What is Organic SEO?
As soon as I say, "organic SEO" or "organic search engine optimization," I always get a "deer in the headlights look." Many are aware of what paid advertising is or PPC, but what is this "organic" stuff. Let's look at what organic is and why it should be the foundational element of what you need for your online marketing strategy, even if you use paid advertising.
Paid Advertising is easy for people to understand. Paid advertising means you give your physical dollars to a business-like Google or Facebook to place ads based on the targeting criteria you set (e.g., age, location, income level, gender, start/end dates, etc.). You get instant gratification in that you can be up and running in a few hours from when you start.
Organic advertising is "free" advertising, and it is ultimately free but will still cost you your physical dollars or time. Organic advertising is where you push yourself to be on page one of Google, Bing, and other search engines. Organic advertising is search engine optimization or SEO. You will hear it called organic SEO as you are not paying a company like Google or Facebook to advertise for you. You have to "work for it."
What is a search engine results page (SERP)?
When you search on Google, you will notice the first and last 2-3 items on a page have the words "AD" to the right of the titles. This means someone is paying for them to show. They are trying to entice you to click on their results rather than the other results. This is pay-to-play.
According to Backlinko, "We found that 19% of Google users click on a Google ad. And that only 4% click on multiple ads during the same search session." With this knowledge, that means 81% click on the organic results. Over time, people further skip the paid results as they learn that they most desire organic results.
The remaining results on the page are the organic, or free, results. These are the results that Google has found on the internet, and I believe they best fit your search criteria. The reason for this is the information is created to address the question you are asking.
So how can organic be free yet cost me money?
This is always the most challenging part to answer as the core focus for us as a company is explaining organic SEO as it has the best long-term benefits. There is nothing in life that is free. Organic SEO is the same way. The keys to organic SEO are:
- You have to have content created.
- You need to create content consistently.
- You need to have some pillar posts or posts that are several thousand words long.
- You need to write the content to include the keyword phrases (e.g., lawyers near me, medical doctors in St John Indiana, etc.).
As you can see, this information isn't magically creating itself. Either you, your marketing agency or a combination will need to create content. Whether you pay someone physical dollars or take the time to write the content consistently yourself, organic SEO costs you money. Your time has a price as writing the content takes you away from other business growth opportunities.
Is organic truly the best there is?
Yes. Okay, let's expand upon that. You will remember earlier I said you couldn't get anything for free. Yet, with organic SEO, you do. Yes, it costs you upfront. You need to adjust your website constantly for the changes Google brings out each year. It would help if you went back edit to keep the information relevant and fresh. The more content you create for your website, the more you will notice a compounding effect that makes your information appear more organically within the search results.
Can I create too much content?
You can create too much content on a specific topic. If you write a dozen articles on just "organic advertising," you could end up competing against yourself and lower your chances of hitting page one.
Keys Tips for Organic SEO
- We use these tips whenever we write content for ourselves or our clients.
- Figure out what keyword phrases you want to target. Ideally, you will write for just one keyword phrase. Only do one or two per article.
- You will write for 8th or 9th-grade reading level.
- You will not write for the search engines but your audience. The search engines actually "read" your web page as they see it for your users. Just as they look over the site layout for usability, they read as if they were human (pretty scary, I know).
- Make your content "evergreen." This means you don't mention events or dates in your articles so that the post can last the test of time.
- Article URL
- The article URL should contain your targeted keyword phrase.
- Article Page Title
- Include your target keyword phrase.
- Be enticing without being misleading.
- Keep the title between 60-70 characters in length.
- Article Description
- The description should be between 180-200 characters in length.
- Have at least one image and the alternate text (text the search engine sees) that is descriptive and informative. This information is not for you. It's for the search engine so it knows the true context of the image and people with disabilities that they know what the image is.
- Optimize the size of your images so that they are small. We try to make all images WEBP which is the image format from Google that is optimized to load fast.
- Bad alternate text examples:
- [blank] - you put nothing in
- alternate text description super long
- Good example: food
- Great example: salmon dinner with mashed potatoes and asparagus.
- Optimize your article title that is displayed and each section within the article.
- Fast - Your pages should load in 3 seconds or less, preferably less.
- Your webpage should be loaded securely (e.g., https:// and not http://).
- Your website should be mobile-friendly.
Don't forget paid advertising but do not make it your priority. Use it to complement. We use paid advertising in 3–4-month chunks to get a business noticed in a new area. We are focused on creating and building organic SEO content for that area during this time. We can then get rid of paid advertising and save our client's businesses money. You can get away without doing paid advertising if you have time, which we love more as it gives us more funds to create organic content.