12.02.20155 min read

Ask an SEO Expert

SEO is difficult, but worth it. No other practice gives us such direct insight into what people want and are searching for. This means that search traffic consistently ranks up there with email for the highest converting web traffic. We had our resident SEO expert answer questions from small business owners. Read on for some tips and tricks to master SEO.


Dear SEO Expert,

For a startup company in the competitive tech space, we know it’s important to build reputable backlinks to our site. However, I recently became worried when my SEO company listed us on a few sites that we're previously listed. Will our company be penalized for duplicate listings on the same directory? Is listing on directories even recommended? How do I advise my SEO company moving forward? 

-Francene Mullings

Founder, HOMUI

Hi Francene,

Duplicate listings on the same website happen all the time. I wouldn’t worry about having multiple backlinks coming from the same site. What’s more concerning is the directory. While certain directories are still ok, I’d recommend not listing on directories at all, unless they are hyper-relevant to your product or service and the directory itself is not under a penalty. If your SEO agency is good, they will know how to check whether or not the directory is under a penalty.

Long and short—directory listings are an echo of the SEO past. There is a place for them today, but they should never be the driver of your SEO strategy. Seek out links on highly relevant websites that you build lasting partnerships with.


Dear SEO Expert,

How do I get back links? I've done everything I can think of to optimize my site but I'm still not very high in the search ranks. I keep hearing that I need more back links but I'm not really sure how to get them or what kinds to get. 

-Karah Couch

Karah Couch Photography

Hi Karah,

This is a big question! There are numerous ways to get backlinks, not all of them are above the board. I would focus more on garnering publicity for your company and staying very active on social media. Focus on building your brand and those backlinks will start rolling in.


Dear SEO Expert,

As a small business (roofing contractor), I can't understand why I always have to be SEO'ing my website. I know my competition does, so I feel I have to, but do I have to? 

-Chris Eskew

Eco Tech Roofing 

Hi Chris,

You don’t have to. SEO is just one way among many to garner new leads. Granted, organic search leads typically perform much better than traditional advertising leads. Ask yourself, how do I currently get new leads? Am I satisfied with this? Is there room to grow? Are people looking for roofing contractors online?

If you want to keep going with SEO, then I would recommend going all in. SEO takes time to pay off and you usually won’t see good return on investment (ROI) for another 4-8 months. But, when those sweet organic leads start rolling in, it will be worth it.

Dear SEO Expert,

How is overall site authority determined? What are the most important site authority factors? Does site authority influence individual page rank on keyword terms? What social media factors are most important to increase our site authority or Google rankings? Or, is social media just a form of direct marketing and brand building to your target audience—that is, it has little or no impact on site authority or ranking? 

-John Kinskey


Hi John,

If I knew the exact answer to those questions, I could break the Internet. As an SEO community here is what we know:

  • Backlinks from other related websites contribute
  • Social media mentions, likes, +1s and shares help
  • The actual content on the page helps. It needs to be unique, helpful, grammatically correct, etc. In other words, it needs to be authoritative.
  • Rumor has it that even non-linked brand mentions of your site help

In short, the more general raucous that your website creates, the better.

If you are thinking about authority, though, I would say you are on the right track. Use Moz.com Open Site Explorer to get a clear idea of your authority score.


Dear SEO Expert,

So, I've got a pretty exact question. My software provider is doing something pretty strange with canonical tags and is using 302 redirects instead of 301's. I've read as much as I can find on the topic. Is their use of 302's hurting my rankings? 

-Mark Aselstine

Uncorked Ventures

Hi Mark,

Yes it is! You want to get those switched to 301s. 301 redirects are permanent redirects and pass “juice” along, whereas 302s do not. Get those fixed!


Thanks to everyone for submitting your questions! If you need more information on SEO, download our e-book SEO Basics

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