SEO vs the Pope?


Photo credit to Digital District

Those of us who live in the SEO world face a constant stream of challenges and obstacles: daily Google algorithm updates, third-party content out of our control, competitors coming at us from all angles. But competing against the Pope? That was a new one.

On September 23 - smack dab in the middle of Pope Francis mania here in DC - I hosted an SEO webinar through Digital District. And, thanks to the city shutting down to accommodate the pontiff, I was able to do so from the comfort of my own home and my own sweatpants. To be clear, I was just as sucked into the pomp and circumstance as the rest of the country. But I took a 45 minute break from Francis coverage to speak to an audience that, well, might have been paying attention.

As I moved through a whirlwind tour of SEO basics, tools for intermediates, and tactics for experts, the expected questions did begin to come in. And so, as a follow up to that blessed webinar, I give you answers to those questions:

  1. What's the best source of SEO news and updates to keep up with?

    I'd say the most regularly referenced sources we use here at REQ are (formerly,, and (some of us may or may not have contributed to that last one). In addition to being a great source of news and invaluable tools, also hosts events around the country that are considered the industry's gold standard. And SearchEngineLand delivers a must-read daily newsletter that keeps us all up to speed.

  1. What is the best way to utilize and build SEO for personal search results?

    This was a great question that I was able to address towards the tail end of the presentation, but, to recap: There is a lot you can do yourself to begin taking control of your own personal brand. Active social media accounts are an obvious first step; it can be very useful to look beyond the big fish - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn - and make sure you've claimed a profile on some of the second-tier networks like Quora,, Slideshare, and LookUpPage. Also consider grabbing your own domain name and using it as a brand platform. And don't forget about optimizing image results - adding some properly tagged photos to Google+ and Flickr will help ensure you control that content as well.

  1. How long does it take to see results from SEO?

    The pursuit of SEO does require patience. The answer to this question will invariably depend on what keywords we're talking about, and what kind of foundation we're building off of, but we typically try to set expectations by explaining that the work we do takes some time to filter back to Google and impact the results. This means anywhere from 1-3 months to see movement, 4-6 months for those changes to begin trending powerfully, and 6+ months to ensure your work takes hold.
  2. And, what to do with broken links?

    Broken links are the biggest SEO pain because they are so often out of our control! #DDSEO

    - Allie Toomey (@atoomey15) September 23, 2015
    So true, Allie. Broken links of all shapes and sizes - internal, inbound, and outbound - can influence your SEO efforts. Internal and/or outbound broken links send a signal that your site is not being maintained regularly, and busted inbound links represent lost opportunities. We use various site crawling tools (Screaming Frog, for example) to run audits at least once a month to check for these issues. At the very least, we can automate that part of the process.
  3. For good measure, a bonus question: what are some of the best SEO tools?

    I've mentioned (for website metrics and keyword difficulty scores) and Screaming Frog (site audits). Other tools we rely on include AuthorityLabs (tracking SERPs), Ahrefs (backlinks), and SEMRush (competitor research).

Thanks again to Digital District for organizing and hosting the webinar. Let's do it again when the Dalai Lama comes to town.

Let’s talk.