Top 10 SEO FAQs Answered by Bruce Clay

Magnifying glass magnifying the words "frequently asked questions."
You’ve got SEO questions, we’ve got answers. In this article, I summarize the answers to 10 of the most popular SEO questions from our monthly live Q&A sessions at

  1. What is the most common mistake people make with SEO?
  2. Does NitroPack for WordPress “trick” Google into thinking a site is faster?
  3. Do backlinks from sites you own count towards SEO?
  4. Do search engines prefer WordPress sites?
  5. What should we look for when hiring an SEO?
  6. What’s more important – optimizing old webpages or creating new ones?
  7. Should we prioritize our SEO efforts for voice search?
  8. What legal requirements for websites should we be aware of?
  9. Is the ultimate metric for SEO traffic or conversions?
  10. If most of our users are desktop, why focus on “mobile-first”?

FAQ: What steps should I take if my site’s ranking is impacted after an update?

Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

1. What is the Most Common Mistake People Make With SEO?

The most common mistake in SEO is that people believe what they’re told about SEO by someone who doesn’t know how it actually works. This is a very slippery slope.

Think about it: You hire an SEO agency or consultant to lead your SEO program. They don’t have the experience or wisdom to diagnose the problems your website is having fully. Or they stuff you into a box with some sort of generic “packaged” SEO service.

Now you are on a course of action that is disastrous in the long run. Not only does it not address the unique problems your website faces, but it is taking you further off the path. Meanwhile, your competition is passing you.

For more, check out our live Q&A on this topic from

2. Does NitroPack for WordPress “Trick” Google into Thinking a Site is Faster?

The NitroPack plugin promises to “skyrocket your PageSpeed score instantly.” So does it actually trick Google in some way? The short answer is no.

It would be very hard for Google to punish a website that is using a tool to make it faster when one of Google’s primary goals is to serve fast webpages in its search results. Google doesn’t care if you use software to make a website faster so long as it is a legitimate tool.

And NitroPack is legitimate. In fact, we use it on our website at This plugin existed before Google’s page experience update, yet it has proven to be very handy in helping with core web vitals.

What NitroPack does is optimizes your pages for a faster experience. Put it on your site, and the performance will be like night and day.

We talk more about this in the following live Q&A video:

3. Do Backlinks from Sites You Own Count Towards SEO?

So you have a bunch of sites, and you think that a link from Site A to Site B will be an easy way to boost SEO between your web properties. Generally speaking, this is not a strategy to count on.

In many cases, Google will know that a set of websites is managed by the same owner. Practically speaking, Google might expect one website to link to other websites under the same owner, for example, when there are different brands under a parent company, and each brand is linked to in the main navigation of the parent company website.

But don’t expect this strategy to boost SEO. If Google understands the brands are interlinked, then links from one website to another will not hold a lot of weight.

Watch this video from our live Q&A on this topic:

4. Do Search Engines Prefer WordPress Sites?

WordPress is the most popular content management system, and there aren’t any signs of that changing. One question people often ask is: Does Google favor WordPress sites?

For many reasons, we believe WordPress is a better solution than a homegrown website for SEO purposes in most cases. Among the reasons is that WordPress embraces features that are good for search; you can enhance it further with countless plugins, and the maintenance is much less.

Keep in mind, though, WordPress is not a perfect solution for SEO. However, Google is committed to working with the platform to improve its websites for search engines and users.

That said, does Google somehow give WordPress sites a boost in the search results? It depends on how you look at it. The reason why WordPress sites may tend to rank better is due to WordPress’s SEO-friendliness.

We have converted all our sites into WordPress over the years, in fact. (We even offer an SEO plugin for WordPress to elevate your SEO to the next level.)

Watch this for more on this topic:

5. What Should We Look for When Hiring an SEO?

A great SEO strategy gives you a seat at the table on page one among millions of search results. A bad one? It can kill traffic and revenue.

With all the SEO consultants, agencies, and services out there, it can be hard to know what to look for and which to pick. First, you have to know what you are looking for. Without a clear idea of your SEO goals, you won’t be able to match with the right SEO.

With goals in hand, one of the most important things you can look for is SEO expertise. This can make or break your results. In a sea of professionals that “do SEO,” you need to be able to discern who really knows what they are doing.

For more, see our article on the one and only thing you need in an SEO agency and the live Q&A video below from

6. What’s More Important – Optimizing Old Webpages or Creating New Ones?

With content being the main focus of SEO, it is easy to fall into the trap of creating new content and forgetting about the old. But that strategy can hurt you.

A good SEO program will spend about half the time creating new pages and half the time updating old pages. Maintaining your content is the key to a quality, relevant website.

I wrote more about this in an article on Search Engine Land, and talk more about this here:

7. Should We Prioritize Our SEO Efforts for Voice Search?

By Q1 2019, 42% of the worldwide online population had conducted a voice search via any device within the past month. This number is only expected to grow.

So that may leave you to wonder: Do you put all your efforts into ranking for voice search? Well, no. But you can start optimizing for it now.

Start thinking about things like:

  • How you can answer voice search questions in your website content
  • How you might optimize for voice assistant devices

Read the following articles for more:

And view our live Q&A video:

8. What Legal Requirements for Websites Should We Be Aware Of?

There are several requirements for websites today that, if ignored, can end up in litigation, fines, and penalties.

Some to consider include:

  • Compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Compliance with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Compliance with state-specific data protection laws and any other acts that have been signed into law (and there are quite a few)

The kicker in the U.S. is that there is not one set of regulations that impacts all states and websites like the GDPR. However, the ADA is one that impacts everyone, and it is not to be ignored.

Watch this Q&A video for more:

9. Is the Ultimate Metric for SEO Traffic or Conversions?

It is the job of SEO to drive qualified traffic to the website. After that, it is the job of the website and business to convert those leads through various marketing techniques.

A good SEO can certainly give general recommendations on how to improve a website for conversions, but SEO is not responsible for sales. Will targeted traffic typically increase revenue? Yes. But SEO cannot be responsible for conversions.

I talk more about this below:

10. If Most of Our Users Are Desktop, Why Focus on “Mobile-First”?

This is a great question – in fact, more than 90% of our website visitors at are desktop users.

Google has decided that the future of Google Search (not your website) is mobile. Now, the entire index has been rebuilt using a mobile search engine spider. If you want to rank, you have to cater to the search engine.

Fortunately, you can generally comply using responsive design. However, the user experience is impacted if your website is not optimized for mobile. And that can impact your rankings.

Further reading: Page Experience Matters: The Mobile-Friendly Site

Further viewing:

I hope this article helped you understand the answer to some popular SEO FAQs. If you liked what you saw in the Live Q&A videos, we do this every month with our members at

For more insights into SEO questions like these, be sure to sign up for membership, where you can ask your burning questions and get live guidance from me.

FAQ: What steps should I take if my site’s ranking is impacted after an update?

Search engine algorithm updates can significantly impact a website’s ranking, leading to fluctuations in search results. If you find that your site’s ranking has been affected after a recent update, there are crucial steps to take for recovery and reclaiming lost visibility.

Understanding the Impact

The first step is to carefully assess the extent of the ranking drop and identify the specific pages or keywords that have been affected. Analyze the timing of the drop in relation to recent algorithm updates. By understanding the impact and the changes made in the update, you can develop a targeted plan for recovery.

Site Audit and Optimization

Conduct a comprehensive site audit to identify any technical issues or violations of search engine guidelines that may have caused the ranking drop. Focus on factors like page load speed, mobile-friendliness, and broken links. Optimize your website’s content by incorporating relevant keywords naturally and ensuring high-quality, valuable content that aligns with user intent.

Link Profile Analysis

Evaluate your website’s backlink profile to check for any suspicious or low-quality links that might have triggered a penalty. Disavow toxic links, and work on acquiring high-quality backlinks from reputable sources to improve your site’s authority.

User Experience Enhancement

A positive user experience is crucial for ranking well in search results. Ensure your website is visually appealing, intuitive to navigate, and offers clear calls-to-action for maximum user engagement and to promote longer stays on your site. Improve its overall experience to encourage longer engagement from visitors.

Engaging Content Strategy

Formulate a content strategy with the goal of providing your audience with relevant, engaging, and informative material. Regularly add new posts to your website in order to establish yourself as an authority and expert in your niche.

How to Recover Lost Rankings After an Update

  1. Evaluate the Ranking Drop
  2. Identify the Affected Pages or Keywords
  3. Understand the Algorithm Update
  4. Plan a Targeted Recovery Strategy
  5. Conduct a Comprehensive Site Audit
  6. Address Technical Issues and Violations
  7. Optimize Website Content
  8. Focus on Mobile-Friendliness
  9. Improve Page Load Speed
  10. Fix Broken Links
  11. Analyze the Backlink Profile
  12. Disavow Toxic Links
  13. Acquire High-Quality Backlinks
  14. Enhance User Experience
  15. Optimize Site Navigation
  16. Create Clear Calls-to-Action
  17. Ensure a Visually Appealing Design
  18. Implement an Engaging Content Strategy
  19. Publish Valuable and Informative Content
  20. Monitor and Analyze Progress

By following these expert strategies and taking appropriate action, you can navigate through algorithm updates and recover lost rankings effectively. Remember to continually monitor your website’s performance and adapt your SEO efforts to stay resilient in the ever-changing landscape of search engine optimization.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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9 Replies to “Top 10 SEO FAQs Answered by Bruce Clay”

One of the things I liked best about this post was that it covered a wide range of topics, from the basics of keyword research to more advanced concepts like link building and mobile optimization.

I had not thought about voice search until I ran into this article, But as I had the ah-ha moment, (btw thanks) I immediately continued researching. One interesting thing I found that may help is to create a FAQ or Q&A on the site since this will allow for more conversational questions that someone may ask Siri or Alexa.

I also think that it is important to divide one’s attention between developing new material and improving existing material. That is one of the criteria I use to evaluate prospective SEO candidates.

thanks for sharing but I have no money to hire your service. What should i do ?

This is an excellent article! It was a pleasure to read this article. Thank you for making this information available to us. It’s been an incredible year! Thank you for making our lives a little easier.
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The given SEO promotion strategy works with slight deviations in our projects. The best confirmation of its correctness is customer loyalty. I have been working with some sites for several years.

I totally agree about splitting time between creating new content and updating old content. That’s actually something I check when interviewing an SEO.


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