When it comes to SEO nothing beats going Organic. Organic SEO without a doubt has the power to keep sustainable metrics and web traction throughout the ever changing landscape of search engine algorithms. Google and other search engines are constantly trying to improve their user experience and their placement factors are directly aligned with the user experience. When you think like a visitor you think like a search engine. So how can Organic SEO benefit your website even as the internet grows and it becomes even more difficult to find an opportunity to get your online business or website exposed to the right audience?
What Is Organic SEO?
Organic SEO also is known as “Natural SEO” or “White Hat” search engine optimization is basically the method of gaining web traction and traffic by following the guidelines provided by Google through non paid or pay per click advertising. That’s the definition in its core simplistic as it sounds Organic SEO is a bit more complicated and requires endurance. It isn’t a short gain or game but the most cost effective method in the long haul to keep your website in front of your target audience. Part art part science and ever changing good SEO will get you exposed, great Organic SEO will give you the opportunity to get found over and over.
What Are The Key Elements To Organic SEO?
As they say, I can see further when I stand on the shoulders of giants. If you really want to understand what you are up against especially in comparison to entrenched competitors you need to do some deep market research and analysis. You must look at your top 10 competitors and pay attention to what they are doing. How is there site designed? what are the structures and the user experience? what is there online marketing strategy? What is their backlink profile? What is their keyword strategy? and especially what is their content marketing strategy. If you are a local business research how well your competitors are doing in local search results. Make notes because in order to succeed online you must find the hidden opportunities that you have against these competitors and use it to your full advantage. Tailwind the strategies your top competitors use while constantly testing and trying new methods over and over until you succeed.
Keywords have changed since the old days of SEO. There once was a time when you found the keywords you wanted to get found for and just added them to your website and you were well on your way. Things have changed since then with the advent of Voice Search Optimization and Semantic keywords. The key to a great keyword strategy is to optimize on all fronts.
Keywords are categorized into a few segments. Branded which is your company name, low competition, med competition, high competition, long tail keywords. This mixed bag of keywords might seem a bit confusing but once you take a broader look at your web presence strategy you will find the opportunities on where to use them and how. You must understand Google is in the advertising business and PPC is built around keywords this is the reason when you check your analytics you will get the “not provided” in your organic keywords.
To get around this you need some help and this is done by using some paid software the pros. Some are easy to use and some more complex and all of them offer free trials go ahead and see what works best for you. Moz and SEMrush are great tools to start off with when it comes to more advanced metrics you can use AHrefs and Similar web for keyword research. These subscriptions will connect to your Google webmaster tools and suggest the keywords you are currently getting positions for and the conversion rates this is a great place to start.
Next, you want to input your top competitors and see what they are ranking for compile all of your keywords and start looking for common denominators and group them into the keyword categories and compile long tail keywords that are more than 3 to 4 words. I typically will use Semrush content audit tool at this point to also find semantic keywords these are keywords that are used to search for what a user means such as key lime pie and key lime recipe.
Once you have all your keywords set, look over your content and input them organically, keep in mind keyword stuffing will hurt your site so make sure you are writing for a visitor, not a search engine keep things natural and search engines will reward your for it.
& Traffic Volume
Once you have your keywords organized you want to take that list and use one of the aforementioned SEO tools to check how much average volume of traffic those keywords have potential for. The higher the volume the higher the competition level, so to start its always best to go for long tail keywords, med to low competition keywords to gain search engine tracking. You can still go for the highly competitive keywords because you do not need rankings to get traffic. This is where great content marketing comes into play.
After you have optimized your content for your keyword strategy you then want to track positions, you can do this for free in Google webmaster tools or use any of the paid subscriptions I mentioned before. This will help you identify if your keyword strategy is working overtime and it takes time lots of time. SEO is about patience depending on how old your website is and how many backlinks you have and trust factors it takes often a month for pages to get indexed and ranked and to start receiving traffic so patience is the key.
After about 4 to 6 months is when you want to evaluate the pages that aren’t performing and refine the keyword strategy and the content for those landing pages. SEO, as mentioned, is about experimentation and repetition so keep your eye on your performance and track your keyword positions, the conversion rates they get and the potential share of volume you are getting.
Local Search Optimization
If you are a local business or national improving your local web presence can be a great asset. You always want to target both areas. With local SEO you are basically making your name, address, phone number, and website consistent across the web, we call this NAPW. Local SEO starts with Google my business and Bing Business all the way to LinkedIn and social media sites. All of these have to be manually authorized and edited. You may also look to local listing and review sites as well such as Yelp. Basically what you are shooting for is the consistency of your businesses information across the web. Its a strong asset to have and can tremendously improve Organic search.
Microdata and schema markup also play a major role in local search and optimizing for schema markup. With WordPress it is a simple installation and I have recently added some great plugins for this in my post titled The Essential Free Plugins For WordPress The Pros Use 2017 if you are using wordpress its a fantastic guide on all the plugins the pros use and is a great resource for a lot of the Organic technical optimization techniques the pros use. You can read about SEO and WordPress and The plugins the pros use here if you are running a WordPress site.
Technical On Page Optimization
Technical SEO plays a big part in Organic SEO and is crucial for online success. It deals with everything outside of the content of your website and provides the most optimal foundation for your website to get crawled and indexed by search engines. The key points globally that should be addressed are in to be compliance with search engine guidelines, and the ability for a website to be ranked and indexed relevantly.
Now, this is an integral part of SEO and bit complex but the basic attributes I will cover and it all starts with a site audit. Heres the thing you really wont find any free SEO audit software out there that will really nail down the needs of your website there are so many elements to cover and to be fixed and checked and checked again so this is definitely something you want to invest in because if your technical SEO is not fully optimized you will miss out on many opportunities for search engines to index and crawl your website. Technical SEO does include all the known 200 plus point of ranking factors for your website plus many of the technical details that you need to optimize to reach your full online potential.
Technical SEO takes on the majority of the time when I do SEO, the best analogy I can give you is to think of Organic SEO as a car engine and it needs to be completely working in sync and tuned correctly to run. Same as SEO and this includes the user experience to how Google can crawl and Index your website. This includes your permalink structure, your images, and alt text, to pages with broken links, site speed, meta titles and descriptions, issues with your robots.txt files which tell Google what to index and not to, mobile friendliness, sitemaps of all your content, categories, posts, site architecture, and crawlability of search engines. A great SEO audit tool will help you identify these issues and explain briefly how to fix them. This subject is so important and expansive I could write a whole post on it but for now as a basic guide to Organic SEO here is a great article that will help you understand the core subject titled The beginners guide to technical SEO.
Nothing is more important to organic traffic generation then great content and distributing it on the web to the right channels for your target audience. You must blog and blog often, I typically tell my like clients if you were to only be in contact with your significant other once a month or more how great would your relationship be?
In one of my latest posts titled Content Marketing What, You Give Is What You Get I discussed the importance in today SEO landscape of writing great content and blog posts to gain organic traffic. The more roads that lead to your website the greater the chances of not only search engine positioning but traffic and flow through your website.
When writing content research relevant topics and what your competitors are talking about that really engages your target audience and definetly optimize for voice search and AMP pages! This is also where optimizing for voice search comes in and your keywords strategy. I recommend blogging at least 2 times per week to keep engagement up, and make sure your posts are informative and have value to your website visitors typically around 1200 words and up.
There is some great info on the web about blogging and content generation so read up. I cannot stress enough if you aren’t blogging and getting your content out there you are not establishing yourself as an Industry authority or engaging people and drawing traffic to your website its by far the one and only way to improve Organic traffic to your website and without it you are doomed to low traffic, little to now business leads, contacts, search engine rankings, phone calls or product purchases.
Natural Link Building
In simple terms, natural backlinks are when bloggers, webmasters or websites link to your content which can either be videos, images, products, pages, visual graphics or statistical data. Basically anything from their site to yours and when that is done whatever the domain authority or page authority that site has passed some link juice onto you.
This is one of the most challenging and time consuming tasks of Organic SEO in order to get backlinks your content must be of some quality and that content is so valuable that they referenced it on their site via a link when that is done whatever the domain authority or page authority (the numerical score that was once page rank) passes some link value or “Link juice onto you.
The technical term professionals use is “Link juice ” this is the value that is placed on a site by search engines based on trust, authority and the links that are also pointed to that site.
In the good old days of SEO tons of links increased your page rank. Pages that had high page rank passed authority to links to other sites and this translated to Google relevancy and increased your page rank. Those days are long and gone as page rank is no longer part and the Google algorithm update called penguin penalized websites that practiced blackhat SEO techniques who bought links and quickly found their websites penalized and removed from search results.
So the key point here is without great content there is no way to get great natural backlinks, and this refers back to great content so without great content don’t expect people to like, share or link to your website it is that simple. With a little manual work and some outreach through guest blogging and content marketing, people will link to your site, and Google will reward you for it by also giving you increasing crawl times on your site, and indexing pages quickly which in turn leads to search engine traction and SERP positions.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing in terms of Organic SEO is how you can get your content and products or service in front of a targeted audience. These include Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, Stubmleupon, Linkedin, Twitter, and more. Additionally, social media signals, shares, likes and clicks benefit your SEO. You don’t have to ambush every single social media site to upload your content to. just the right audience for your business goals and where your ideal visitors are at especially at the times that they most likely will be browsing. The biggest tip I can give you is if you have content that you really think people will love to read and share go ahead and boost the post, you can set the budget and it is not that expensive, even if you don’t get tons of traffic based on a boost at least you gain exposure to your brand or business.
So now that you have gathered your targeted keywords, wrote some awesome content you need to optimize your site for conversions. As they say you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. If your website architecture or design doesn’t express your brand the right way, or convey authority or even worse hard to navigate and make a purchase you are just leading all that great organic traffic to a dead end.
Conversion optimization takes a lot of experimentation and data analysis. The first thing you should look at is your bounce rate. Bounce rate will tell you how many times a visitor clicked on a link and left. This is a good indication that your potential visitor didn’t find what they were looking for, your website speed was too slow, or the navigation too difficult to manage or your website design and layout didn’t convey the right message.
At this point, you need to dig deep into analytics and check for the pages people land on and where they browse your site and leave. The key to great conversion optimization is to identify the key points of friction that users may have and eliminate them giving them the best experience on your site possible.
How Long Does SEO Take?
Well, how long is a piece of string? if SEO was something you could do quickly just imagine however changing the first page of search results would be. The relevancy of a search would change daily and nobody would get the most relevant result they were looking for. This is why SEO takes time, your competitors are entrenched but that doesn’t mean you cannot drive traffic to your site through other channels such as social media and great content marketing.
Organic SEO is a marathon and you must be in it for the long haul and expect to see results within the metrics that matter such as domain authority and natural link building, increase in conversions within 4 to 6 months rather than rankings because rankings dont always translate to traffic or success. If you are looking for the page one guaranteed rankings providers my suggestion is to run, this is not professional SEO, no Organic SEO professional or any professional will ever guarantee results they will educate you on what to look for and help improve the visibility and user experience of your website for the potential of increased traffic for years to come when done right.
If you are expecting to hire a professional organic SEO provider and to see a return on investment with a few months its best you just spend that money on paid marketing. Organic SEO, when done right, will benefit your website for years to come because when you improve content, the user experience, the domain authority and page authority that is permanent and with continued efforts in blogging and content marketing you create an everlasting spring of knowledge that people will come to over and over.
I see this time and time again clients want results quickly or expect to see major gains within a few short months. Do you really think the top competitors who have been in business for the past 10 years plus hired an SEO expert for 3 months and became a success? If you are not willing to put the patience and time into your website, work hand in hand with your provider to improve your online presence and collaborate with quality content you might as well just leave your site as is and hope that one day you will have a business it is that simple!
5 Myths Of SEO
- I need to rank number one for my keyword
- Duplicate content will hurt my site
- SEO is One and Done
- Keyword stuffing will help my site
- SEO can be done fast and cheap
The Wrap Up And Final Thoughts
Investing in Organic SEO is a long term commitment, you must budget for it, the value or SEO vs paid marketing is far cheaper and the effects long lasting. When you combine a great user experience, optimize the technical on-page SEO elements, have a strong social media and local SEO presence, and supercharge your content marketing efforts your website will be gain the potential to be found over and over.
Great SEO takes a lot of experience and knowledge and creativity and especially time, be prepared have a budget that you can sustain and ask questions. SEO is not about dollars spent and dollars in especially within the 6 months to the first year, if you aren’t prepared for that then be prepared to be disappointed. If you do find a great service provider they will work with you to gain success because we as SEO professionals want you to succeed as much as we do or reputation depends on it.