Have we Forgotten Organic SEO?

Guest post by Rohan

So many things have been said about the latest SEO plugins and people are going crazy buying, using and commenting on these plugins which promise ‘magical results.’  In our quest for these quick fixes, are we forgetting that the life of any website is code?

In fact, the life of the plugins themselves is code and with a few manual tweaks we can optimize our websites and posts without the cost.

I’m going to share some tricks that hardly qualify to be called tricks!  They are the heart of SEO!  This is basically what any plugin out there will do for you, but without giving you the illusion of ‘staggering results.’

Without wasting any time lets get started.

Lets begin with on page SEO

The following can included in an on page SEO checklist:

1)URL Optimization
2)Code Optimization
3)Domain Optimization
4)Content Optimization

These are the 4 broad ways in which we can split on page seo, let’s take a look at them in detail.

Title Tag

The title is the first and most important thing that needs to be optimized for best SEO.

While you may have a very catchy title in your mind, it may not always be SEO friendly.  For example a title like: “Why you will not make money in 2011″  is catchy for the human eye but it lacks SEO charm.

The best title would be the one which is optimized for both humans and search engines.  Basically you need to make sure your keyword is included in your title and the sooner in the title it appears the better.

Example: “blogging tips for beginners”  is always better than “tips that beginners need to read before blogging” since the keyword phrase comes first.

URL Optimization

Basically, this deals with which permalink you choose for your post.  This is the second most important thing after the title and if you feel like you slipped a bit on SEO while trying to make the title more catchy, this is your chance to correct it.

If you end up creating the title: “why your blog will fail” you can still have a custom permalink like [www.website.com/advanced-linkbuilding-tips] to compensate up (if you’ve discussed this topic in the post, of course).

In addition to that, make sure your blog uses canonical URLs.

Content optimization

The first thing that search engines look while ranking is not your backlinks, but your content relevance. Content results on search engines is irrespective of your pagerank.

My urls show up pretty high above the sites with a higher PR, sometimes.  Other times, my blog gets outranked by sites with lower rank because of what they have done to increase pagerank and what they have written in the post.

Meta tags and keywords

Search engines used to give high priority to meta tags and people ended up making loads of traffic and money, but their earnings and traffic dropped suddenly with the advent of new google algorithm which pretty much ignores meta tags.  So there is no use stuffing your researched keywords in your meta tags any more, a few keywords will do fine.

Keywords density

This is what tells what the post is about.  Ideally, keyword density should not exceed 4% or it might look spammy to search engines.  For example, for every 100 words in your post, your keyword must not show up more than 4 times.

This is not a constraint really, you can use it to your advantage by using synonyms of keywords, but the bottom line is don’t stuff keywords, write natural posts which help people not search engines. Or you will end up looking like “my fish store is the best fish store of fish because we like fish” that makes no sense.

Header tags < h1 > < h2 >

Don’t forget the power of header tags.  Search engines like header tags and give subsequent value to the headers in the order h1, h2 and so on.  Note that you can strike gold here if you use your keywords in the headers.  Search engines will rank you higher on relevance since your main point is about the term their user has searched for.

Another important thing is the surrounding text. Don’t try to outsmart the search engines by using “dog training in arlington” as a highly optimized niche header and sell computer hardware in the rest of the post.  That is technically – SPAM!

Off page SEO

This is probably the most over rated part of seo!  People have been planted with the misconception that more links mean better SEO – that’s not always true!

Simply put, if the link is easy to acquire then search engines will value it less!  It’s better to have a few high quality links than lots of low quality ones.

What I mean by high quality:

Links which have a high PR and links that come from relevant content, like blogs and social media.  The best links are those from GOV and EDU domains simply because they are very hard to acquire and hence the search engines trust them more.

I have seen the effects of getting these types of links for myself.  The content gets indexed almost as soon as it it published and ranked higher immediately.  I will explain in a later post how to acquire these links.

For now, don’t let the SEO firms fool you with their theories and big packages. They dont work.  Concentrate on solid content for your readers and followers will do the link building for you each time they happily share and bookmark your content.

So what other ways can we strengthen our blog’s SEO?  Have I left anything out?  What could we add here?

A web entrepreneur and a social media evangelist, Rohan is a blogger who loves to write about advanced link building and SEO tips for business blog owners and pretty much everyone who blogs!  You can stalk him on Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

  1. It is really surprising how much rankings can improve by optimizing on-page factors such as title tags, urls, internal linking and content.
    Many users I know have never touched the core of their site again after they went live and miss out on a lot of traffic.

    • Yes i agree with you Andreas ! Onpage SEO is the most crucial part of SEO which people conveniently forget in a bid to cope up with the high search volume keywords with the linkbuilding efforts and make it all the more difficult to rank the post on the search results .

  2. Building quality links is best way to improve your blog seo.

    I use web 2.0 sites (Squidoo,hubpages,tumblr) & Article directories (EzineArticles) to build quality links and it works best.

    Anyways, Thanks for sharing this great post.

    • You are right Devesh ! Linkbuilding helps to scale up in the search engine results but only if complimented by a good onsite SEO strategy and neither of them are a substitute to each other. Offsite linkbuilding works best when Onsite SEO :

      1)Makes It Easy To Rank and imparts more value to offsite linkbuilding with very little effort in offsite seo.

      2)Makes the offsite efforts worth it, because you will get more brownie points for ‘relevance’ and site HTML being served right to the search engiines , as search engines are rating relevance and site structure (usability/loadtime/ease of navigation) more than thematic linkbuilding from anchortexts.

      If there are errors with onpage friendliness and the content is not served properly to the crawler then it becomes very difficult to cover up the faws with linkbuilding however highly targeted.

      Thanks for dropping by :)

      • Eren Mckay says:

        Hi there. I also agree that building quality links is the way to go. However I wouldn`t consider article directories, squidoo and hubpages as quality. Google knows that anyone can get a link from these places so they are not considered freely given editorial links. I`m not saying we shouldn`t acquire these types of links but simply that they aren`t high quality. Personally I use them but in a very limited amount. They are not priority in my book. We have to remember that anything that can be used by spammers eventually will be diminished in value in Google`s algorithm. That means that even though they are working today- they might hardly carry any value in 5 years. Personally I think of the long term… but that`s just me ;-)

        • Thats not just you , thats me too ! :)
          Yes i follow that code too , if the links are easy to obtain then they are valued less . Infact i have made a post on the same Pagerank and Backlink relation . The best kind of links would be the ones that are difficult to obtain since google will give more weight to it. Attempting to get GOV and EDU links will do the trick , not to mention its not easy though .

          • Eren Mckay says:

            Thanks for the resource…I believe PR is one of the many factors in determining the quality of the link but I don`t think it`s a huge deal when determining quality backlinks since PR is only of the more than 200 factors that determine rankings. It certainly is a valuable factor though- I`m not dismissing it at all. However I look at the quality of links pointing to the page that would be linking to me. A PR 0 page can give me great ranking strength if it has some kind of great link pointing into it. So I look at the link profile of the links pointing into the page more than PR. I also look at the strength of the main domain and the relation it has to my keywords. I really liked your post- gave me more food for thought.
            All the best,
            Eren

          • I am way on board with on-page, as I feel that without good onpage, links will not be as effective. Regardless… my main comment has to do with PR. Why are people still looking at Google PR? While they did update a number of sites in January… it was the first real update in about 8 months. They have even personally admitted that toolbar PR means virtually nothing. See: http://searchengineland.com/first-google-toolbar-pagerank-update-of-2011-62006

            As for link targets… I look at lots of factors, but ultimately, I generally like to search for related keywords for the links I am seeking out, and place more value on top results than their toolbar PR.

    • No all links are good. Link building means get links that are hard ti get.

  3. This is very true, building more links does not necessarily guarantee high ranking or quick indexing. I think on site seo can make it your way to the top of search engines. Another important feature you should consider when linking your site is submitting your site map to search engine it really helps indexing your site.

    • That’s right! XML sitemaps are a good way to let the search engines understand your sites structure and helps in navigation and indexing by letting the search engines know “what is placed where”.

      Thank you for the feedback :)

  4. As you mentioned I love to work onpage SEO, I never tired to get links from directories like things, I think our blog’s optimized content is only main factor which decides the ranking.

    • Thats right Suraj ! Before we embark upon big SEO strategies ,its our basic requirement to check if we are serving the content right to the search engines!
      Thanks for the comment :)

  5. I’ve never had any great success with using sitemaps. Good inner linking has worked much better for me. A good way of inner linking related pages is by using breadcrumb style menu’s.

    The real thing I like to focus on is the URL and the title.. All the rest I consider micro optimizations. A good URL, title, and some decent backlinks go a long way to good SERPs.

    • Hello Tanya ,

      I think you just gave away the secret !
      If there is a good custom permalink structure and optimized title (keyword in title + occurring earlier in the phrase) then it becomes very easy to rank . Most of my posts are ranking above even article directories like Ezinearticles and a few SEO related articles rank above SearchEngineJournal and i can absolutely relate to what you are saying because i use it myself and it surpasses the need to use any plugin /trick /linkbuilding for that matter.
      Thanks For Dropping By :)

  6. I’ve went back and forth with my SEO efforts, Rohan. I’ll be honest, if I think about them too much I’ll go overboard trying to please a Googlebot that could very well change all the rules at the drop of a hat.

    What I like about this post is that you have bloggers focusing on items that will likely never change, and even if they do, they’re great items to focus on for the human reader.

    Thanks for the great basic tips, and not taking us down the proverbial SEO rabbit hole.

    • Thats right Brad ! The search engines are changing their algorithms very frequently but right from 1999 to 2011 I have seen a trend they are trying to follow . They are trying to HUMANIZE the search results to make it more relevant . It was Title optimization to get text listings in 1999 then it was keyword stuffing in 2005 and as time progresses we finally have SE which rank those posts higher which have been optimized for humans . See for example the post tells to use proper headers and keywords in headers , which is more of an effort to make content more readable for humans which the SE are focusing now . The best SEO is to naturally make it usable for humans and you will see an increase in SERPs and even when they change their algorithm , you will have built a decent fan following to not care about the search engines any more. thumb rule – Create good content and people will share it!
      Thank you for your compliments :)

  7. Hey Rohan,

    Thanks for the awesome article!

    You are more right than ever if anyones forgotten about that organic SEO. Now im not SEO expert and won’t dare try to call myself one, but i do try to improve each and everyday.

    I tend to focus more on content optimization and keyword density. I have a plugin that always checks the density of the articles I write so I’ll know what it’s looking like.

    That plugin has really helped me out a lot, because many times i thought my keywords were at the right densities when they weren’t. There will always be ways to opitimize your content better.

    When you finally start getting that organic traffic man does it feel great. What it takes is research, research, and more research. Then its time for you to try out your own ideas. If you hit brike walls you have to get back up and keep trying out new things.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Thanks again!

    God bless,
    William Veasley

    • Thank you for the compliments williams . I agree, that a well researched post goes a long way in bringing unlimited traffic for years and its worth spending those hours on the research because when each of your post gets good SE traffic then even a blog with 50 posts will do good in terms of rankings and PR and revenue . Speaking from personal experience , my blog ranks for a generic keyword “Quick Seo Tips” and the other posts as separate entities and the traffic has not stopped since then.My alexa shot from 9999999 (looser) to 190k in 7 days and improving by 10 % everyday ! I can totally relate to you :)
      On a different note while you optimize for keywords please make sure you dont over optimize and fall prey to Keyword Cannibalism

  8. Hi Rohan. SEO is important and hence SEO articles are important too. For me a url that is short and contains good keywords, meta description and good no. of backlinks important. I liked the point of off page SEO linking through gov and edu sites.

  9. Thank your for the compliments kavita :) I am glad you find the post useful .

  10. Hey Rohan,

    Helpful post, anyone that is just starting should read this article because it will certainly help them realize before they start what kind of domain name they need and how to choose a good SEO optimized theme, that makes good use of html tags for SEO purpose.

    Also, knowing how to write their articles and not overuse their main keyword, but having it in key position in the content in order to rank for it easier.

  11. gary Baleno says:

    search engine optimization is the most important to help your online business to get your website at the top of the major search engines.

  12. Hi! I have thought that the tag is already ommited by google.

    About one year ago, I deleted that tag from my website, even other seo changes, and I have seen how the visits increased.

    Cheers ;)

    • I got a mail from google last night Mike ! They said they absolutely hate original content and that i should remove it ! So i woke up today morning and erased all my posts on my blog , to be a good loyal follower of google , later in the afternoon did my friend call me up to tell me that there are other search engines called yahoo and ask and bing (OMG never heard of it !!) on the planet that still do value it ! Wish i would have known that before the disaster !
      Moral of the story……
      But that’s a little unrelated to the context here (so i think) , cheers to your success :D

  13. That’s the perfect theory. And of course very good basic. Some time ago the golden rule was “The content is the King” I think it’s still very important – to keep original, interesting content – attractive for Google, and users. Well we can say that Google is a one big user, who is always looking for something new to read.

  14. I am really skeptical about effectiveness of on-page factors. Do they still do much? Have did trial and error on it many time and didn’t see much change. Made entire site xHTML/css Validated and no change. They hardly share 5% of entire weight on serps these days. We didn’t forget organic SEO but who really cares about on-page SEO?

    • I really wish people read the post before commenting. What a luxury that would be !
      I never mentioned a word about ‘Validating your Xhtml’ is an SEO factor . And yes, no one cares for onpage SEO , except those who are making a successful presence online !

  15. As most of the companies are advertising through social media sites, it is bound to make an impact right?! These sites are a good platform to offer your service to a number of people other than your friends and colleagues.

  16. Great job of describing what we should do about SEO. My problem is that it takes time. It’s not very difficult, but usually when I write a blog post I spend the time writing and not thinking about search engines at all. I just write for my readers.

    And then, when I am ready to publish it, I start thinking about SEO. I know, it’s a little late, because now all I want is to hit the publish button and I am eager to finish the SEO-stuff as soon as possible.

    I use the all-in-one seo plugin in order to optimize the blog posts, but I don’t do any keyword research. That’s what I really lack when it comes to optimizing the blog posts.

    Do you do keyword research on all your blog posts?

    • Keyword research is the initial stage of SEO when you have not even started writing your posts . Maybe even before you register your domain . Pick up a primary , secondary and tertiary keyword and use it in your sites homepage and dublin code if you have some time to play with HTML . Eventually not doing any research and just sprinkling your primary and secondary keywords in your posts will do good . You can cover up the loss in keyword research by thematic link building .
      Thanks for dropping by :)

  17. Brady Lewis says:

    I like this post. I like that you’re getting back to the basics. So many young gunners forget the importance of on-page seo. They’re too concerned with scrapeboxing six million spammy links to their page. Soon enough they’ll realize that the basics are what will help you sustain rankings.

  18. Hi Rohan
    Thanks fdor giving a review of the SEO basics.
    Everyone is looking for SEO secrets and forgetting the basics.

    Good SEO has not changed for ages so I always stick with the basics – just need reminding now and again.

  19. Sometimes with our love of back links, we forget about on page optimization which can give amazing results in terms of ranking. On page should be balanced with off page optimization.

  20. Rohan your article is so good I really think you should consider expanding it into your own ebook !!! Keep posting articles, they’re great.

    Ellie

  21. This is very nice post and very help full for seo.

  22. Its really awesome , it helped me to do seo in my blog ………thanks

  23. Well, you put some things straight here. It’s a fact that many so called SEO experts are not in the least familiar with anything connected to the organic SEO. But, after all, this is not part for a content writer – it’s more about webmasters. So I guess it’s only natural.

  24. Good one Rohan!

    Do you live in India?

  25. Most people nowadays will do everything to rank their site on top of the search engine that they forgot and never mind about organic SEO. These things seldom happens nowadays.

  26. Great article Rohan to understand about Seo properly and one thing that can it’s not a matter that we don’t give importance on page seo or do it properly.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Have we forgotten organic SEO? As soon as I saw the title I realized I had not discussed any form of SEO in a long while.  SEO is an essential factor in ranking well.  I make no claims to be a guru, though I think I know more than many, but refreshing the basics can be very helpful.  Rohan has a great article that he reminds of some of these SEO basics.  After all you will never reach that #1 ranking with no care at all towards SEO.  It just won’t happen. [...]

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