Friends, family, colleagues and co-workers ask me that question (or some variation of it) at least once a week. Unfortunately there is no magic trick, or simple formula to follow. Increasing your organic search engine rankings is not something you can do overnight and in today’s instant gratification world, this can be hard for people to comprehend. Compounding their frustration are the hundreds (if not thousands) of companies out there trying to “mask” their practices of plug-and-play AdWords and other PPC campaigns as organic search engine optimization.
Increasing your rankings on the organic side of the search engine results requires planning, creativity and above all patience. Three to six months may seem like an eternity to the MTV generation, but in search engine terms, it’s a blink of an eye. I do not know how many times I have been approached by someone who makes a change to their website and than is frustrated when they don’t jump up in the rankings the next day. Changes, especially subtle ones on in-frequently crawled sites can take many weeks to start showing up in the search engines.
So what can you do to help increase you organic search engine rankings? There are quite a few things that impact your organic search rankings, including, but not limited to; content, navigation, back links, organization and quality. Let’s look at some of these things in a little more detail.
Original and informative content is probably one of the best things you can do to improve your organic search engine rankings. Believe me when I say quality is definitely better than quantity in this case. Duplicating content (be it on your own site, or from another site) is always frowned upon, not only by the search engines, but also by your peers. Generally your website is going to be an extension of your business or personal life, in either case you should have plenty of unique information to write about. How-to articles, stories, frequently asked question lists are all great ways to focus on your topic and provide quality content for your readers.
Take the time to write informative articles and try to keep your site fresh with new articles as often as possible. It not only lets the search engines know they need to be visiting your site more often, but it also gives your readers a reason to come back. If you write a good article, chances are people are going to link to it as a resource for others. A great by product of a good article is back links.
Every time an outside source links to a page on your website, this is considered a back link. If you are looking to improve your organic search rankings, take a look at your current back links and the back links of others and see where you can improve. Yahoo! and Google provide tools for checking your back links, in addition many websites offer these services for free. I suggest using a third party website if you are new to back link research, it will help you minimize mistakes.
Back links help search engines determine what your content is about. Think of back links as votes for your content. When a site links to you, it is saying to the search engines (as well as to it’s readers) that your page has relevant information on it. When a text link is created, the text inside the link is first looked at for determining what your content is about. Additionally the surrounding text is considered in categorizing your page. It is important to have links from sites that are on topic for what your article is about. A link from a plumbing site to a page about interior decoration is not nearly as good as a link from a plumbing site to a page about pipe cleaning. Keep that in mind when you build links with your partners and peers
Organization & Navigation
Keep your site clean. If your visitors are having trouble finding pages and content, so will the search engines. Use menus and links that are concise and to the point, and keep all of your navigation where the user can quickly find it. It may not be necessary to directly link to every page from every other page and often times this can be confusing to both your visitor and the search engines. There is nothing wrong with have a different menu set for each page, especially if it reduces the number of menu links you have on any given page. If the user can quickly narrow down what they are looking for they will be much happier and much more likely to link to your site. The search engines are the same way, if your links are specific and fewer they will be given more weight than a large number of general links.
Quality has been a resounding theme for this article, quality is very important for your organic search engine rankings. Unique content, clean pages, is navigation, all of these lead to a high quality page and site. Above all you should strive to improve your quality, it will give your site more credibility and keep your visitors from immediately navigating away from your page. If anything else, keeping eyes on your page longer will increase your conversions and calls from your website.
Increasing your organic search rankings is a job, just like any other job it should be executed with proper planning and precaution. Take the time to create a unique experience for your visitors and you will be rewarded for your efforts. Your organic search rankings are not going to improve over night. Give the search engines time to crawl and index your pages, this may take weeks, but patience is key. Use the interim time to create more content and improve the quality of your current content. >|