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SEO: FAQ

Frequently Asked SEO Questions

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing your website’s visibility in Google’s search results. With higher rankings, you can expect more visitors to your website and ultimately, more paying customers.

Do I need SEO?

If your business depends on attracting new clientele, then the answer is yes. Digital marketing can coexist with traditional marketing efforts but as most consumers turn to the internet for immediate answers, it’s important for searchers to be able to find you in their moment of need. A well-run optimization service can give you an edge over competitors.

Isn’t SEO just smoke and mirrors?

No. But we admit that SEO can be complex, sometimes intangible, and provide delayed benefit. While this may seem frustrating, your reward is always found in improved search rankings. Along the way, we provide detailed, easy-to-read reports that show exactly what our SEO team is doing for you.

What is most important?

Google evaluates up to 200 ranking signals. Top factors include: domain authority, quality content, backlinks, mobile responsiveness, and technical coding. NetGain’s auditing service clearly identifies your strengths and weaknesses and provide a foundation for making recommendations for improvement.

I heard SEO was dead?

SEO isn’t dead yet – but it has evolved significantly over the last 10 years. Techniques that may have worked in the past, can actually hurt your optimization efforts today. Our longstanding clients enjoy dominating the local map stack and search results. They will be the first to tell you SEO is alive and kicking. Read what our delighted customers have to say about NetGain.

How long does SEO take?

There are many external variables that can affect results. A brand-new website may take a year to rank anywhere near the first page. Similarly, it can take up to a year to rank in a hyper-competitive field or against national or international competitors. But most regional or local businesses can expect to start noticing improvement in a matter of 6-18 weeks. Either way, Net Gain will provide realistic timelines, in advance, for your specific industry and website.

How will I know it is working?

That’s easy! You’ll be able to directly measure increased visibility and traffic. We’ll use your initial rank, for a given set of keywords, as a benchmark. At regular intervals, we can verify your improved ranking in Google search engine results. Together, we’ll log into Google Analytics and review your website traffic patterns. Since organic results can take time to filter through the system, in the meanwhile, we’ll keep you updated with weekly reports of our progress.

Are there any shortcuts?

Yes, but short-term gains are often followed by equally rapid set-backs. Our team takes a long-term approach that yields lasting results. We formulate a strategic plan and execute upon the industry’s best practices. For immediate traction, on-line advertising is a powerful way to supplement your SEO efforts.

How do I get on the map stack?

Since Google’s map section appears above organic results, searchers are becoming more comfortable navigating through the map stack (also referred to as “local 3 pack”). Local businesses will get lost if they are not appearing here. The first step is to optimize your Google My Business profile. Google reviews and citations will help reinforce your listing. NetGain specializes in local results and can put your business on the map.

How important is speed?

Google’s Speed Update confirms that loading speed is an important factor for mobile search results. Smartphone users expect pages to load quickly and will abandon slow-loading pages.  Fortunately, Google offers a free tool that allows you to measure the speed of your homepage. Their summary includes technical recommendations that provide valuable insights for NetGain’s SEO experts.

How do you fix speed?

There are nearly a dozen factors that affect speed. Some are simple (optimizing images) some are more complex (reduce server response time). NetGain’s technicians take a page-by-page approach to optimizing speed, starting with your most-visited pages.

Does blogging help?

Yes. High quality, engaging articles are extremely valuable for SEO. Each blog post is an opportunity for search engines to index your industry keywords. Additionally, Google is monitoring visitor engagement (dwell time, retweets, likes, comments). So, start writing! Or put NetGain’s copywriters to work!

What is On-Page vs Off-Page?

Both are important for SEO. On-Page refers to technical work that is done to the underlying framework of the website itself. Off-Page is associated with external factors that influence overall internet presence, such as third-party citations or social media activity.

I already tried SEO and it didn’t work.

From time to time we hear stories of disappointment regarding other optimization companies. It usually boils down to a lack of technical knowledge or lack of interest on behalf of the provider. You can expect much better care from Net Gain. Our technical team is well respected in the industry. You’ll be assigned a contact person that is committed to your success. We are focused on long-term relationships as evidenced by our extremely low attrition rate. The difference is: we care.

Can I do my own SEO?

Sure. All you need is time and ability. Most companies don’t have enough of either. It usually doesn’t make sense to hire a full-time, in-house SEO expert. The best solution is to outsource SEO services to an agency like NetGain. Even a few hours per month will make an impact to your web traffic and sales.

What types of businesses do we work with?

We love helping local, service-related companies grow their business. We have a long-standing affiliation with the information management industry, but our expertise extends to legal, healthcare, and consumer services. If you need help connecting with your target audience, then let’s get together for a complimentary 30-minute assessment to discover if there’s a good fit.

What territory do we work in?

Our office is in Barrie Ontario, but our clientele spans across Canada and USA. We help organizations from Florida to Alaska acquire more leads with robust, local SEO.

How much does SEO cost?

Our philosophy is that increased web traffic and qualified leads should far outweigh your SEO investment. Our initial assessment will quickly shed light on a recommended spending threshold. We’ll determine what shape your website is in, how competitive your industry is, and align with your marketing objectives. Most of our clients spend between $1,000 – $5,000 per month and see a healthy return on their investment.

How long are your contracts?

Organic SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Improving your natural ranking takes sustained effort. Therefore, our agreements are 1-year in duration, and then convert to a monthly basis. It’s worthwhile noting that most of our clients are long-term customers that appreciate the value of our efforts and enjoy ranking at the top of the first page.

Will you work with my competitor?

We have a policy that minimizes conflicts of interest. We accept no more than two businesses per industry, per city. For businesses that sign up for a higher level of SEO services, we are pleased to grant industry and territorial exclusivity.

What Is White Hat and Black Hat SEO?

Our industry adopted these terms from old western movies where the good guys always wore white cowboy hats and the bad guys wore black hats. Black hat agencies try to manipulate Google rankings for short-term gain but rarely have any lasting effect. The staff at NetGain all wear white cowboy hats. Our methods are ethical, and we follow guidelines set out by Google.

Why did I have a sudden loss in ranking?

You likely received a penalty based on a search algorithm update. NetGain closely monitors pending updates and proactively addresses any potential deficiencies.

What is a “bot”?

Also known as a “spider”, a “Googlebot” discovers web pages by “crawling” your website and adding the results to its index for future reference.

Will I need to modify my website?

Maybe. Most website design companies create visually impressive sites but don’t design for search engine friendliness or visitor experience. At NetGain, we are preoccupied with how search engines work and how to provide value to visitors. As a result, we may suggest consolidating a navigation menu or adding/removing pages. We always seek approval before making any forward-facing changes to your website.

How long has NetGain been optimizing websites?

Optimization has been a core strength since we were founded, in 2008. We employ a team of in-house SEO experts. We can accommodate both on-page and off-page SEO including technical optimization, pay-per-click (AdWords), social media management, and blog writing. Call us today to learn more.