Organic Search Engine Marketing
Organic search marketing, or search engine optimization (SEO), is a basic building block of driving traffic to your website and building revenues for your business.
Amazingly, some claim that SEO is dead and that all of the changes rolled out by Google, Bing and Yahoo over the last few years have made organic search marketing a futile effort. However, as data from comScore shows, over two-thirds of searches on the Internet begin in a Google search box.
To put it another way, when all of Google’s services —search, Gmail, YouTube, etc. — unexpectedly went offline in August 2013 for a mere 12 minutes, worldwide traffic on the web dropped by an astounding 40 percent!
That fact alone should quell any claims that organic search marketing is a waste of time.
17 On-Page Ranking Factors for Successful Organic Search Marketing
Now that we’ve established some reasoning of the importance of SEO, let’s dive into some of the core ranking factors Google uses to rank websites organically. By organic, we mean rankings not derived from a paid ad or a news story.
According to the The UnFair Advantage Book at Search Engine News, these factors can be broken into two categories — on-page (internal) and offsite (external). Today we’ll be exploring the on-page ranking factors.
On-page internal ranking factors
On-page ranking factors are ones found within your site, meaning you have complete control over them.
- The Meta Title: Considered the most important internal ranking factor, theis for telling the search engines what your page is about.
- The Meta Description: A block of text where Google pulls the descriptive information it displays directly below the title in a search engine results page.
- Header Tags: The H1 tag is one important place where Google and other search engines will look to find keywords or phrases that provide clues on what your page is about.
- On-Page Anchor Text: Although not as important as in years past, these are keyword hyperlinks within your copy. It’s recommended you limit anchor text links to only a few per page.
- Keywords in Body Text: Your site’s copy, or body text, is the meat of what Google indexes, which is what it uses to determine if your page is relevant to a given search query.
- Images: Search engines can’t exactly see your images, but they can see the filename and Alt tag. Many people use Image search, so you don’t want to miss out on this potential source of traffic.
- Keyword Density: Again, this is a ranking factor that isn’t as important as it once was, but having a strong density of your primary keyphrase is another way Google can determine what exactly your page is about. It’s vitally important that your copy make sense to human readers. Stuffing keyphrases in for the sake of doing it will result in a penalty.
- URL Structure: Keeping your URLs simple and including a keyword is another way you can provide a slight boost to your rankings for a given page.
- Uniqueness of Content: Original content is probably the biggest on-page ranking factor. Google has become quite adept at spotting duplicate content. This fact can be especially challenging for e-commerce firms.
- Mobile Compatibility: This is one ranking factor that’s become increasingly important in recent years due to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets. Google began giving preference to sites that were fully mobile compatible in July 2013.
- Page Freshness: Newer, fresher content enjoys an advantage over older content, which is why you should always be updating your best performing pages.
- Geolocation Signals: Including information like your address and phone number is especially important for businesses serving a specific geographic area.
- Web site Architecture: Including Flash menus or dynamically generated web pages will prevent the search engine “spiders” from crawling and indexing your site. Making it as easy as possible to crawl and index your site is a critical part of organic search marketing.
- XML Sitemaps: Short for Extensible Markup Language, the XML Sitemap is how you tell the search engine what pages you want it to index.
- Robots.txt: This file basically provides a roadmap to the search engines for finding the content you want indexed.
- URL Redirection: Also known as URL forwarding, a URL redirect is vital for both the search engines and your site’s visitors should you move your page.
- Canonical URL: This is your preferred URL. It’s important to note that http://www.yourdomain.com and http://yourdomain.com are not the same URL. Some will link to one while some will link to the other. Without establishing your preferred URL, you risk dividing your PageRank.
Organic search engine marketing is often overlooked by companies who want to focus efforts on paid links, ads and landing pages. However, organic ranking is important. It tells users that your content is relevant on its own, without paying for placement.
If you want to learn more about an effective organic SEM strategy, contact us today.