If you’re anywhere near the industry, you may have already heard a rumor of the demise of SEO. Some say it’s dead while others say it’s dying. You may have believed it and are now stuck wondering where you’ll fish your traffic from without the juice of SEO. Fortunately, the story is wrong.
It gets thrown around every so often because certain principals of it are true: No more black hat, no more cheating and certainly no more anything unnatural. This, however, is where the best part of the story gets lost: Natural, or organic SEO, is alive as ever. So if you have plans of capturing web traffic in the future, pull up a chair and let’s discuss organic search, what it means and how to do SEO organically.
Links are the first element of organic SEO. Now we’re not talking about farmed or 3-way links. We’re talking about real links, from real people who actually like what you’re writing about. If you’re still stuck in the I-write-boring-content-because-I-have-nothing-else-to-write-about-stage-so-I-can’t-get-links, expect to continue the smack down from the recent Panda and Penguin updates. If your content is only borderline-boring, either your headlines and page titles lack forethought, the platform you use leaves much to be desired or you’re just not putting the time in.
The truth is if you want organic SEO, you need links. Consider putting time into this part of your business before even beginning to consider paying an SEO person to do who knows what behind the scenes of your website, because it won’t work, won’t help and will be a waste of time and money.
Content that works
So what does work?
Content that is useful, authentic, interesting, relevant and solves problems.
Content that is targeted, well-formatted and takes your reader to the next level.
Share the love
Some of the recent talk on the demise of SEO comes from two things:
1. Laziness amongst, err professionals, who got comfortable slinging black hat techniques rather than actually doing the work
2. A fundamental misunderstanding of how Google works and handles engagement online, such as with sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Here’s how social media works in the SEO world:
Links and social engagement, such as tweets, digs and shares, are looked at somewhat as signals of quality content – what they’re after when deciding what content to deliver for a search query.
The content that’s shared, reposted or tweeted tends to be:
- Problem-solving and unique (no copycatting, cut-pasting or utterly boring drizzle)
- Tailored to your audience (you’re not speaking to everyone, just to the person reading your content)
- Engaging (inviting your reader to read, learn from and move beyond to learn more)
Content that works and content that’s shared and linked to happens to be pretty much the same thing. There’s nothing tricky to it. It’s simply that Google ranks content that’s worth reading. Simple as that.
Cut out the fat
We can all recognize spam a million miles away: It’s written by someone who doesn’t know us or what we like and has no idea how to market themselves online, or otherwise. Spam in the eyes of Google isn’t much different. It’s rootless, meatless, cold, and generally goes unread. It exists artificially because its marketing person told it to, and is nothing more than keywords on a page. No one wants to read that. While yes, keywords do serve a purpose, they supplement rock solid content, not replace it. If you’re writing strictly with a ‘wow Google with your mad SEO skills agenda’, you’ve failed. Go back and start again. Your first step is to cut the fat and start writing for people. Once you gain readers, links and traffic, then give your Google wow factor a spin. Until then, start with the fundamentals.
Cut the crap links
There was a time when link farms and link purchasing actually held a viable spot in SEO work, and in fact many purchased links, often quietly, with some degree of success. This no longer works and is a red flag to search engines. Link love must be earned, not bought or bargained.
No matter how subtle or sly the links are that you’re trying to buy, I wouldn’t consider it. While it might get you by today, Google gets smarter by the day, and has caught on to all the tricks and techniques, so it will end up hurting you before it benefits you.
What about optimization?
I know, we’ve taken all the fun out of it. What’s left besides all this organic, natural SEO talk? There’s still plenty of room to optimize what you’ve got. This includes all the steps to help Google figure out what you’re all about. Again, nothing covert here, but a few tips to help:
- Keep using your tags, your titles, your own creativity and for crying out loud, get yourself into a respectable web platform that works.
- Get out off Weebly, iWeb, Joomla, or whatever that thing is you’re using to create content and start using something that builds clean code, ideally W3C compliant, with friendly links and readable, sharable content.
- Use something that is standards compliant and browser and tablet compatible. Something that is well designed, so it’s not painful for others to visit your site and read what you have to say.
Your organic SEO will start and grow from that and you’ll begin to see more organic search traffic.