Organic Website Marketing:
Getting Your Website to the Top of the Search Engine “The Natural Way”
By Andy Main, owner of Access Now
Organic Versus Pay-per-Click
You have two ways of getting your website to the top of the search engines, the organic method and the pay-per-click method. Using the pay-per-click method can get immediate results, but it comes with a price tag and it doesn’t last. You can be at the top of search engines such as Yahoo and Google tomorrow, but if you stop paying you disappear from the search engines immediately. The natural way of getting to the top of the search engines means being smarter and more patient, but the results are longer lasting and cost less. The organic method is quickly becoming the method of choice because you can do it yourself and you don’t have to regularly pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to get results.
Link Popularity and Relevance
The key to getting your website to the top of the search engines, especially Google (75 percent of all searches today), is to understand link popularity and relevance. While there are many factors that contribute to your website’s ranking in the search engines, these two factors are Google’s most important. Link popularity means that other websites have links to your website. Relevance means that the content of the site that is linking to you is relevant to the page on your site that it links to.
Link popularity can be accomplished in many ways. Find websites that are similar to yours and trade links with them. For example, say that you have a massage business and you specialize in three types of massage—acupressure, Swedish, and lymphatic. You develop three pages on your website that explain in great detail what each one is and the benefits of each. Sprinkle throughout the text hyperlinks to other websites on the Internet that also explain in detail the methods and benefits of each. Contact the owner of the other website and ask for a link back to your page or site from him or her. And add links within the text to other pages on your site. Internal link popularity also matters. Another way to gain link popularity is to do local online advertising wherever you can. Google likes links from local websites because it assumes that local is better. Many local organizations, such as chambers of commerce and community information sites, offer free links. Take advantage of this wherever you can.
Relevance is a little more difficult to understand. It is related to link popularity. When Google searches your website it looks for outbound links and compares the content on your webpage with content on the page to which it has an outbound link. When the content on the two pages of the different sites is similar (important: not the same), then your ranking goes up. Google gives you better ranking results when it determines that your website is really useful to visitors, and when your visitors can read your site and find useful links to other sites with similar information, then it raises your ranking. Google also considers your inbound links in a similar fashion (link popularity). If the site that is linking to you has information similar to your webpage’s, then Google determines that the two pages are “relevant” to each other and gives you a higher ranking factor.
Other Secrets to Organic Website Marketing
To banner or not to banner, that is the question. While it is true that the click-through rate on banners is low, don’t underestimate the value of a banner in your website marketing campaign. Banners provide branding for your business and links to your website. Remember link popularity, discussed above? Banners count as links in the link-popularity rankings, so have banners readily available to exchange with others and to give to other websites to link back to your website. Make sure that you’re getting a link and not just a banner. It must be a banner link!
Keywords and metatags are also important. Metatags are “hidden” words embedded in the underlying code of your website that help your rankings. If you don’t know about them, ask your website developer. Make sure that your keywords and description and title tags are unique and relevant for each page. Also make sure that the content of the page uses the same words and phrases that are in your title, description, and keywords.
Website content is king. Perhaps you’ve heard this before. The idea has been around for eight to 10 years and it has never been more important than it is today. If you can, have a page for each part of your business and talk it up on that page—in other words, lots of words about the topic with links out to other websites with similar topics (relevance ranking, remember?), and then you are well on the way to a successful natural website marketing program.
Top Ranking Factors and Some Negative Factors
Here is a short list of positive-ranking factors:
·Use of key word in title tag
·Age of site
·Keyword use in body
·Relevance of inbound links
·Text of inbound link
·Popularity of site on topic
·Link popularity of linking site
·Freshness of content
·Link popularity within the site
·Header tag relevance
Here is a short list of negative-ranking factors:
·Low quality of outbound links
Organic search engine marketing can be a lot of fun because it involves telling in words what you tell your customers every day. It’s important in any search engine optimization (SEO) program to monitor your results for effectiveness and make changes regularly. While it can be time consuming, the long-term benefits are great. You may want to hire the services of a professional to assist in certain components that are difficult. All website developers are familiar with the concepts described here and regular communication with your webmaster about your website are very important. Enjoy the benefits of natural website marketing.
Andy Main is the owner of AccessNow.com, a Redding- and Chico-based Internet service provider. He has been building websites and performing search engine optimization (SEO) for customers for more than 10 years. AccessNow is the owner of many North State city sites such as Chico.com, Shasta.com, Redding.net, Oroville.com, RedBluff.com, YubaCity.com, and Marysville.com and recently launched InstantYellowPages.com as a way for local business websites to increase their rankings in the search engines with outside links that include keywords, text descriptions, products, banners, and links. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.