Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Organic SEO: Is it Worth the Wait?

The Long Wait

Organic SEO is the most beneficial optimization process there is. However, it is also the most time-consuming. It will take months before you see the full results of Organic SEO. Let’s take a look at the processes behind this technique in order to understand and embrace the long wait.
Think of your website as Site A.

To improve your ranking with the search engines, you need many relevant, non-reciprocal Site Bs linking back to your Site A. These are called backlinks and the majority of them must appear organic (natural) to the search engines. Appearing organic, or natural, means that to the spiders, which are the search engine web bots that index the pages of your website, these Site Bs have linked to your Site A on their own because your site is that great. It shows popularity, which shows your site has something beneficial to share, and that is what increases your ranking. It is the job of the search engines to offer top-notch, beneficial sites to the searchers. When your site is presented as such, the engines will move you up their lists.

Rather than sit back and cross your fingers in hopes that many Site Bs will just start immediately linking to your Site A as soon as it goes live, there is a backlink process that can be done that still appears organic to the spiders. It is submitting to certain directories, etc. requesting they add your Site A into their directory (Site B) with a hyperlink back to your site A. Easy enough? Yes, but there is a long-wait period for these listings to be accepted and go live.

Why? With organic backlink submissions, these submissions are last on the list for these directory owners because they work their submission requests in the order that benefits them the most, which is:
1) Paid submissions.
2) Sponsored submissions.
3) Paid submissions with reciprocal link.
4) Free submissions with reciprocal link.
5) Free submissions, with no reciprocal link.

As you can see, organic listings are the last to be worked. Let’s use the example of just one free submission backlink. Let’s say that this one submission was accepted and went live after waiting 3 months, but it is still not showing on the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Why? Because the major search engines, such as Google, are META search engines and are crawler-based.

Here is an excellent explanation of how this works:
“Improving your organic search engine rankings can be a slow process. That's because of the way search engines work. The crawler-based engines have three parts: the spider, the index and the algorithmic software.
· The spider visits web pages to read text and follow links within your site. It comes back on a regular basis (monthly or bi-monthly) to pick up changes.
· The index holds the documents found by the spider in a database. Copies of spidered pages are kept here, and the database is updated when the spider brings in new or revised pages. This process takes time, causing a delay between indexing and updating the database.
· The algorithmic software is unique to each search engine. It evaluates billions of pages in the index, sorting them according to relevancy, in answer to keyword search queries. Most algorithms are based on text, code, architecture and inbound links.
So while it can take months before your organic links appear, or show improvement, in search engine results pages, your paid search listings appear immediately.”

Source: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/6598.asp

There is also the need of indexing a new site with the search engines. Or is there? Actually, if SEO is going to be done on a site there is no need to manually index that site with the search engines. One, every site gets indexed regardless. Two, if you have a site with a PR of 4 or higher linking back to you (even a press release site that may appear immediately), then Google will come index your site within 24 hrs of that backlink becoming live. That’s one thank you we can give to Google for making things easier. If no SEO work is on the site, you may want to manually index just to possibly (and I stress possibly) get the index faster.

As you can see, there is the initial waiting period for your submission requests to be worked, accepted, and made live. Then there is another waiting period for the search engine spiders to find these backlinks and index them. Patience is a SEO virtue. No arguments there.

Benefits of Organic SEO:

Now let’s look at the many positives of making it through the long wait:
“Why getting into the top 10 organic listings may ultimately be worth more than perching at the top of the sponsored listings:
Organic search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective marketing strategy that provides marketing accountability. There are several reasons why organic links are so valuable. The reasons cited below come from industry research:
1. Well-optimized sites enjoy sizable gains in unique visitors and conversions.
2. Search users prefer organic listings to sponsored listings.
3. Organic listings produce more conversions than other online strategies.
4. Search engine listings provide branding.
5. SEO provides an excellent return on investment (ROI).”

Source: http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/6598.asp

“FACT: PPC (pay per click) advertising costs are up 37% from last year’s first quarter.
FACT: Natural (organic) search results convert as much as 30% higher than PPC.”

Source: http://wordassociates.wordpress.com/2006/09/08/ppc-vs-natural-search-%E2%80%93-get-the-facts

Organic SEO is not the only way to optimize your site, but it is the best way. Paid listings and PPC campaigns are non-organic optimization techniques that obtain quicker (usually immediate) results, but not necessarily better results. In fact, if not done properly, these techniques can be viewed as spamming by the engines and possibly draw penalties. And let’s not forget the fact that the majority of searchers ignore the paid submission appearing on the right side of their search result pages and simply follow through on the natural search listings that appear.

There is also another factor to throw into the mix. The infamous Google Sandbox. If your site is brand spanking new, be prepared to play alone for a few months. Google has what is known as “The Google Sandbox.” Although a theory, most SEOs agree that whether the sandbox exists or not, there is definitely a waiting period, regardless of what you call it, on new sites before the engines will give heed and index the site or give any attention to any SEO work done.

Why? Because you are a fresh fish and they want to treat you as such. Your site hasn’t earned its muscle in their world yet and until it does, it will be treated like a child and given a time-out in the sandbox while the adults (senior sites) get to romp around the whole playground (the Internet). Your site will eventually be released, but the time frame may vary. It is usually about 3 to 6 months, but could be longer. The way to get out as early as possible is to have continuous SEO taking place on your site. This forces some attention from the engines and gets the ranking assignment going faster.

Through continuous monitoring and continuous SEO strategies your site’s exposure and ranking will improve. Just remember that patience is required. Also keep in mind that each search engine has a different algorithm and structure, so while you start ranking well in one, you may not in the other. But eventually it all catches up.

The bottom line is Organic SEO is the most beneficial route to go to optimize your site for five primary reasons:
1) Appearing natural to the search engines.
2) Promoting popularity which is what the search engines look for.
3) It is the longest lasting optimization technique. Most of the organic backlinks to your site will stay live for years to come, thus bringing traffic for years to come.
4) A site entering Google’s top natural SERPs for the first time can expect an exponential increase in traffic.
5) Overall, it is the best technique for ROI.

Organic SEO – is it worth the wait? Definitely.


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