Organic reach is crucial to the success of any website. While there are many search engines, Google still accounts for the overwhelming majority of search traffic, so you need to keep them happy. They’re well-known for not just encouraging, but emphasizing organic SEO efforts and growth, as they drastically penalize websites seen as gaming the system, doing black hat SEO, or doing anything artificial or manipulative. (Learn what organic SEO is in this blog post.)
Why Organic SEO Growth Matters
The benefits of organic SEO go far past avoiding trouble, though. In Google SERPs, 95 percent of all traffic goes to websites on the first page. The top link on the first page gets around a third of all incoming traffic and is ten times more likely to get a click than the tenth spot.
Organic SEO is also very cost-effective. PPC and paid ads work wonders for generating instant traffic, but as soon as your campaign or spending stops, so too does the resulting traffic. They can buy you fish, but organic SEO is like knowing how to fish. You won’t hunger for traffic as long as you do it. Hopefully, this helps you understand how important organic SEO is.
12 Organic SEO Steps You Can Take
What you really need to know is the specific steps you can take towards seeing organic SEO growth. Read all of these, and then do any you’re not already actively doing:
- Create High-Caliber Content: Your website visitors are looking for something. Give it to them. Whether it’s information, answers to specific questions, products, services, or just entertainment, know your audience. Grab their attention with something relevant, meaningful, and useful. When you boost how long visitors spend on your website, your organic rankings will follow suit.
- Keep Your Content Fresh: Google’s business model is providing its searchers the most current and relevant information on a subject. Even if you write great content, or have someone do it for you, make sure that it’s refreshed from time to time or even outright replaced.
- Be Original: Search engine users assume that any search engine they use won’t waste their time with duplicate listings. Every link should be something different. If you don’t want to be tossed aside with the duplicates, your content has to be original. That doesn’t mean writing Shakespeare-level content, but it does mean running Plagium, Copyscape, or any other content verification tool that can tell you how verbally distinct your content is from other sites.
- Optimize Your Images: Pictures, graphics, and art captivate the attention of users like no other way. Just make sure that you have alt tags and descriptions for anyone browsing without images automatically loading. Also, keep image files small to keep page load times from being a burden.
- Improve Your Formatting: User-friendly layouts usually feature a clean design. They boost user engagement and dwell time, and don’t think Google doesn’t notice such things.
- Use Bullet-Point Lists: Online users love skimming through content quickly, especially if they’re on a tablet or phone. Think about whether or not you find this bullet-point list easy and useful right now.
- Write an Alluring Meta Description: This is just a quick peek into the broader content of your website. Google will usually display this description right under your page title. Put a little blurb here that tells users and Google succinctly what they can get from visiting your website. Just make sure you never duplicate your meta content.
- Improve Your Readability: It can be tempting to use high-level ideas and vocabulary in your writing, thinking it makes your website more authoritative. That can actually backfire, because you want a general readability score around the 8th-grade level. While most online visitors can read at a higher level than that, they really don’t want to most of the time. Keep things quick and easy.
- Employ Outbound Links: Links that point to other websites, especially authoritative ones, makes your content more relevant to readers. You also get more visit time from each reader while sending good signals to Google.
- Get Backlinks: You still need inbound links pointing to your content. Gone are the days that you could pay someone to generate thousands of backlinks from shallow-but-wide blog networks that all point to your site and enjoy higher rankings. Now, it’s more about quality than quantity, but social media offers a chance to diversify your link portfolio. If you have a piece of content getting linked to regularly on Facebook or Twitter, Google will notice.
- Fix Your Links: There are many Google factors in their rankings, and not all of them are even known. However, broken backlinks hurt one of the factors in your score. This is an easy and obvious fix.
- Start a Blog: If your website isn’t naturally set up for continually updated content, then adding a blog is a great way to keep the site fresh. It’s also a great way to try out new keywords and ideas and see what registers with your audience.
Be Patient, Be Persistent
It can take up to six weeks for the results of organic SEO efforts to start showing up in your reports and actual SERPs. Most organic efforts won’t even hit their full stride for up to six calendar months. Given that, patience is necessary, but so is persistence.
Failing to maintain your SEO efforts over time can mean losing the positions you work so hard for. Given the cost-effectiveness of these techniques, they’re well worth continuing for as long as your website is open for business.
If you need help getting your organic SEO strategies growing, contact us. We’ve been in the business of growing our clients’ businesses for years.