You have put a lot of effort into building your website but it’s not, a) generating organic traffic, b) on the first page of search engine results, c) getting enough referrals as evident from Google Analytics. The reason?
There may be multiple reasons why it’s not there at the top. From a case of misplaced keywords to low-quality backlinks to non-optimized content – the list can be long. How to deal with it?
Your top bet is using organic SEO techniques. Let’s delve into this topic to know what to do when our site doesn’t walk the talk.
What is Organic SEO?
In its simplest term, organic SEO applies non-paid strategies to make a site rank high on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
It’s the opposite of paid SEO where a business ranks its site high through paid ads that sit on top of the SERP.
The Importance of Organic SEO
Research has shown that more than half of web traffic is driven by organic searches. Therefore, your site must be up there on the search engine rankings.
Google and other search engines crawl or discover a site and rank it according to the relevance of the content and its level of authority. With guidance from an organic SEO expert, you can achieve:
Higher chances of being crawled and indexed by Google.
Relevance by using the right keywords at the right places of the content without overstuffing it.
A high score on authority by ensuring your site has been backlinked by other websites that deem you to be an authority in your industry.
Check out how OneLittleWeb builds off-page organic SEO at https://onelittleweb.com/guestpost/
Paid vs Organic SEO
So, if organic SEO is the right way to go, then why do businesses pay to have their site appear on top of the search engine page?
Here’s a glimpse of the pros and cons of organic and paid searches.
Here’s the deal:
If you want quick results within a short time and you are targeting a ready-to-buy audience, then paid adverts will move the sales needle for you.
What Does Google Have To Do With Organic SEO?
Google is the number one search engine and with a whopping 90%+ market share, their responsibilities also lie heavier on their shoulders.
The top search engine company must maintain its leadership position by ensuring they
- meet the search intent and
- provide relevant search results and authoritative sources.
Besides the information on your website, Google also checks whether the website is:
Speed-optimized for fast loading
Optimized to reduce bounce rates.
Therefore, if you want your site to be on the first page of Google SERP, then you have to follow the guidelines set by Google. At the same time, to stay on top of the game, you need to keep a lookout for the changes that Google brings in its algorithm.
How to Apply Organic SEO To Your Website
As with all businesses, you first need to identify the problem and then apply the right strategy to solve it and reach your goals. White hat SEO involves breaking down the process into two parts – SEO audit and SEO strategy.
An SEO audit will point out the technical, linking, and content issues your website has and will guide you to the right strategy.
Organic search engine optimization encompasses different aspects and no one SEO strategy may fit the bill. Therefore, the first thing to do is identify the gaps in your site.
To help you do so, you can refer to Mozlow’s Hierarchy of SEO Needs. This is similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which says that until the primary needs of human beings are met, they will not be able to fulfill their secondary or higher needs.
Guess what – the same analogy can be applied to your SEO strategy. Until you ensure Google can find and index your website, there’s no point in giving it a more user-friendly interface.
Alternately, you can conduct an SEO audit with one of the SEO audit tools.
Organic SEO strategies are either on-page or off-page.
On-page SEO involves actions you can take on your website like:
- HTML coding that’s technical and requires tweaking your CMS and your site’s backend.
- Fixing the content by optimizing the individual pages so that the keywords meet the search intent.
On the other hand, off-page strategies are external as they have to do with
- Building backlinks to your website.
- Content marketing to increase the authority and relevance of your site.
These are the main on-page strategies:
1. Keyword Research
An organic SEO starts at keyword research relevant to your business, industry, and customer persona.
Think from your customer’s point of view rather than your products and services. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and search for the keywords that they would.
Check out forums like Quora and social media where your customers hang out to get an insight into their search intent.
Quick Tip: Use a buyer persona tool to generate a customer profile for your business.
It’s a strong signal when search intent matches the keywords in your website. To check the relevant keywords, use a keyword research tool to make the process easier.
You can identify how high or low is the search volume for specific and related keywords. The trick is to settle on those that have a high monthly search volume but a low competition – the long-tail keywords.
For example, you’re in the real estate business. If you target a short-tail keyword like “suburban villa”, you will face stiff competition. But, aim for a long-tail one like “suburban villa for summer rent under $1000” and bingo! Your page optimization will shoot up your search engine rankings.
2. Sitemaps and Structure
XML sitemaps help your website to be easily crawled by a search engine while the server structure uses SSL to encrypt the data exchanged between the visitor and your site.
These are the essential technical aspects of on-page SEO.
Certain CMSs are also programmed to help you build XML sitemaps.
3. Target Audience and Website Design
Your business targets a specific audience and so your site must cater to their needs. What are the basic requirements?
The site design must be aesthetic, user-friendly, easy to load, responsive, and easy to navigate.
Moreover, there should be enough multimedia like
sprinkled throughout the site. These will keep the visitors hooked and thereby increase the dwell time and reduce the bounce rate.
Make sure that the page load time is less than three seconds to encourage dwell time. You can do this by:
o Compressing images without compromising the resolution.
o Decreasing the number of redirected pages.
o Using the browser cache feature to store information instead of downloading them.
4. Content and Structure
There are thousands of content on the Internet dealing with the same topic as your industry.
To ensure such content gains crawl value, relevance, and authority, organic SEO techniques will make sure the right keywords are spread out naturally throughout the content, especially in the headings and during the first 100 words of the content.
Moreover, the right H1, H2, and subsequent headings need to be applied to structure the content so that it flows according to a sequence, thereby making it easy to scan, skim, or read.
With blocks of text, a reader loses interest and that means a potential customer for your business is lost forever.
To further improve the content, a good organic SEO practice is to use the right images. Moreover, these images should be described in the Image Alt section so that bots and visually impaired persons know exactly what the image shows.
Also, the title tags, catchy headings, and the right length of meta description are crafted to take your site a notch up in Google rankings.
5. Link building
Link building is a two-pronged strategy to up the authority of your site and consequently improve its search engine ranking.
If your site links to other authorities on the subject, that’s external linking. You should thoroughly check the site before providing its link through your content.
Trust only those sites that have a high number of citations and where the contributors can be traced back to check their bio.
The second type of linking is internal linking. Suppose your business is known for providing medical equipment to different hospitals. Your site must have quality content on different types of such equipment. When writing a post on cardiac health, you can build in links that would take the visitor to different pages on your website showcasing various types of cardiac equipment.
Internal linking will improve your search rankings and generate more relevance.
To recap, off-page strategies take place outside your site to raise its ranking.
6. Inbound Linking
This is the backbone of off-page search engine optimization strategies. It’s when other sites provide links to yours in their content.
This is a difficult strategy to implement as your site must provide quality content for others to recommend.
Organic SEO involves reaching out to bloggers and influencers for guest posting. With a robust content marketing plan, you can get influencers to share your content link in their content.
Here are three types of links:
- Natural links: These links are naturally given in a blog without the intention of the site owner that the reader should take an action. For example, if you are a travel blogger, you might leave a natural link to your favorite summer destination.
- Manually created links: These are the typical inbound links that have been built through active linking strategies. Bloggers and influencers either share your post or give a link to your content in their posts as a result of active content marketing.
- A less popular off-page SEO strategy is self-created links where the website owner plants a link on online forums, directories, and press releases using anchor texts. This type of link is not encouraged as it does not adhere to white hat SEO. The quality of the host posts and forums is questionable and therefore, it may backfire.
Other forms of off-page strategies include:
7. Guest posting where you write a blog for another website.
8. Leaving a comment on a blog post or any part of the website.
9. Mentioning your brand whether it’s a linked or an unlinked mention.
10. Digital marketing of your website and contents.
11. Getting an influencer to vouch for your site through content marketing.
However, no matter how strong a backlink you build for your site, there’s a catch.
- How popular is the linking site? Is it getting more referrals than most sites operating in a similar industry? If so, then surely it’s trusted for its useful information. Getting an endorsement from such a site would definitely give your search ranking a thumbs-up – a clear proof of organic SEO.
- A strong correlation between the topic of the linking site and your site. For example, it won’t push your website up the ranking order of Google if your business is about interior decoration and your site is mentioned in another website that specializes in veterinary medicine.
- The anchor text used to link to your site must be natural and 100% relevant. For example, do not anchor text “interior décor” that would lead to a site that talks specifically about home office decoration. Make your anchor text more specific – “home office design”, for example.
- Make sure the content that another site is linking to is updated and contains only the latest information.
- Is the linking site trustworthy? Your site should be linked by only the top authorities in your industry. Anything less than that would negatively impact the reliability of your website.
- If we break down the above point, we should look at the domain authority and ranking of the linking page. These factors again point toward the relevance, authority, and trustworthiness of the linking site and the specific page where the link has been mentioned.
- The total number of links on the linking page. Are there too many other links that the host site is mentioning on a single page? This could impact the CTR as readers may miss your link in the crowd. Therefore, it’s important to get someone to backlink only when they can guarantee their linking page will not be crowded with other links.
Monitor, Analyze, and Revise
You can’t rest on past laurels even if your website has achieved its goals and ranks high on Google. The SEO strategy will need tweaking as algorithms change. Keep monitoring your website with Google Search Console to analyze the data and revise the strategy for organic SEO to defend your rank.
At the end of the day, if you know what you’re writing about on your website and your users find this information valuable, nothing can stop you from ranking high on search engine results pages. With the right on-page and off-page SEO way forward, your business can grow organically, resulting in reaching your goals sooner than later.
To help you with organic SEO services, please get in touch with us for an initial discussion at contact us.
How does organic SEO work?
Organic SEO works by implementing a combination of on-page and off-page strategies to improve the ranking of a website on search engines. Depending on the goals of the website and the roadblocks to reaching those goals, a strategy is chalked out.
For example, if the goal is to increase the organic traffic of a website, the off-page strategy is backlinking. Or, if the goal is to rank high on relevance, the on-page strategy would be to search for keywords and include them in the content.
Is SEO paid or organic?
SEO can be either organic or paid.
With organic SEO, a business needs to apply on-page and off-page strategies so that it naturally comes up on the SERP, preferably on the first page.
When a business opts for paid SEO, it no longer shows as a natural result on the SERP but is mentioned as an ad. The word “Ad” is mentioned beside the URL on search engines to show the searchers that this website has paid to be on top of the SERP.
How do I make organic SEO?
To make organic SEO, you need to check your website and do an SEO audit to see where the problems lie. Once you know which parameters need to be addressed, you should apply both on-page and off-page SEO strategies.
Is organic SEO dead?
Although some elements of SEO are no longer applicable, SEO is certainly not dead. Whereas in the past, the number of links on a page dictated its worth, algorithms of search engines have changed to suit the user’s needs. It’s more about the quality of links rather than their quantity.
Paying someone to provide backlinks to increase organic traffic to your site is no longer recommended. The resulting spam content is not appreciated by users and these days, the users of Google and other search engines call the shots.
Organic SEO has become more search engine results-oriented, keeping an eye on the quality and reliability of the information.
Sujan Sarkar is the Co-founder of OnelittleWeb, a leading SEO agency specializing in helping businesses improve their online presence and search engine rankings.