Paid search ads are essential, but organic search is just as important — especially considering that nearly 80% of users focus more on organic results than the ads.
It’s important to not only rank but to rank well and prominently. The first result on a SERP receives almost a third of click-throughs, and 75% of internet users don’t even go beyond page one. So if you’re buried somewhere even on page two, the chances of someone seeing it are slim.
Organic search engine optimization can be intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some simple steps you can take to improve the organic SEO for your website.
1. Initiate Online Engagement
Run a target persona exercise. (HubSpot has a super-helpful persona tool to help you do just that.) Developing a target persona will help you identify the audiences to whom you’d like to introduce your brand.
Next, find out where your persona hangs out (digitally). Interact with those audiences in forums, social media channels, and blog comments. Engage with people, join conversations, answer questions — anything you can do to demonstrate expertise and build relationships.
You want to become a resource for your desired audience, and the best way to start that process is to get out there, find them and engage with them.
2. Make Long-Form Content Your Friend
Short-form web content is no longer the most-coveted type of content. Long-form content is not only helpful for readers but your organic SEO too.
Rand Fishkin introduced the idea of 10x content: We need to create content that is ten times better than the content you’re able to find on the same topic. To do so, Fishkin advocates long-form website content, pointing out it’s important to create 2,000-word articles that serve as deep dives on the subject.
We need to elevate ourselves beyond the 2x or 5x content, as this level of content won’t get noticed based on its own merits. A 10x article will always naturally get the shares and likes it deserves because it has greater value than anything else out there.
Be strategic about your long-form content, though. If it’s a straightforward, fluff piece, no one is going to benefit from 2,000 words.
3. Get Inbound Links
An inbound link is when someone links to a page on your website — it can be your homepage, a blog post or any other page on your site — from their own website.
This is great for organic SEO. When you receive a link to your site from a website that has high domain authority, it sends a signal to search engines that you’re an authority on your subject matter, which can, in turn, affect your rank for certain search terms.
One approach to generating inbound links is to guest post on another blog. You create content for someone to publish on their site. In exchange, they provide your byline, a link to your website and any other links to your site that you may have included within the body copy.
Be strategic about the anchor words of your hyperlink. For example, let’s say you own a shoe company. You might pitch to write a guest post about how to tie your shoes on a popular shoe blog. If you talk about sneakers in your guest post, hyperlink the word “sneakers” to go to your sneaker product landing page. This will boost your SEO rankings more than linking the words “shop now.”
Another approach to increase inbound links — what we recommend as a more natural approach to organic SEO — is to develop a content asset that is of tremendous value. It’s worthy of an inbound link from another website that wants to expose this to their audience. An added perk: You get more traffic and new visitors.
4. Leverage Influencer Outreach
Influencer marketing improves your organic SEO, even more so when done strategically. Find relevant influencers — people who have an active and engaged digital following — that can help market your brand.
Reach out to the influencers in your industry and propose the benefits of working together. Some influencers require payment, while others are happy with a discount to your store or a link on your blog.
To help maximize the organic SEO out of your relationship, request links to your product or service from their website and social media posts. In doing so, they also expose your brand to a new audience.
5. Acquire the Right Tools
There are SEO tools for every budget — ranging from free to thousands of dollars. Determine how much you want to invest in SEO for your site to help choose the right tools for your digital marketing needs.
It goes beyond the price tag, though. Consider what needs you have. Each tool is suited for different SEO needs.