5 min read



There’s no shortage of questions in SEO, but answers you can trust? Those are in short supply.

The good news is that you’ve found what you’re looking for. Read on to get the answers to all your burning SEO questions from Hire a Writer’s expert SEO team.

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a broad category of actions with one common goal: getting a website to rank well in search engines like Google. In effect, it is the process of reverse-engineering the algorithms that drive search engines to understand the factors by which they assess the quality of websites, followed by putting that knowledge to use on the website you are trying to optimize.

Why Does SEO Cost So Much?

The price of SEO services can run the gamut from the shockingly cheap to the breathtakingly expensive, but it’s important to understand that the best SEO services are usually going to cost a decent amount of money each month.

SEO is an investment in the future of your website. When your SEO improves, you get more traffic, and that traffic should translate to more purchases, contacts, ad revenue or whatever other end goal your business has for its site. It’s a long-term game that can yield big results for years, which is why the initial and ongoing costs are often quite high.

Also, because SEO is such a broad category of actions and subjects, those who can actually provide SEO as a service are experts who have had to develop their skills for years. That kind of expertise usually comes with a high price tag.

Think you may have gaps in your SEO knowledge? Get our FREE eBook with every  single basic concept related to SEO.

What Is On-Page SEO?

On-page SEO is the bulk of the SEO we do at Hire a Writer. This is anything you do on your own website to make your website more attractive to search engines. The biggest concern here is content — blog posts, landing pages, homepage copy and any other words that will appear on the page. 

To learn more about on-page SEO, check out our On-Page SEO Crash Course.

What Is Off-Page SEO?

Off-page SEO is all of the factors that can influence your search engine rankings that occur off of your site. These will largely be out of your control, but many agencies and freelancers offer off-page SEO as a service. 

Here are a few factors included under the off-page SEO umbrella:

  • Link building
  • PR and brand mentions
  • Reviews and other trust-building measures
  • Social signals from platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram

What Is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is all about the structure of your website — how it’s laid out and coded. This is a subcategory of SEO that often goes overlooked until you realize that you have tried everything and still are struggling to rank for your chosen keywords. A technical SEO specialist will assess the structure and crawlability of your website to find and fix red flags search engines may be seeing.

Do I Need SEO for My Business?

Most businesses with websites can benefit from SEO, but it’s important to remember that there are many levels of SEO that come with their own price ranges. 

Just because you may need SEO may not mean that you need to shell out $10,000 per month for a full-service SEO contract. In fact, many small businesses or businesses with newer websites can benefit at first from on-page SEO only, which would mostly involve building a content strategy and keyword campaign.

However, larger businesses and those in highly competitive fields may benefit from full-service SEO that includes technical monitoring and an extensive link building campaign.

How Long Does It Take to Rank?

This is by far the most common question we hear about SEO. There’s a good reason for that, of course: You want to know what to expect and how long you’ll need to invest in SEO before you start seeing some ROI. As it is for many parts of SEO, the answer is: “It depends.”

More specifically, it depends on a wide variety of ranking factors, as well as the particular keywords for which you would like to rank. For example, if you just bought your domain and launched your site last week, Google is not going to trust your site enough to rank it well for several months. 

And if you’re going after a keyword that gets searched 10,000 times per month, don’t expect to hit #1 any time soon.

SEO powerhouse Ahrefs conducted an in-depth study on how long it takes to rank. According to the study, the average age of any page ranking on the first page of Google for a particular keyword was around two years old. In fact, only 5.7% of pages that ranked on the first page for any keyword were less than one year old. The takeaway? SEO takes time.

Why Is a Blog I Wrote Five Years Ago Ranking Better Than the One You Wrote for Me Last Week?

You spend some money on SEO and get your first ranking report, and much to your dismay, your shiny new blog posts are nowhere to be seen in the rankings. All you see is a blog post you wrote five years ago pulling in the lion’s share of your organic traffic.

This happens all the time, and it has to do with the issues discussed in the above question about how long it takes to rank. SEO takes time. It can take Google as long as 60 days to even discover new content on your site, and even then, it might not index it right away, particularly if your website hasn’t been publishing content regularly for very long. 

There’s no denying that it is frustrating to wait for your new content to rise in the rankings, but if you have invested in high-quality content and have no systemic issues with your website, it will rise in the rankings. It’s just a matter of time.

What Are Ranking Factors?

A ranking factor is one of potentially thousands of variables a search engine may use to determine which keywords a webpage should rank for and where in the rankings it should fall. Although no one knows for sure, the general consensus among SEO experts is that Google uses a little over 200 ranking factors in its algorithm.

Examples of ranking factors include content quality, domain age, mobile friendliness, header tags, number of internal links, backlinks and anchor text. If you’re interested in learning more, Backlinko’s Brian Dean took the time to put together a complete list of known Google ranking factors. Check it out.

What Is a SERP?

A SERP is a search engine results page. It’s just one of the pages of search results you see after you enter a query into Google or another search engine.

You may hear the term “SERP analysis” thrown around when you’re discussing or researching SEO. This is simply the practice of calling up the SERP for a keyword you would like to rank for and examining what’s already there. Factors you might assess include the quality of the ranking content and SERP features like People Also Ask and featured snippets.

What Is Domain Authority?

Domain authority (DA) is an SEO metric that assesses how likely a website is to rank well in search engines. 

Despite the way many people treat this term, it is not a phrase you would hear around Google’s headquarters. In fact, DA was developed by SEO tool developer Moz. It’s not a ranking factor — it’s just a lens through which to assess your progress toward becoming an authoritative website that search engines are likely to favor.

More SEO Questions? We Have Answers

We get it. SEO is a big, weird topic, and even a thorough FAQ page often isn’t enough to cut through the confusion. If you still have questions, that’s perfectly fine. You can get the answers you need by reaching out to the expert on-page SEO team at Hire a Writer.

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