At Ata2ud Media, our philosophy of web presence begins with a simple mantra, “You have to be seen, to be heard!” In the web world, being “seen” means being found in a web search using a popular search engine like Google, Yahoo or Bing. The order in which you appear in that search is key. The higher the listing, the more likely your site will be visited by a user. Where your site falls in the listing is based upon search engine parameters, called an algorithm. These algorithms favor helping the user get answers to their search questions. Search Engine Optimizing (SEO) fine tunes your website making it more “findable” in relevant searches. However, all SEO is not the same.
Search optimization is broken into two distinct strategies: organic and artificial. Merriam Webster defines organic, in part, as “having the characteristics of an organism: developing in the manner of a living plant or animal.” To an SEO company, this definition describes the approach taken to achieve long-lasting results in the “natural” use of search engines. The organic strategy involves quality content building over time. Artificial SEO involves using techniques and tricks to fool the search engine and instead of depending on quality content building.
A few comparisons of the different approaches will clarify what we mean when we use the term “organic SEO” and “artificial SEO”.
Content vs. Technical Loopholes
In the SEO industry “content is king.” We would take this adage one step further. In our experience, quality content is king. Study after study has shown that when people use search engines, they are primarily seeking one thing: quality information. They are not seeking to be impressed by fancy flash sites. They are not looking for pretty. In SEO the quality of your site is directly proportional to the quality of the questions your site can answer.
A search engine optimization company that is truly practicing “organic SEO” recognizes this fact. “Artificial SEO” firms, which embrace a technical loophole philosophy, will allow a company to leave its website exactly as it is, because the work that such firms do is largely technical and is designed to trick the engine into showing content that it would not otherwise show. Certainly, there are acceptable (from the engine’s standpoint) technical aspects that any good search engine optimization company will use, such as relevant page titles and Meta tags. But there are many more unacceptable technical methodologies than acceptable ones, including cloaking, redirects, multiple sites, key phrase stuffing, hidden links, and numerous others. A company practicing “organic SEO” will avoid these.
Our philosophy is to integrate a blog for deep content coupled with a twitter (micro blog) and a Facebook feed on page one of your website to get you noticed. This strategy funnels all your real-time quality content to drive a better search profile.
Attracting Links vs. Linking Schemes
As any SEO company knows, inbound links are critical to the success of an “organic SEO” campaign. There are different ways to go about it.
Firms that practice true “organic SEO” will look at the website itself and say “How can we make this site something that other sites would want to link to?” What new content needs to be added to create a better search profile? A search engine optimization company using “artificial SEO” will ask, “How can I get links pointing to this site without adding anything of value to it?” The latter approach usually leads to reciprocal linking schemes, link farms, and the purchase of text links. This strategy avoids making changes to the website that entice others to link to the site. A better strategy is to ask for a link to be reciprocated.
A solid SEO organic strategy will make certain that a site is listed in all the popular directories, such as the Yahoo Directory, the Open Directory Project, and Business.com. This strategy will also continually seek any industry-specific directories where your site could be listed. Using “organic SEO” means building content to your site so that it holds actual value to your prospects. Using social media feeds and a blog gives your readers information and answers to their questions. Isn’t that what they are searching for? In my opinion, this is much more beneficial in the long run than the artificial methodology of trying to garner incoming links that the site does not truly deserve.
Quality content, which is a resource for answering searcher questions, will get the high quality inbound links.
Creating an Expert Resource vs. Algorithm Chasing
Search engines change their algorithms frequently for two reasons. One is, of course, to improve their results based upon their most recent user interaction. The other is to get past the tactics that get sites ranked artificially high.
The common denominator in websites that maintain their high rankings despite frequent algorithm changes is high quality content! They offer something of value (answer questions) to their visitors and are considered a resource for their industry. “Organic SEO” practitioners generally do not concern themselves with algorithm shifts. They continue to build content making your site an expert resource in your field. While an “artificial” SEO companies desperately try to claw their way back to rankings lost from dependence on technical loopholes. “Organic SEO” firms continue adding valuable and relevant content to your site, strengthening its value and bolstering its rankings.
The organic approach requires you have a shift in thinking: from marketer to publisher: from salesperson to guide. What do your prospects need to know about your product or service that can differentiate you from others? Let your website be their source to learn about your industry. Prospects are very likely to call you when they are ready to buy, as you have become their expert resource! With “organic SEO,” you will reach people in all stages of the buying cycle, educate them, and steer them toward your solution by using your website.
Learning from Engines vs. Learning How to Exploit Them
On a regular basis, search engines engage in very expensive studies on what their users want to see when they enter search queries. “Organic SEO” firms are always positioning themselves in the search algorithm with quality content. An “organic SEO” company will try to learn and “listen” to the results of recent studies. For example, shifting technology like the explosive growth of social media caused dramatic changes in the search algorithms. “Organic SEO” companies now incorporate the micro blogging aspects of social media into their website build model. “Artificial SEO” does not concern itself with user interaction studies, getting traffic. It does not listen to the user it solely focuses on defeating the search engine algorithm.
The “artificial” approach makes results erratic, but it also raises a larger point. What is the goal of the campaign or your website? If an “Artificial SEO” company finds a loophole in an algorithm that catapults your site to the top, but does not consider the user experience at your website, it defeats the original purpose. You want to convert traffic to customers! You may get plenty of visitors (traffic). These will be short-term visitors who do not find what they want on your site and back out without a second thought. No conversion. Ata2ud Media believes conversion begins with getting relevant, quality and timely content. An exceptional user experience is a function of meeting the user’s needs!
Final Thoughts on the “Organic” Approach
An SEO company that takes a true “Organic SEO” approach will actually take the dictionary definition quite literally in building your website. A great website is like an organism, always growing and adapting to its environment. It builds upon itself. It learns how it should behave and act in its own best interest.
At Ata2ud Media, we specialize in content that is both high quality and social. Do you want people to hear your brand message? Then you need to be seen! Let us help you climb the search listings in Google, Yahoo and Bing.