2011 saw many changes in the SEO and SEM world, mainly due to big G’s updates, some good, some bad.
The panda update got rid of a lot of crappy articles on the web, more emphasis on Google places for local listings, more emphasis on social indicators for sites, the loss of keyword data from analytics and Yahoo site Explorer being closed.
If you work on the Internet, you have to expect constant change. These changes, are put in place and we have to then go off and work with them.
So, does this mean organic listings are still needed for companies to promote themselves online?
The answer is surely, yes.
Organic listings are still the number one way the people to find what they are looking for online, no matter which search engine they use.
The way in which the organic listings are arranged and ordered, may change over time, but people’s mind-sets are now trained to go to the organic listings as the first stop for finding information online.
The main hurdle most businesses have in the organic listings, is Google places or the equivalent on other search engines, sponsored listings at the top of the organic lists and pay per click ads.
Depending on which keywords you want to rank for, will depend on how many Google place listings are on the first page. Google place listings usually come up when you type in a keyword and the locality, e.g. locksmiths Manchester.
If you are listed at number one in the organic search and there are seven Google place listings above you, it’s only natural for someone searching to look at the Google places listings first.
Now if you want to have a listing in Google places in a locality not centred on your business, you’re going to have a hard time being listed, So, your only option is organic search and pay per click.
With Google places, make sure you have no duplicate listings – type into the Google search box your brand and telephone number, to check there is no duplicate listings. If there are, delete the ones you don’t need. Also, make sure all the fields in your Google listings are filled out with as much information as you can. Take a look at other people’s organic listings, preferably in the top three and see what is working for them.
You still want to rank in localities where your business is not based. You now have paid per click and organic search to focus on.
Talking to fellow SEO chap, who only specialise in pay per click, stated that they don’t bother with organic search as it takes too long. To rank highly in organic search, can take a few months to rank highly, especially for competitive keywords. The benefit of organic search is that your listings will stick and last much longer. Also, as what has been always been said, people naturally look at the organic listings first as we read left to right, as our eyes are naturally drawn to the top left corner of the screen. Also pay per click ads only last as long as you are funding them.
If you have X amount of money to spend on online advertising, where do you spend it?
In truth, both organics and pay per click cannot be ignored. With a little knowledge and a few online tutorials, you can get the very basics down of handling a pay per click campaign. A small, very targeted and focused pay per click campaign can help your organic listings, so they can work hand-in-hand.
Organic listings are more convoluted to make work and arguably need a lot more experience with the link building process. The other advantage to this being, as links are built for a client, web surfers should naturally find your links and if they find the content interesting where the link is placed, they may naturally visit your site or link to your site, creating a talking point or further promoting your site. Work done for you without spending a penny.
So, basically organic listings take longer to work but have a more long-term effect and can be used to naturally spread the word about your business around the Internet.
Like any other marketing or advertising, this takes a lot of time and leg work. This is where the cost comes from for promoting an organic listing.
As a business, you can do some of the online promotion yourself. Creating links in itself is not hard to do, just time-consuming. To make this effective though, you need to have a link building plan, know where to put these links, how to link them together properly, what type of links to get, content creation and reporting are all needed for an effective campaign. You can also read up on research the processes you need to do the above. But the question is, how much time and effort will you put into this which will be taken away from you focusing on your business efforts.
I use the example of building a house. If you want a house built, it’s quite possible to learn all the skills needed, buy the materials, get a few hands to help you and off you go. How good the house will be at the end, is questionable if you’ve never done this process before or even a few times before. For the amount of time and effort you need to learn all the skills and implement them to a professional level, may cost you more time than the money you will save.
This is the same for online promotion. People in the industry are performing this work and researching all the time, to make client’s campaigns the most effective.
For the foreseeable future, organic listings will be the number one way people will find information on the Internet and to rank highly in the organic search can be the difference between a good online promotion and about one.