ credit card data to become public property, do you?

But let’s get back to our question. As we’ve just learned, migrating to HTTPS doesn’t influence ranking, because Google doesn’t consider it as a ranking factor; but things change, you know. So stay informed!

More useful reading! "HTTPS vs. HTTP – analysis: Do secure sites really get higher rankings?" by Marcus Tober.

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And as usual — one of our answers is visual. Check out this "15 Local Search Tips," which will help to compete in local search.

How can a national_global brand compete

Special thanks to the following participants:










































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Re-launching a site is a lot of work for each member of a team. So, weigh all the pros and cons. Weigh all of the possible benefits, access your time and human resources, and create a clear plan.

First and foremost, be careful with your links – “don't lose good links… that's like doing negative SEO on yourself” Michael Morgan ‏@michaeldoesSEO.

And the best way to do this – keep the same site structure. If this is not possible (and it probably will be hard to keep), think about a proper redirection strategy. Otherwise, you may lose traffic – worst case scenario!

I guess this kind of 404 will not disappoint your user – “Speaking of effective 404 pages - Best One Ever” Tim Capper ‏@GuideTwit. Don’t underestimate their importance – they can play an important role in keeping users on your website.

And of course it’s important to inform your users about changes!

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 19.29.59Links come from sharable content. A product page is not the type of content anyone wants to tell his or her friends about. So if you are seriously thinking about link-building, concentrate on “methods that aren't focused around product pages” Devin @DevDawg.

Maintain a blog, create a FAQ page with information relevant to your products, tutorials, guides – there are many ways you can create content. And don’t just focus on your product; it‘s more important to highlight a lifestyle that involves your product or service.

Also, don’t forget about competitor intelligence - “create some exclusive content to set you apart from competitors selling the same products,” Shap Cooper @Shap_Digital.

Create relationships with your audience and partners – people are more likely to trust third-party opinions than your advertising or a “we-are-the-best” kind of slogan.

And of course, care about your customers – they have the power to makes websites trustworthy and authoritative. Social media is definitely your best friend.

Give your customers what they need! A great user experience and excellent customer service may not immediately boost your links, but it will guarantee good reviews.

Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 19.30.38A private blog network (PBN) is a group of websites or blogs with strong link connections. It may sound harmless, but usually all these blogs are controlled by one owner. The whole point of link-building between websites is to give weight to certain content in order to get higher rankings. So here we are not talking about quality of content at all – artificially created links can bring poor commercial content to the top that has no value at all.

I guess you can hear condemnation in my voice already, but let’s see what our participants had to say.

Having a controlled network really can give you the result you‘re looking for; but in the long run, you might get penalized by Google. “Don't depend on it to take you through 2016,” Suneel Thomas ‏@TechAchari.

Yep, Google is taking actions against PBNs, because, bottom line, this is manipulation and Google doesn’t like it.

Still not convinced that PBNs are a bad idea? One more injection of common sense:

OK, that's it for today. Any other SEO questions? Leave us a comment!

We'll see you at the next Twitter Chat – same time, same place, same hashtag, this Wednesday at 11 a.m. (EST). Don’t forget to use #semrushchat!

Elena Terenteva

SEMrush employee.

Elena Terenteva, Product Marketing Manager at SEMrush. Elena has eight years public relations and journalism experience, working as a broadcasting journalist, PR/Content manager for IT and finance companies.
Bookworm, poker player, good swimmer.
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