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50 SEO FAQ – Answers To Your SEO Questions

We get numerous SEO and traffic growth questions every day, and that’s great because we love helping people get more organic traffic. That’s why we’ve built Monitor Backlinks SEO Tool in the first place. I’ve collected the most popular SEO questions we get on a regular basis and created this article in hopes it will help you get better at SEO. We would love to see you contribute to this article by asking your SEO questions in the comments section.

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1. How do I know if a Backlinks is good or bad for SEO?

Only dofollow backlinks will give you an SEO advantage. Nofollow backlinks can be great for increasing the exposure of your site and sending traffic, but they will not help you with SEO. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean nofollow backlinks are bad.

The quality of a backlink can be determined by analyzing how reputable is the website linking to you. What also matters is that the content of the website is relevant to yours. If a well-known site links to you, the backlink will be good.

Keep in mind that there are numerous good websites you might have never heard of. Hence why checking their SEO metrics is recommended. You can analyze the Domain Authority, Page Authority, Trust Flow, Citation Flow, the number of external links, how often they update content, user’s engagement and more.

Read Quality Backlinks VS Bad Backlinks – What’s the difference, for more details.

2. Does PageRank matter as an SEO metric?

No, the Google PageRank Toolbar hasn’t been updated for almost two years, and Google has no plans to update it. Google officials have said several times that SEOs should not look at PageRank anymore.

3. How do I get good backlinks?

Link building is essential for SEO, so it’s great to see you are interested to get more good backlinks.

The best way to find opportunities to build good backlinks is to look at the links of your competitors. Use Monitor Backlinks to spy your competitors backlinks and try to replicate the ones that are good and worthy. If your competitors are ranking above you, it often means they have done something right, and they have better backlinks than you.

By replicating the most important links of all your competitors, you’ll have higher chances to outrank them. Using the metrics provided by Monitor Backlinks you can see at a glance what backlinks are good or bad. Take each link one by one to understand how your competitor has gotten to have a link from that website. If they got a link because of a blogger review or mention, you can contact that blogger and offer him the chance to test your product as well. Whether it’s a guest post, a forum mention or any other type of backlink, you should try to replicate it.

Do consider that sometimes your competitors might have bad backlinks, so don’t rush into replicating, without analyzing if the website has a good authority.

Some guides that should help you build backlinks:

4. Will nofollow backlinks influence SEO?

Most Google officials said that nofollow backlinks will not influence rankings in Google. While there are some SEOs that claim nofollow links carry some value, there’s no official prove to sustain this.

5. Should I remove or disavow nofollow backlinks?

The quick answer is NO. There’s no point to remove or disavow nofollow links unless they are hurting your reputation. For example, if a porn or gambling site links to you.

If the backlink is bad, you should try to remove it and then disavow it, even if it’s dofollow or nofollow. If you have a good nofollow backlink, you should leave it as it is because it might send relevant traffic your way.

Nofollow backlinks can not hurt your site.

According to John Mueller, disavowing a backlink is the equivalent adding a nofollow to a dofollow link.

Considering what John said, disavowing a nofollow link would be like adding a nofollow attribute to a backlink that’s already nofollow. Based on Google’s guidelines, a nofollow link provides the webmasters a way to tell search engines “don’t follow links on this page” or “don’t follow this specific link”.

6. How long does it take for the disavow tool to work?

The disavow tool usually works within days of submitting your report. Nevertheless, it sometimes can take up to several weeks for Google to review your bad backlinks report.

7. I cleaned up my backlinks profile, when will I recover from my penalty?

It depends on what penalty you’ve got. These are some scenarios:

Manual penalty: Takes 1-2 weeks for Google to review your reconsideration request
Algorithm updates penalties: This is the case of Penguin or Panda. You’ll have to wait for another Google Penguin or Panda algorithm update to take place. It can take months, or days, depending when it was updated last.

8. Can my website be penalized without I knowing?

Yes. We’ve seen numerous cases when website owners had no clue that their sites were penalized or filtered by Google’s algorithms. Most often, Google Panda decreases your website’s rankings because of thin content. Your site can also get a penalty for having too many ads above the fold or for not having a mobile friendly website.

9. I was penalized but I can’t recover my rankings, why?

Bad backlinks trigger most Google penalties, but it’s not always a rule. If your website has not yet recovered its rankings, it could be because of the following reasons:

a. You haven’t cleaned up all your bad backlinks
b. Your disavow report is incomplete
c. No algorithm update took place lately. Panda and Penguin penalties require a fresh algorithm update for recovery.
d. Your content is holding you back. If a Google update hit your website, you have to revise your website’s content.
e. You don’t have enough quality backlinks
f. Your website has other unknown problems
g. Your reconsideration request was not yet reviewed.

Read more about the 7 reasons why your website won’t recover from a Google penalty.

10. Does good content equal high rankings in Google?

Not always. To rank high in Google, it’s important to have high-quality content that provides value to your readers. However, this doesn’t mean that your success is guaranteed. There are other websites that could have content that’s at least as good as yours. Everyone wants to rank high in Google, but after all, backlinks will be the ones to make a difference.

The recipe for SEO success is high-quality content and backlinks from authoritative domains. One without the other will not work.

11. What’s the best articles length for SEO?

Numerous studies have shown that websites with long and engaging content ranks higher in Google. Articles with more than 2000 words have higher chances to rank high.

Your content must be well documented and offer value to your readers by answering their most important questions and offering useful tips.

12. How do I keep track of my backlinks link building campaigns?

Simple, use Monitor Backlinks. Connect your domain with Monitor Backlinks and the SEO Auto Discover feature will send you daily email alerts when your website will gain or lose links. If the status of your backlinks will change, you’ll be alerted, and you can react to recover your backlinks.

13. How to delete backlinks?

Deleting backlinks can sometimes be challenging. Once you identify a link you want to remove, the only way to delete it is to contact the webmaster and ask them nicely to help you. Always have a friendly approach and tell the webmasters where your link is located.

You’ll not be able to remove all links, but don’t worry, you can use the Disavow Tool.
Read more about Backlinks removal and analytics – How to delete bad links.

14. I just build some quality backlinks, when will I get better rankings?

Results don’t come overnight. It’s a long optimization process that requires patience and continuously building good backlinks. It depends from case to case and from website to website. Some sites might get better rankings after a few weeks while some after some months. Either way, keep building quality backlinks, and your SEO will improve.

15. How do I know if my SEO company is helping me or not?

Never trust your SEO company fully! Always be vigilant and ask them to send details about the things they are working on, and the backlinks they are building. When you outsource SEO to a company or freelancer, you are putting your website’s faith on their hands.

Ask them to send weekly reports and keep an eye on how your organic traffic is performing. Use tools like Monitor Backlinks to analyze the new backlinks your website is getting and if you see anything suspicious, suspend the collaboration immediately.

If anything bad ever happens to your website (like a penalty), you’ll be the one affected, not your SEO company. Hence why you analyze all the work, they are doing.

16. How often should I publish content on my website?

There’s no exact answer for this. It depends on what niche your website is in. Do consider that the more content you have, the higher the chances to rank for new keywords and get more traffic. Nevertheless, don’t cover the same topic too many times, or Google Panda might filter your site.

Most websites publish at least one article per week.

17. Is website loading speed an important factor?

Not as big as some might think, but yes, it’s an SEO ranking factor. If your website is loading quick enough, it will not be affected. However, if your site takes 10 seconds to load, it will not be a surprise if Google decides to decrease its rankings.

18. How should my anchor text distribution be?

Your backlinks profile should have anchor texts that look natural. For example, you should have at least 50% brand name keywords, 20% more that are related and 30% relevant but natural anchor texts. The anchor texts should be diverse and not have any footprint that might tell Google you are building your links unnatural.

A bad anchor text distribution can cause a Google Penguin penalty.

19. Can ads affect SEO?

Yes. Google has a special algorithm to detect pages that have too many ads above the fold. If your website has a bad overall user experience and has too many ads, your website might be pushed to 2nd or 3rd page in SERPS.

Don’t use too many ads, whether it’s Adsense or another provider.

20. Can I be penalized for linking to bad websites?

Yes, it’s possible to get a penalty for linking out to websites that are unrelated or sites that have a penalty. When you link to a website, Google looks at your link as an endorsement you make for that site. If you endorse websites that have SEO problems or they have an overall bad reputation, chances are you’ll get a penalty as well.

If you are not sure the website you are linking to is good, you should link using a rel nofollow attribute.

21. My website has duplicate content, what should I do?

All websites might have duplicate content. Google estimates that about 25-30% of all the content is duplicate.

If you are not doing anything malicious or automatically create content, you should be in good shape and not worry about this issue. However, if you have too many duplicate pages, you should fix the issue before Google takes any action against your site.


22. Keywords in Meta description and title, does it matter?

Yes, it’s important to have your main keywords in the meta title as well as the meta description. Just like anything else with SEO, don’t abuse it.

23. Can a sitemap help me with SEO?

A sitemap will not give you an SEO advantage, but it will help Google easily find and index all your pages. More pages indexed means more chances to rank your site in the SERPS; Therefore, it’s best to create a sitemap.

24. Do internal links count as good links?

Yes. Best practices recommend creating a good internal linking structure for a better user experience. Google also counts these backlinks, even though they will not be as valuable as links from third party sites.

25. Is negative SEO a real threat?

Yes, unfortunately. Some competitors might use unethical ways to outrank you. Negative SEO is a common practice in competitive niches like insurance, payday loans, etc. To protect your website from such brutal attacks, you should always monitor the backlinks your website is getting. If you think someone if building bad backlinks to decrease your website value, you should quickly create a disavow report and submit it to Google.

26. Can social media help me with SEO?

As of today, there is no correlation between social media and SEO. If your website is doing great on social media, it doesn’t mean it will perform just as good on Google or other search engines. Google still uses backlinks as their main ranking factor.

You can use social media to do SEO though.

27. Are exact match domains valuable nowadays?

No. Exact match domains were very popular a few years ago when some were worth millions of dollars. Things have changed after Google has released the EMD algorithm update that decreased the importance of having your keywords in your domain.

Instead of going for a long EMD, it’s best to buy a short and brandable domain.

28. I’m buying backlinks, is it safe?

Buying backlinks is fine, as long as they are nofollow. If you are buying backlinks to improve your SEO, you might be penalized. Buying links to manipulate the search results is against Google’s guidelines.

29. Are all domains extensions good for SEO?

Not all domains will be good for SEO. If you are targeting a worldwide target, it’s best to go for the most popular generic domains such as .com, .net and .org. Otherwise, if you would like to target the traffic from a specific country, go for that country domain exaction.

Read What Domain Extension (TLD) is best for SEO.

30. Can broken links affect SEO?

A few 404 links will not affect your SEO. However, having too many such problems can tell Google that you are neglecting your site, and you are not updating it anymore.

31. My rankings decreased, why?

When your rankings go down, it could be because of several reasons. These are the most common scenarios:

a. Google has released a new algorithm update that might have affected your site.
b. Your website has lost some good backlinks causing your domain authority to decrease.
c. Your website was penalized/filtered by Google because of violating Google’s guidelines. First check your Google Webmaster Tools account to check if you have errors or messages related to this issue.
d. Your competitors have improved their SEO and have outranked you.

32. If I am doing local SEO, does the location of the sites linking to me matter?

Yes. If you are doing SEO for a website based in Australia, most of your backlinks should come from Australian websites.

It’s totally fine to have links from sites located in other countries, but overall most of your backlinks should come from websites hosted in the country you are targeting.

33. Is it ok to build backlinks only to my homepage?

No. You should build links and encourage others to link to other pages of your website as well. SEO means optimizing your website and making it look as natural as possible. Very rarely a website will only link only to its homepage.

34. Does the number of pages I have indexed in Google matter?

Yes, it matters. The more pages you have indexed, the more results you’ll get in Google. However, do consider that quality is much more important than quantity. Therefore, it’s best to have ten great guides instead of one hundred useless articles no one would want to read.

35. Will an SSL certificate give me an SEO boost?

Having a secure certified website will have a slightly more advantage for e-commerce websites. The impact is very low, though.

36. I am doing affiliate marketing, is it ok for SEO?

Google will not penalize your website if you are using nofollow on your affiliate links. Also, keep in mind that Google has an algorithm update that labels sites that are created for affiliate purposes as “thin affiliate” site and can decrease your rankings.

37. My website has been down for a few days, should I be worried?

If your website goes down for a short period, there’s no reason to panic. Even if Google might temporarily decrease your rankings, they will go back once your site goes live again.


38. Are H1, H2, and H3 tags useful?

They do carry some value, and they are one of Google’s ranking factors. Don’t expect a huge SEO boost from using them.

39. How should I structure my content for SEO?

Your content should be nicely structured and easy to read. Use paragraphs and a friendly language. Communicate with your readers instead of writing plain text (you are not Wikipedia).

Where possible, use bullets and numbered lists.

40. I might have grammar and spelling issues, should I fix this?

While grammar is not a direct ranking factor, according to Matt Cutts, studies show that websites with correct grammar tend to rank higher in the search results.


41. Will I get penalized for accepting guest posts on my website?

No, you will not, if the quality is high. Google itself is accepting guest posts on their blog, and they even link out with dofollow links. If the author that wants to publish content on your site is doing this just for the sake of getting a link, don’t bother, it’s not worth the risk.

Linking out to bad websites is a threat.

42. Is link building safe or not?

Google wants you to think it’s not, because they don’t want you to manipulate the SERPS. When John Mueller was asked if link building is good, he said that in general he tries to avoid that.

The truth is that link building is safe, as long as you are building quality backlinks from websites with a good domain authority. Spammy backlinks will cause troubles.

43. Do I need to build backlinks?

Unless you are CNN or Wikipedia, chances are you’ll have a hard time earning enough natural links your website. Often, just by writing great content, you will not get high results or good backlinks.

Yes, you have to build backlinks, especially if your website is new.

44. Should I hire an SEO company that guarantees first place rankings?

No. Never! SEO is not an exact science and no one can guarantee that you will reach the first page or top three positions within a few weeks or months. Those that give such guarantees are scammers trying to take advantage of people with little SEO knowledge.

45. How can I keep track of my rankings in Google?

You can use Monitor Backlinks keyword ranking tracker feature. It’s simple to use and it compares your rankings side by side with your competitor’s results.

46. Is SEO free?

No, unless your time means nothing to you and you work for free. If you do, tell me your phone number, I need some work done 🙂

47. How long does it take to see results from SEO?

Weeks, months or sometimes years. It depends on what niche your website is in, what resources you are allocating for SEO and how good are the backlinks you are building.

A large and solid website could see results in a couple of weeks while a new website might have to wait months. SEO is an ongoing process, and you are never “done”.

48. Is SEO changing?

Yes, SEO is changing as we speak. Techniques that used to work a few years ago are now outdated. Google is releasing smarter algorithms that reward websites that provide the best user experience.

49. On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO, which is more important?

Both are just as important. If you are serious about ranking high in Google, you should start with doing on-page SEO for your website and then off-page, which usually involves building backlinks.

One can’t go without the other.

50. Is there any future for SEO?

Yes, SEO will never die. There will always be a way to rank websites in search engines, whether it’s Google, Yahoo or other search engines. As long as search engines will exist, SEO will live as well.

Do you have a question about SEO? You ask, we answer! Let’s make this the longest and most useful SEO FAQ article.

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Kristy Harper

Another good article Felix!

Felix Tarcomnicu

Thanks Kristy 🙂

Paul Melinte

Felix, your article answered a few questions that I had, but I still have a pretty specific question: what should I do with the links that come from a portal with spam score 5/17 but with a not so bad MozRank, TF & CF? They have links to many sites on the main page. Should I remove or disavow this links?

Felix Tarcomnicu

Hi Paul,

If you are sure the backlink is bad, and it’s hurting your rankings…you should try to remove it and then disavow it.

My backlinks cleaning flow works like this:

1. Try to remove the bad backlink
2. Disavow the root domain…no matter if the first step was successful or not.

No matter if you manage to remove that link or not, I suggest you also disavow the domain…just in case they decide to link back to you.

Here’s an article about using the Google Disavow tool quick and easy:

Paul Melinte

Hi Felix,

That’s the problem: I can`t tell whether those are good or bad backlinks.

Felix Tarcomnicu

Hey Paul,

Then I think you’ll like my article about the difference between Good and Bad Backlinks:

and also the one about backlinks analysis.

Paul Melinte

Hy Felix,

I started reading all your articles. I find them very useful.

Thanks! 🙂

Carl Zetterberg

Great post! +Pocket

Felix Tarcomnicu

Awesome Carl. Glad you liked it 🙂

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