Organic search engine optimization techniques are strategies you can use to make your website more easy to find in a regular Google, Bing, or Yahoo search. Since this is the most common way that people look for information online, whether they are looking for answers, research, products, or something else, organic search engine optimization techniques are a good way to improve your overall traffic and, ultimately, your leads and the value of your site.
The following are strategies you can use to target the right content, optimize it using keywords and HTML coding, boost your content rank on the search engine results page (SERP), and get more clicks. Remember that 95% of searchers don’t go past the first page of results, and over half of these clicks go to the top three spots. This means moving up the SERP is essential to increasing organic traffic.
10 Organic Search Engine Optimization Techniques to Overcome a Search Slump
1. Find Your Top Content And Improve It
Google Analytics can tell you a lot about how visitors already use your site and find your content. This is a great place to start your organic search engine optimization. In Google Analytics, find “Site Content” under “Behavior” and click on “All Pages” to see the content on your site that already performs well. Organic search engine optimization techniques may be able to make it perform better.
Once you find your top performing pages, click on them. Then, use the secondary dimension “keyword” to see how users are finding these pages. Do some research on these keywords using Google’s other tool, Keyword Planner or another organic search engine optimization tool like SEMrush. If your content isn’t optimized for the high-performing keywords on the list, make some changes.
You can use organic search engine optimization techniques on your content to help searchers find your content with these keywords. These are search optimization best practices that will be good to implement as you work through the latter strategies as well.
- Use the keyword around five times, ideally towards the beginning of the content.
- The keyword should be used naturally in the content, not randomly placed or over-used.
- Use the keyword in headings where possible.
- The meta description and URL should contain the keyword.
- Include secondary keywords in the content where possible.
- Use the keyword in image alt-text.
- Use inbound and outbound links to related, reliable content.
Learn more about tools and strategies for improving and measuring SEO
2. Find Your Best-Performing Topics
Now that you know what your best-performing content is, can you make more of it? Most likely, related posts will also be popular. Keep in mind that there might be many different aspects of the content that make it popular. For example, if your popular content included a video, try to do so again. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask yourself what is probably the most popular element of your content, and try to duplicate this.
3. Write For SERP Spot Zero
Google now answers some queries with featured snippets, also called answer boxes, where the search engine pulls some content out of pages to show a quick response. These spots are considered “SERP position zero,” since they’re even higher than the first result. There are several ways to build your content to give yourself a boost towards position zero. Consider the following:
- How: Google will pull answer boxes for many “how do I…?” queries by showing a bulleted list. Write the “how” question into your content and write a neat, step-by-step response to potentially grab these spots.
- What: If you can define industry terms, you can win answer boxes for “what does… mean?” queries. Be sure to rewrite the question and the answer, so Google can recognize it easily. Keep in mind that users searching these terms will not have much expertise in your industry, and this may or may not be the audience you want to target.
- Where: Users might search for “where can I find…?” or “where is…?” if they are looking for a particular product or a local business. Once again, write the question and the answer into the content.
- Other Questions: Consider questions your audience might have, especially those starting with who, what, when, where or why. Write your question and answer into the content, preferably near the beginning, so Google can pull the content into an answer box.
4. Optimize Informational Content
If you didn’t start writing your website with organic search engine optimization techniques in mind, you may already have informative content that customers can’t find. Do a content audit, and put yourself in your customer’s shoes as you do. What might a customer search for to get to your content? Use the organic search engine optimization techniques listed in the first point to optimize your content around the most logical search query.
Keep in mind, many B2B companies or businesses in specific niches might not have keyword data readily available. Start typing searches into Google, and see how the search engine autocompletes your query. These queries tend to be searched by other users, even if there is limited data.
5. Keep Updated
Google and other search engines understand that their customers are looking for the most up-to-date information, so they tend to prioritize current information. If you’ve noticed visits for your top blog posts or other content has dropped off, it might be time to update them.
You can use search engine optimization tools or Google Analytics to see if your content has moved down the SERP, or do a search yourself. Use a private window or incognito window, so your previous search history or accounts you’re logged into don’t influence the results. Then, see what information competing posts include. Can you write this better? Expand your content and make sure the published date on it is updated. Be wary of changing your URL, as this can cause broken links, and you will lose the influence your content already has with the search engine.
6. Use Current Events
While “evergreen” content will continue to bring in visitors, timely content is more like a newspaper item; it’s only interesting and relevant for a short time. Evergreen content is generally more valuable, but timely content can also be useful.
Remember that timely topics won’t have years of other content to compete with. Just like a newspaper, if you are the first to write about this topic well, you are most likely to get the most attention. This means it will be easier to compete using organic search engine optimization techniques. Your content might also get passed along through social media discussions on hot-button issues.
There are many types of timely content. Here are a few:
- Big Events: conferences, protests, trade shows, grand openings, and a wide range of other events related to your industry can be valuable topics.
- New Tech: New technology can quickly turn an industry on its head. If you catch wind of the next big thing, write about it.
- New Rules: New legislation, guidelines, professional best practices and other rules in your region and industry often mean changes. Tell your audience what the new rules are, and why they’re important.
- Pop Culture: We’ve all seen popular shows, actors and actresses, sports and other pop culture icons “trending.” If you can write content that is relevant to the trend, do so, but make sure it makes sense with your business type and voice.
- Public Figures: The actions of notable figures tend to attract attention, but they don’t have to be celebrities. Consider inventors, business leaders, scientists, local leaders, and other important people in your business or industry.
Local: If your business is a key part of the community, local happenings are likely to interest your customers.
7. Utilize Link-Building
Google and other search engines want to show users the most helpful content possible. To do this, Google measures a website’s domain authority. Domain authority is mostly determined by the number and quality of links pointing to content on your site. Sites with higher domain authority generally show up higher on the SERP.
This means, even if your content is expertly written, researched, and uses keywords appropriately, it might never be found if your site has low domain authority. This makes link-building an important organic search engine optimization technique. If you’re struggling to build domain authority, consider the following methods:
- Journals/magazines: if industry-related publications have published your research or articles online, ask for a link back to your site.
- Trade links: Talk with business partners or colleagues about guest-posting and helping each other build links.
- Guest writing: submit a guest post to a popular site in your industry or your area, and include backlinks in the text. Make sure the host is not using “nofollow” links, which won’t help your domain authority.
- Skyscraper Technique. To use this organic search engine optimization technique, you’ll need to write better content than your competitors, use an SEO tool to see where the competing content is linked, and ask the linking sites to use your content instead.
- Answer questions: Sites like Quora, Yahoo Answers and StackExchange host questions that anyone can answer, preferably experts in the field. You can include a link to helpful content in your answer, but be sure not to over-promote yourself, or your answer will be removed.
- Social media: Groups on LinkedIn and Facebook, or hashtags on Twitter and Instagram show users’ interests and questions, and give you a chance to weigh in with helpful content. Once again, focus on being helpful, not promotional, or you may be banned from the group or ignored.
8. Target Keywords You Can Win
You’ve probably heard of broad keywords, which are vague but show high search volume, and long-tail keywords, which are more specific, but less searched. This is a good starting point for choosing keywords that make sense with your domain authority. It probably won’t work to target a broad keyword where competitors with much higher domain authority already have the top spots. Even if your content is written better, the competitor is unlikely to budge.
Instead, look for long-tail keywords with lower search volume, but lower competition. The question terms previously mentioned are a good place to start. Use these queries in a search and take a look at the top results. Could you write them better? Do the top results have high domain authority? By starting with less competitive keywords, you can build backlinks and domain authority, so you can take on more challenging keywords later.
9. Use High-Quality Writing
Relatively short, quippy content used to be the online standard, but this has changed in recent years. Google tends to favor search results that answer users’ questions the best, and this content tends to be thorough and well thought-out. But how does the search engine know what content is and what isn’t?
Google judges quality mostly on links pointing to your page, how long users spend on the page, and what outbound links you use. This gives Google an approximation as to whether your page is useful and reliable. You can use this as an organic search engine optimization technique to make your content more competitive. When writing quality, reliable articles, blog posts, or other pages, keep the following web content writing tips in mind:
- Clear and thorough. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes and answer any questions they might have. A length of around 1,000 to 1,200 words usually keeps readers on the page and covers the important points.
- Grammatically correct. A few typos won’t cost you top SERP spots, but your content should be easy and enjoyable to read. If it’s riddled with errors, readers will have doubts about quality, and they’ll be less likely to link to your content or share it.
- Reliable sources. Where possible, link to articles, data or blog posts from industry authorities, government agencies, universities, longstanding newspapers, industry journals or other respected publications.
- Original data. If you are addressing a question with little data available to answer it, considering gathering your own. This will take longer, but your audience will find your content much more reliable, helpful, and shareable.
- High-quality presentation. If your content is well-written but the font is too small, color contrast is too low, or elements overlap each other, your readers will click away and your content won’t move up the SERP. Make sure your web design supports a good reading experience.
- Mobile-friendly. More searches are now conducted on mobile devices. While this varies from industry to industry, your content should be responsive, so it can be viewable on a mobile device. If it’s not, you’re missing out on a large audience and you’re unlikely to be competitive.
10. Manage Your Time Wisely
Organic search engine optimization doesn’t happen by accident. You’ll need concentrated effort and careful consideration to write content worthy of a top SERP spot. If all this seems like too big of a task, consider the following tips. These can help you save time and get out of an organic search slump.
- Write regularly. Producing new content erratically will slow down your organic search traffic, even if the content is high-quality. Produce new content at least once a week to gain traction.
- Use a content calendar. Plan out your content in advance and set aside time using a content calendar. This will not only help you to write regularly, but you can also plan content for your your sales funnel.
- Dedicate a writer. Writing content with high organic search potential takes time and experience. If you give the task to your staff, make sure they have the time to write. Otherwise, consider working with a digital marketing agency with SEO experience, or hiring a writer.
- Repurpose content. You worked hard to make high-quality content, so use it in as many ways as you can. Depending on the type of content you have, consider repurposing parts of it into social media posts, guest blog posts, informational guides, tutorials, infographics and more. This will help you save time and maximize the impact of your work.
Which organic search optimization techniques you choose will depend on your industry, domain authority, digital marketing strategy and your time and staff. If you plan your content strategically, you can build organic search strength while also providing value to your customers.