FAQ

What does SEO stand for?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Search engines (like Google, Yahoo, even Youtube) have algorithms that help users find the best results.

These algorithms might, for example, match the searcher with a result (website, picture, video, etc.) that other users who put the same term into the search engine tend to click on.

It is difficult to know for certain wall of the precise factors the algorithms are using, however, you can learn more about them from successful SEO experts and from experience and testing. 

What is SEO?

SEO is the art/science of increasing traffic to websites. Its aim is to rank your website higher on search results by making it more friendly to Google’s algorithm.

In short, SEO is how you get on the first page of Google. 

Improving your website’s SEO can be done in a variety of ways, including improving UX (user experience), decreasing your website’s loading time and simply creating good, relevant content.

Read more here.  

How much of a difference does SEO make?

This depends partly on what industry you are in. However, in general, it is important to know that 90% of Google users only look at the first page of results (source: here). 

Once you are on the first page, your traffic increased with each higher position. For example, the average number one result gets 33% of all search traffic, nearly double that of the second result, which gets 18% (source: here).

Chart showing traffic values of google rankings
Average percentage of traffic each Google rank gets

Is SEO worth it?

This depends on your industry/sector, capacity, and website’s conversion rate.

Industry/sector: If you are selling services or products that people are likely to purchase or to find online, then SEO will likely be very important for you. Similarly, if your service is information that is distributed online and you need a wider audience, it might also be very useful.

Capacity: If you currently don’t have enough staff to handle the potential large increase in business that comes with more website traffic, then SEO might not be for you. However, SEO results usually take between 3 – 6 months to appear, so you could have time to adjust to the increased business activity gradually.

Website’s conversion rate: Your website’s conversion rate might vary depending on your industry, niche or other factors. If you already have a lot of website traffic but aren’t converting much of this to sales, then what you need first and foremost is probably a web designer. (Understanding approximately how many times customers typically need to come in contact with your brand is another important factor when measuring the success of any results).

How do you improve SEO?

There are a number of potential strategies to improve your SEO ranking. The main points that should be covered are:

  • Content
  • On-site optimisation
  • Link building
  • Technical SEO

Different SEO freelancers or agencies might have different strengths or strategies. I focus mainly on the first three. 

What’s the first step in the SEO process for your website?

The first step is usually (but not always) to make sure your website is healthy. You should run a crawl on your website to make sure that all of the pages work and that the basic UX (user experience) is at least ok. 

Next, you need to identify your target keywords and then begin creating content (general website content and blogs/videos/podcasts etc.)

These are the first three steps. Once you have nailed these, it’s just a matter of maintaining your website’s health and UX and frequently posting relevant content (that is aimed at relevant keywords).

Can a company do its own SEO work or should it hire an outside expert?

To a certain extent, every company can and should do at least some of its own SEO work.

Simply creating a website itself is a form of SEO work, as is writing your company’s blogs. In fact, in the SEO community the phrase ‘content is king’ is often repeated. 

How many resources a company should allocate to SEO depends on the company’s size, industry and current situation. Some larger companies do employ full-time SEO workers or teams, others simply hire outside agencies. 

It is important that you are first sure you have the resources to deal with the increased work SEO improvements will bring to your website traffic and subsequent customer demand. Perhaps, for example, you need more work before you can scale up your operations. In this case you can gradually improve your SEO as you scale up accordingly. Or, if you don’t want to scale up but do need more work, you could simply improve your SEO slightly (i.e. by aiming only for the first page of Google rather than the first position) in order to increase your website traffic and conversion rate. 

Are you a London-based SEO agency?

More or less.  More exactly, I am a London-based SEO freelancer. I don’t employ anyone else, so if you work with me you will have my full attention, experience and expertise focused on your project.

Why are you called Barbell SEO?

Because I believe weightlifting/powerlifting is a good metaphor for how SEO works. In order to get stronger you need practice, patience, information and motivation.

Improving a website’s SEO is not a matter of simply uploading some software or other technical wizardry; like strength training, it involves repeating the right exercises over time.

Furthermore, preparation and other issues around these exercises are also important. 

What is 'bounce rate'?

A ‘bounce rate’ is the percentage of users that take no actions once they land on your page (except to leave it!).

It is an important metric because it tells Google whether your page matches the user’s search expectations or not.

What is 'dwell time'?

‘Dwell time’ is the amount of time a user dwells on your page before returning to the search results.

It is relevant to SEO and an important metric because it tells Google how long users spend on your site and therefore how useful/attractive the information there was for them.
silhouette of weightlifter lifting barbell

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