Welcome to The Ask Glynos Show, episode number 49. Today I’m doing another live Q&A. Stick around.

1. How many backlinks does Quora have?

This is a very interesting question that I thought I would answer. According to Ahrefs, Quora has 33.8 million backlinks from 227,000 referring domains. It ranks organically for around 72 million different keywords, and gets around 117 million people or so a month on there, on the website from Google and Bing and any other organic search engine.

That’s quite interesting. 33 million backlinks, you’re never going to get that many backlinks by running a sophisticated link building campaign. You get that many backlinks because you’re building something of great value. That’s how you get that many backlinks.

2. Is SEO losing in importance?

It depends what you mean. Is SEO dying in terms of keyword stuffing? Yes. That’s dead. Is SEO dead in terms of just trying to manipulate and game and try to just cheat your way to top rankings? That’s not dead but it’s dying, and Google is getting more and more sophisticated at crunching that crap out of its index.

Black hat SEO is harder to do than ever before. Is SEO losing in importance would only come true if we stopped searching for things on a search engine. Because think about what SEO actually means, search engine optimization. SEO will probably go out of business once no longer anyone uses search engines to find information. What will it be replaced with? You could even say that Google could go out of business, but SEO won’t because if there’s another search engine that takes over.

How will that search engine rank billions and probably trillions of webpages out there? Who’s going to rank first for competitive keywords like jewelry or baseball cards? There’s got to be some sort of algorithm, so the search engine optimization process exists to help search engines understand what’s the most valuable content on the internet. When you’re dealing with the numbers that we’re dealing with, the only way SEO is going to completely die is if we no longer search, either typing or through voice.

Because even voice, on a Google voice device there is so much content on Google, who’s actually going to get the first snippet or the second or the third result? It might be like Google would deliver to you the first answer on its Google Home device, and then second and third eventually may get obviously some airtime. No, SEO is not losing in importance. In fact, you will know when SEO is losing in importance. You won’t even have to ask the question because our whole entire user behavior will shift to another piece of technology. Good question. Something to think about. I thought about that quite a bit.

3. Does a WordPress website rank well on Google and other search engines?

Well, the reason why I think a lot of people use WordPress is because it’s really easy to use, and out of the box it’s relatively optimized for search engines. In saying that, it’s not perfect, I mean out of the box, that is, anyway. Without obviously installing a certain number of plugins it’s never really 100% SEO optimized. The point is that it generally will rank well on Google, because they’ve got an internal pinging server, so when a new piece of content gets added through their blog they usually ping the search engines.

What would generally happen, it’s very easy to crawl. Google likes WordPress because it really understands its HTML, really understands the backend code quite well. Its sort of theme, structure is sort of done in a way that search engines can really understand. They don’t do any silly things with different types of code like JavaScript hiding, like not hiding information but structuring it and placing it on a page where they can’t really understand it.

It doesn’t do anything in a way that makes it very difficult for search engines to understand. In fact, now more than ever a lot of development goes into WordPress with SEO in mind. I think that’s why they’ve been really the front runners, because they have so much third-party support, they have so many SEO-based plugins to help you, and really out of the box it’s a very good system. That doesn’t necessarily mean that automatically you have a WordPress website and you’re going to rank above someone who doesn’t have a WordPress website.

There’s still a lot of factors that come into play to ranking those sites. Generally people go for it because out of the box it covers a lot of technical on-page tasks for you that other CMS systems in the past have struggled to do. Good question.

4. Can Google ban a website from ever showing in their search engine?

Yes they can, and yes they have. Now, I remember a while ago Google banned BMW because they did a few dodgy stuff in terms of cloaking. Now, they brought them back, and they did a few other dodgy things, but Google brought BMW back because BMW was probably piling on some pressure maybe, I don’t know. You would think that they would have brought BMW back because a lot of people were searching for it and they couldn’t find it.

I believe it could have been the BMW, the Dutch, not the Dutch, sorry, the German version of the site went down. In saying that, Google has probably sent the message, “If we did it to BMW, we can do it to anybody.” Manipulating Google search engine, it doesn’t make sense from a business point of view. Now, if you’ve got your own affiliate sites and you really want to test things out, like I get why some people want to test things out using black hat tactics.

If you’ve got a legitimate business, if you’ve got a real business, it just doesn’t make sense to do black hat SEO not because Google says it’s bad, or not even because Google will ban you, but because it’s not smart for business. Building great content is something Google loves, because people love it. Your emphasis as a business owner should always be what do the customers want first. That’s the same thing that Google happens to want.

What people want is generally what Google wants. When you focus more on user behavior in your SEO, you usually go a lot further. It takes a lot longer. It’s the long path but it’s the right one.

5. Is Google search engine still upgrading?

Of course. I don’t think I would use the word upgrading. They’re obviously tweaking their algorithm. Upgrading could be understood in many different ways. I would say they’re advancing their search engine algorithm. Now, they’re getting better at obviously understanding our behaviour norm, and they want to start adopting in technology to understand us through machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Google, I think, eventually will get to a point where they will be so far advanced that I think that they really don’t want to rely on links. I get the feeling that they don’t want to rely on links as much as they have historically, and really how much they still do today. They really want to focus primarily on how do we deliver the best search results based upon what people are clicking. They would literally shuffle results around now if they believe that more people are clicking third over first. They’ll drop first, and they’ll increase third place rankings if they believe they solve the user’s intent.

What Google’s big on right now, and it’s only going to get bigger on is understanding what the intent of the user is. If they’re searching for a jaguar, are they searching for the animal, are they searching about the car, and really owning and making sure that permeates more in their algorithm. Your behavior matters to Google so much, and they don’t want to necessarily always rely on links as the dominant way that they do now in terms of working out quality content.

I think that obviously makes them vulnerable as well, so they really want to push forward with machine learning and artificial intelligence. Good question.

6. Why is it so tough now to rank organically on the first page of search results?

I just talked about this about a year or two ago and it’s probably more so now. I think if you look at the amount of competition there is, I think more people know about SEO, so more people are investing in SEOs to do work on their websites. Which means that when I started in 2008, you might have a client and maybe only 20% of their competitors are using SEOs, if you’re lucky. Probably was never a lot less than 20% of their major competitors.

Now, I would say that in most competitive industries 90% of competitors, especially major competitors are using SEOs. Definitely 80%. If you’re in very tough industries like jewellery or you’re in a tough industry like travel, law, dentistry, you can almost guarantee that 80% of your competitors have other SEOs. What makes it so tough is you’re dealing with other SEOs and obviously companies that are investing heavily into SEO, as well as companies realizing, “You know what, I need to start doing this SEO thing finally.” That’s obviously grown in importance.

The amount of effort that’s going into it is increasing, the amount of websites people are building. I still see businesses without websites. I still see that, but not as often as I did seven years ago. If any business walks in now, walks into this meeting and I say to them, “Do you have a website?” And they say, “No.” I’m like, “Do you understand that it’s important?” Yes. They’ll probably give me a reason why they haven’t built one yet. No one’s really going to say “website, not that important”.

Especially if you sell directly through the website, and you have a business that really operates predominantly online. SEO has become more advanced as obviously the algorithms have grown, and so it’s a lot more difficult to rank because the search engine algorithms improved so much. There’s so much content on the web, and making sure that you stick out is a lot harder than ever before.

A lot of SEO, sorry not SEOs, a lot of businesses ask … You know what, they always tell us they need to be number one, but they never tell us why they deserve to be number one, and that’s the big takeaway. Because everybody wants to be number one, but there’s going to have to come sacrifices of really what does it mean to be number one, and how much effort are you going to put into that.

Old-school SEO was really focusing on maybe one keyword, two keywords, three keywords. Now, it’s got to be far more comprehensive than that. It’s got to focus on a long-form content marketing strategy. It’s got to focus on user experience, user behavior, building content that builds trust with the end consumer, creating journeys about once a customer comes on this content, what do you want them to do? How much they’re engaging with your brand.

How often are they leaving brand mentions on the internet in forums, social media? How much are they talking about you? All this is just going to become more and more important. It’s not just about ranking your one or two keywords. It’s how much value you’re bringing to the market, and therefore how much trust you’re going to get from your consumer and from your targeted audience.

7. What are the three most important Google search engine ranking factors?

I think I just touched on them. I think largely it’s got to come down to what I would focus on is content, user experience, and then link outreach. Content will decide how your business goes forward. I think developing a good product or service is a good ranking factor. I’ll tell you why, because people are just going to slam you with bad reviews if you don’t deliver a good service or you don’t deliver a good product. That’s going to harm, even if you rank first, like people are going to see, people are going to type your name and type reviews and see those reviews. It can damage your brand.

Content is at the essence of every good, amazing SEO strategy. Building content isn’t even enough. Why are you building that content? How does this content solve a problem? Does it even solve a problem? Is it entertaining? Does it bring value in a target market? Working out exactly how you should structure and design content is very advanced now. It isn’t just as simple as I’ll just throw up 15 articles a month. That can be advantageous, but you really need to put time and emphasis and energy into delivering and building it.

It’s not enough just to create content, because there’s so much of it on the internet, how are you going to stick out? It is the most important factor in my opinion, and user experience will be because that’s obviously going to make sense first and foremost for your users, and then also safeguard you for future advancements in the Google search algorithm. Look, the best takeaway, the best ranking factor is focus on what provides your customers with the best experience. That really rings true on so many levels. I think SEO now is so detailed that just focusing simply on a keyword here and there is doing an injustice.

8. Do you think that voice search on Google search engine will reach 100%?

I don’t know exactly what you mean by that, but I am assuming that you mean that a majority of people or 100% of people will start using voice. Maybe. Yeah, eventually, potentially. I think we won’t be typing. We’ll just be speaking. I think definitely over the next five to ten years that will become far more important. There’s no question. You can already see it.

Will it take over 100% in the next 10 years? I don’t think so. I think people are still going to be using computers and their mobile phones to search for things, in particular their mobile device. Maybe they’re just going to hold a device and ask certain things. I think that it will take probably 50 years, or let’s say 30 to 50 years before, I think, voice fully becomes 100% of how searches are being done online.

Thanks a lot, guys. Please let us know if you found that valuable and please let us know if you’ve got a question of your own.

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