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Organic search marketing, often referred to as SEO is not an easy gig. Of course there are those out there who say that SEO is a farce or that SEO can be done by anyone. I disagree on both accounts. For me organic search marketing has never been about search engine manipulation. It has always been about providing content around a given topic and creating a theme around this topic. Keyword selection is a key piece of organic search marketing and we all know that keyword research is on-going, and with increased competition it can be difficult to gain an online presence for highly relevant yet competitive key phrases. Factor in all of Google's algorithm changes and we begin to see how organic search marketing becomes increasingly challenging in a hurry.
Improving Organic Search Marketing Efforts in 2012
Understand and respect the search engine algorithms - pay attention to what Google and Bing are doing. Constantly perform spot checks for relevant key phrases to your business. Check out the organic search landscape. Which sites are consistently showing up? What are they doing from an optimization perspective to obtain this visibility? The engines factor in hundreds of items s with their ranking algorithms so pay attention to key components such as:
Quality of content
Uniqueness of content
Quality of inbound links
Become technically sound - work on understanding where Google is going with their organic search results. Take the time to learn how to make your web properties technically sound. This means evaluating areas such as:
Architecture and URL issues
Page Performance and page load times
Rich snippet markup
Indexation of your site
Invest in SMO (Social Media Optimization) - there are those out there who say social media is not for every business and while depending on your social media strategy this may be true to an extent, social media can be used by any business to promote your brand and your web properties. It is one thing to have high quality content, you still need to promote your online content. Social media is a great mechanism for doing this.
Support your organic search efforts with other marketing efforts - organic search is tough. With Google doing what they want with their search results from giving big brands preferential treatment (Google Vince Update) to devaluing sites with perceived low quality content (Google Panda Updates) at the end of the day we are at mercy to the algorithms. Not to state the obvious, but promotion of key pieces of your site's content via social, via news releases, via TV and magazine ads, PPC, email blasts etc.
Timely Implementation is key - if your site is not completely well optimized in this day and age you are already behind the proverbial eight ball. You should have a number of SEO initiatives on the go. These items should already be prioritized. Now you need to implement the changes to your website. The longer it takes you to implement, the longer it takes to get the desired results and the more risk you face of not ever getting the desired results. To be effective with your online marketing strategies, you must, must, must be able to anticipate and roll with change. Change in the online landscape, the competitive landscape and the Google landscape. Failure to implement in a timely manner can quickly seal your online fate.
The key components of your organic search strategy for 2012 are not all that different from your 2011 strategy:
proper keyword selection
fresh, unique and high quality content
some link popularity
effective site engagement
the ability to be indexed by the engines
Paying attention to the above items will help you improve your organic search marketing efforts. While there will continue to be algorithm updates and increased online competition organic search marketing will continue to become more difficult. The better prepared you are, the more likely you will be to experience success.