SEO Simplified II: How Does Organic SEO Work?

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Posted by: Gabriella Sannino

In part one of “SEO Simplified”, we talked about the differences between forced and organic SEO.  Never mind the differences, though – how does it work?  What makes it better than any other approach?

Firstly, it’s user-based, not search engine based.  This is the biggest difference, and what makes all the difference.  A user-based website should be built for:

  • Convenience – How convenient is your website?  Do people have to hunt for links and information?
  • Simplicity – Did you get all complicated while setting your site up?  Did you over design your shopping cart button, thinking it’d be neat?  If you used words like “new, exciting design” or “innovative”, you might want to run a focus group test.  It may not be as neat as you think it is.
  • Information – Again, it all comes down to content.  Are you building an information center on your products or are you just selling them?  If a visitor has to search for the information on another site, they may very well leave yours and never come back.  A lack of information can cause the loss of hundreds, if not thousands (depending on your traffic) of customers.

Now, this doesn’t mean your website shouldn’t be properly optimized.  By all means, get your code cleaned up, your tags fixed and page titles written correctly.  Once your site is optimized, however, build up that content!

Growing With Organic SEO

Ultimately, if your optimizer does their job, you’ll be getting traffic.  That traffic will be reading the information on your site.  If that information is keyword dense (not rich, but thick with keywords), it will read something like this:

“Organic SEO is great.  Many wonder about Organic SEO, so here is the information.  Organic SEO is user based, not search engine based.  Organic SEO brings in what is referred to as “natural” traffic.”

Ugh.  Not only is it painful to read, it’s painful to write.  If you were looking for information, would you want to read crap like that?  The answer is a resounding, “No”.  Even if you’d never heard about optimization, you’d know there was something funky going on.  This is search engine based.

User-based content is just like what you’re reading here.  Although the keyphrase is “organic SEO”, you’ll only see it where the content supports it and where it’s relevant.  This is where the organic growth starts.  Here’s the growth tree:

1.  You have good, relevant, user-based content that informs, engages and/or entertains, either on the site pages or on the blog.

2.  You or your optimizer set up ways for that content to be spread around, either through email, any number of social bookmarking/media sites and rss feeds.

3.  As you post on your blog or add pages to your site, send them out to the bookmarking and media sites.  However, since nobody likes someone who only talks about themselves, find relevant, interesting information elsewhere and send out those, too.  A little love never hurt anyone.

4.  Those who read what you’ve sent out will also forward it to someone they know, assuming they like the content, which will bring more visitors.

5.  As time goes by, you will be able to watch a steady rise in visitors, people subscribing to your feed, etc.  This can happen in as little as a month, or as long as three months before you get more than ten or eleven visitors, so have patience!

6.  Webmasters will link to your content, because they think it’s relevant to their readers.  If it’s relevant to their readers, their link is relevant to your site.  This brings a positive “vote” for your page, which helps to raise your PageRank, as well as your ranking in the search engine results.

7.  At the same time, this is building a mindset in your visitors.  All the information you’re putting out is creating the impression of “expert”.  YOU are the person/business to go to for the information, which means that if they need expert help, you’re the person/business to use.

8.  Eventually, you may find that you no longer have to send out those blogs or pages.  Your visitors are bringing in traffic for you.

This is true organic SEO.  You will reach a point to where, as long as you keep putting out content, visitors will keep coming to read it and webmasters will continue to link to it.  If you have a sale, you mix your organic SEO with Pay-Per-Click and other ad-based programs for the duration of the sale.

A few tips to remember:

  • Once you start putting out content, you can’t afford to stop for more than a few weeks.  You WILL start losing your regular visitors and you will have to start building your reader base up again.
  • Don’t use your content as a platform to bash the competition.  It’s not pretty and visitors WILL get tired of reading about it.  Keep it nice!
  • If you’re using a forum, knowledge base, article base or blog, host them on your site if possible.  Remember, search engines LOVE content, and show that love by raising your rank.  By hosting the main source of your site content on another hosting platform, you’re loosing a lot of potential ranking.  In addition, this can cause confusion for the visitors and takes them away from your main purpose – to bring them to your site and keep them there.

Comments (20)

  • Avatar
    Jacob Stoops Reply

    You're right, solid organic SEO is all about having good content. There are many other factors to SEO, but quality content is (and will remain) king!

    August 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm
  • Avatar
    Don Mak Reply

    Many SEO people are writing dull articles or rewriting similar articles from other websites for the sole purpose of having relevant text.

    Instead, spend a little bit more time and make truly useful articles. An article with intrinsic value makes many of the things you mentioned happen organically.

    In my opinion many of the “article marketers” and “content SEO” people are focusing on the wrong things. Great articles will provide free organic traffic that pays for itself many times over. It's such a simple concept I'm not understanding why people don't get it.

    As an example, I spent a lot of time writing articles for one of my sites 18 months ago. Even today those handful of articles are the most highly trafficked articles on the site, and repeatedly bring surges of traffic via StumbleUpon, Delicious, and other social aggregators.

    My last opinion is the search results of the future will center around content and sites that have activity, discussion, and community. Whether a page has a certain number of keywords or is structured for SEO – while important – will become less and less relevant. So these lame ass articles which look like they were written by robots will just fall off. Meanwhile articles carefully constructed to provide long term value will always continue to provide that value.

    August 26, 2009 at 6:57 am
  • Avatar
    Gabriella Reply

    Hey Don thanks for your comment. I have been doing this (SEO, marketing) long enough to know it takes time. Granted some (sites) may take longer than others but as you know it takes patience, knowledge and the ability to focus on your target market. We are always tweeking adjusting and fixing our content/keywords for our target. It seems we are getting more and more “newbies” so that in itself is telling me people are getting more information. Granted some of it is bad information but the fact people are asking questions and opening a dialogue is awesome. It's about honing your skills and giving your best. I can live with that! 😉

    September 11, 2009 at 10:22 am
  • Avatar
    Gabriella Reply

    Hey Jacob..exactamundo. The thing that I have noticed with my business is patience is KING too. You cannot expect great success overnight.

    September 11, 2009 at 10:23 am
  • Avatar
    Cory H Reply

    Naturally building up SEO value is certainly advisable in “most” cases, but try telling a demanding client that he has to wait a couple months for his “unique value” article to get picked up and linked to by his audience.

    Forced SEO is certainly not anything to look negatively on in my opinion, but often it is a requirement of the situation. Unless your client has a huge budget and time to wait – results are necessary now – not 4-6 months down the road.

    Great article & tips for organic results nonetheless.

    December 3, 2009 at 2:25 pm
    • Avatar
      Gabriella Reply

      Hey Cory, yeah those clients with deep pockets and a plan are not easy to find. Sometimes deep pockets are nice but in my personal opinion, I don’t like forcing content. Granted I wish we could write a minimum of 20 great articles a day… but, in reality and in this case quality is always better than quantity.

      December 3, 2009 at 2:33 pm

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SEO Simplified II: How Does Organic SEO Work?