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An In-depth Guide To Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

An In-depth Guide To Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing the visibility of a website, or a web page, in a search engine’s results. In simpler terms, your website will pop up earlier in a search with some keywords.

There are two types of SEO

Onsite SEO
This is what ‘you’ say about yourself. It refers to what you distribute on your site and what issues you think you have authority on.

Offsite SEO
This is what ‘they’ say about you. For example, if a reputable and established source like Forbes or Huffingpost, link to your site as an authority, Google’s algorithm will give you credit for that. Off-site SEO carries the most weight in a search. It makes perfect sense when you think it through. Reputable sources vouching for your authority on a subject mean far more than you vouching for yourself.

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SEO should be a factor in determining your content. In order to make Google include your site as a top result, your SEO should be based on the keywords you are shooting for in your niche or market. I recently stumbled upon a site that really laid out the benefits of having your contents included in search engine results. One Houston SEO Expert explained that it is essential to know what people really want and what they search on the web. The expert also said you are missing out on a great deal of money and business by not being on Google and other top search engines.

Essentially, if your brand is not rating as a top result, prospects probably aren’t going to find you.

When Does Google’s Algorithm Change?

Google usually updates its algorithm annually. Historically this has been in order to penalize content owners or marketers who have attempted to outsmart the formula with spammy, black-hat techniques. More recent updates have been to simply return better results for quality content.

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SEO is the most important part of internet marketing. Whether you have a blog, a business website, or an e-Commerce store, SEO is equally important to promoting it on the internet.

If you have just created a website or blog and want to do its SEO on your own, then this article is for you.  I am going to give a quick overview of how SEO works.

Keyword Research

The most important step of SEO is picking the right keyword for your campaign. This process is also called keyword research. Most of the success or failure of your campaign relies upon this keyword. Many people fail in their SEO when they try to rank with the wrong keyword.

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There is no “wrong” word to go with in keyword research. All words are rankable, it’s just that some keywords have higher competition and some have lower competition. So, a good strategy SEO experts use in their SEO campaigns is targeting low competition key word. This way they increase their site authority little by little. Once they have enough domain experts, they start targeting high competition keywords too.

Onsite Optimization

Onsite optimization is a very important part of any SEO campaign. Onsite optimization is basically about making an online page relevant to your targeted keyword. Yahoo, Bing, Baidu, Yandex or any other search engine always shows relevant pages only in its searches. So making your content relevant to your targeted keyword is important for a successful SEO campaign.

Off-Site Optimization

As I said earlier, the most relevant aspect is the off-site optimization. This basically consists of making backlinks to a site on high domain authority sites. Backlinks are basically the main ranking indication which Google considers to position a website. A site with a higher number of backlinks ranks above than a site with low numbers of backlinks. There are many ways to generate backlinks of your website. To know more about backlink creation you can check with a good backlinks building guide.

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What To Do When Things Go Wrong in SEO

As SEO has its good side for the content owner, unfortunately, sometimes it goes wrong. You think, how will it go wrong? This can happen because you get over-aggressive with SEO tactics or because you violated the rules laid down by Google. When you think something is wrong with the ranking of your website, it is a good idea to solve the problem as fast you can to avoid your site being banned by Google. For this reason, you need to diagnose your issue.

How To Go About The Diagnosis

There are two major ways to learn you have a problem. The first is if you see a large drop in the organic search traffic to your site. The drop can be catastrophic in nature. It seriously affects your website to the extent that your contents can’t be shown when people search with your targeted keyword.

The other way you might learn about a problem is if you get a message directly within Google Search Console telling you about it. If you haven’t signed up for Search Console, you should do that immediately. In fact, you need to stop reading this article now and go set it up.

Featured photo credit: United Methodist Communications via cdnfiles.umc.org

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Published on December 17, 2018

15 Important Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview

15 Important Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview

The importance of asking great questions cannot be overstated. Great questions help you discover new things, diagnose existing problems, and explore how well solutions are working in your life or business. Whether you work with consultants, executives, or entry-level employees, you cannot skip questions.

Now imagine running a company where sustainability and profitability depends on your ability to determine the brightest minds and skills in the industry in a single conversation:

How do you know they’re the perfect fit for you? How do you assess their communication skills? How do you know they won’t cost your team in the long run?

You know it already; ask great questions!

The concept of asking questions isn’t new but there is a great chance that you’re not taking full advantage of it. A Harvard Business Review article refers to questioning as a powerful tool that unlocks value, fuels innovation and performance improvement.[1] As a hiring manager or recruiter, how to you get this information when you’re meeting a candidate for the first time?

Ask great questions, of course.

Without further ado, here are 15 interview questions to ask employees during an interview:

1. “What are your career goals?”

Another version of this question is “What types of problems do you see yourself solving in the future?”

This question is almost never asked and when it is asked, most questions are geared towards knowing how long the employees intends to stay in the company.

Instead of asking leading questions that would steer employees into declaring undying loyalty for the organization, ask what types of problems they hope to solve in the future.

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This does two things:

  1. It reveals the skills and interest in your employees.
  2. It lets you know what types of candidates you are attracting in the first place.

With this, you’re able to trend this data to improve how you market your job opening. And if employee retention is pertinent to you, you can use this information to improve the job function so that future employees can see their future selves in this role.

2. “Why do you think you’re a great fit?”

It is important to go beneath the surface to ask questions that make the candidates speak about themselves in their own words. However, a surprising benefit of asking this question is that you’re able to determine how well-versed a candidate really is with the company’s challenges and goals, in addition to their personal attributes.

Instead of listing off accomplishments, an exceptional employee is able to help you see how these previous accomplishment can translate into helping your organization solve its current business problems.

3. “What do you hope to learn from this role?”

The answers to this question can reveal if there is a job-skill match and if a linear career progression is expected.

As you listen carefully and mind these answers from candidates, you begin to see trends in responses that help you refine how you develop roles, responsibilities, how employees see themselves, and what they want their career to look like.

4. “How do you deal with conflict between colleagues?”

Almost every breakdown in relationship is caused by miscommunication or lack of effective interpersonal skills. But a solid indicator of how well a person communicates is how they manage interpersonal conflict.

Conflict management skills is no longer something required only for corporations who wish to settle million-dollar lawsuits. It’s an essential skill that every worker ought to possess and can make or break an organization.

Tip: Ask for a time when they didn’t get along with a co-worker and how they resolved the conflict.

5. “How did you learn about this position?”

Asking how they learned about the position reveals how the brand is perceived by the outside world. This way, you know if your current employees is your biggest source of referrals for qualified applicants.

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This also lets you know how effective your current staffing processes are and which channels are worth the effort.

6. “Why are you interested in this position?”

Again, another seemingly basic question. But when you field applications from candidates who are transferring their skills from a different department or industry, you want to know why the change was made.

What led to the aha moment? What was the internal struggle like for them? What stands out to them about this particular position? Very important.

7. “What excites you the MOST about this position?”

After establishing how passionate they are about this position, it’s not unusual that you would want to know what tasks and responsibilities excite them most. With this knowledge, not only are you aware of their sense of ownership, you help nurture these skills by encouraging and facilitating the discovery of hidden potential in your employees.

For example, a hospital nurse might detest inserting intravenous catheters in patients but jump at the task of motivating colleagues and initiating stress-reduction activities on hospital units. An office employee might cringe at the thought of public speaking but excel at creating world-class presentations.

While you can’t exempt your employee from every task in the role because they favor one thing over another, you are more aware of how rich your existing talent pool is in your organization and can utilize your talents effectively.

8. “What do you consider your weakness?”

Why should you ask a candidate what his or her weakness is when all you want is someone perfect?

Admitting a weakness shouldn’t automatically disqualify a candidate. Rather, it reveals to you how self-aware the candidate is.

Self-awareness is essential to personal and professional development, and this is sometimes a precursor to how self-directed a person is regarding their career goals.

There are arguments about the need to abolish the weakness question from interviews because it reduces candidates’ accomplishments. I disagree.

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Asking employees about weaknesses lets you understand your employees better so you can not only create a work environment that is smart, you’re able to design professional development programs that can strengthen these weaknesses.

9. “What will you find challenging about this position?”

Maybe you don’t want to ask the ”weakness question.” Maybe you’re more concerned about the capacity to perform in the current job rather than their job history.

Still, you want to know if you have a creative problem solver and how they feel about potential problems when they arise. You also want to anticipate how your employees will adjust to their roles once they are successfully hired. Self-awareness about one’s ability and limits can be observed by asking this question during an interview.

Note: This question should never be asked with a malicious intent. Exceptional employees come with flaws and this should be expected. They key is knowing whether the successful candidate is willing to be a problem solver.

10. “What additional support will you need during your transition?”

This is a very important question during the interview question because not only is the labor market diverse, the response to this question can be used to develop the orientation process and additional training materials.

As a mentor to newer nurses, this is a question I repeat more than 50 percent of the time during the orientation period. The responses I get provide me with insights into what employees really consider as constraints so that I can make their transition as smooth as possible.

11. “What qualities do you desire in a leader or manager?”

Not everyone desires a manager who provides direction while giving you free rein to make your job your own. At the same time, some employees might prefer a manager who is detail-oriented and provides all the answers.

Knowing this before a candidate is hired can prevent conflict arising from differences in communication or management styles.

12. “What do you do if you don’t agree with your manager’s decisions?”

Conflict not only happens between employees. According to a study of conflict in the Canadian workforce,[2] about 81 percent of people leave the organization as a result of conflict.

The purpose of this question is to determine how adaptable an employee is to different communication styles, what they consider deal breakers, and how they model desired behavior when conflict arises.

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The responses to this question allows you to manage expectations and an indication for leaders to continuously work on their communication and conflict management skills.

13. “What would make this company an amazing place to work?”

Maybe you can’t provide free lunches or paid hours of free time at work like bigger companies. But answers to this question can reveal a lot about what employees think is crucial to well-being.

In a study of nearly 17,000 employees,[3] it was noted that an increase in stress level is directly correlated to workplace injury. While this interview won’t eradicate organizational constraints or stressors, feedback from candidates and employees on what makes a company a great place to work is the perfect place to start.

14. “What other questions do you have for me?”

Although this is a conversation to determine the best fit for your team, company, or organization, the interview goes both ways. Yes, you are also being scrutinized by your interviewee.

The purpose of this question is to create space to answer the candidate’s questions about your organization. You also get to provide insight on processes, expectations, team culture, and information that isn’t readily available on the company website.

15. “Tell me about yourself”

If everything else seems too much, lead with this timeless question. You simply cannot go wrong here.

Sometimes, the best answers come from open-ended queries. This is your best chance to know the candidate’s history, career accomplishments, and get a feel for their career goals all at the same time.

It is less intrusive and leading with this question makes it easier to approach other questions––depending on how sensitive the position is.

The Bottom Line

Conversation is a two-way street. Good questions can give you great insights into the value an employee can bring to your company. But there is an art and science to asking questions.

While you won’t become an expert right off the bat, these questions provide a good foundation to start from if you want to attract and retain top talent in your organization.

More Resources About Job Interview

Featured photo credit: Drew Beamer via unsplash.com

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