OSEO Boot Camp, pt. 1: What is Organic SEO?

This week, I’ll be doing a six part series on Organic SEO, and how to apply best practices to your web content. Read part 1part 2part 3,  part 4part 5 and part 6.

Google the term “SEO” (search engine optimization) and you’ll get a billion results, many of them from companies who provide nothing but SEO services. For fees ranging from fifty bucks to thousands a month, they promise to get your site listed first in Google for your key words. I get tons of forwarded emails from clients who’ve received some such pitch, all asking the same question: “Is it worth it?”

Well, probably not.

Frustrated Business Guy is frustrated.To answer that question, it’s best to back up to the why. To help me flesh out the why, today’s special guest interviewee is Frustrated Business Guy.

TWG: Frustrated Business Guy, thanks for spending some time with us today.

FBG: Well, to tell the truth, I’ve got a lot better things to be doing right now, so I’d appreciate if you’d keep this short.

TWG: Ah…okay. Well then, on to our first question. Why do people want to be listed in first place on Google?

FBG: What, are you stupid? Because being listed first means that you’ll get tons of traffic.

TWG: Right! And why’s that important?

FBG: *sigh* Because more traffic equals more sales.

TWG: Wrong! Meeting a need at the right time is the key to more sales. Being listed at the top of Google is only going to help your sales if the search result that brought the visitor in was really a solution to their need, and if it brought  them directly to that solution on your site. Simply driving your domain to the top of various keyword combinations is not going to return the sales benefit you might think it will.

FBG: You know, I really don’t appreciate being used as a literary device in your little rant. It’s hard enough being a one dimensional archetype.

TWG: And that’s all the time we have with Frustrated Business Guy! Thanks for being here.

The fact is, you can get a million visits a day, but if those visits aren’t truly interested in exactly what you have to offer, and land in a place on your site where they can quickly see what they’re interested in, they’re not going to do a thing to increase your revenue. This is where Organic SEO comes in.

OSEO in its technical form means achieving your search engine rankings without paying for that as a service. In practice, it’s letting the principles that Google uses to formulate its own search results drive your content development and marketing: Relevance, Comprehensiveness, Freshness, and Speed.

FBG: Why am I still here?

TWG: Sorry, I needed you again. Say the line.

FBG: Fine. “Why is that a better approach than just paying someone to get your site to the top of all the possible searches?”

TWG: Did you have to say it with quotes? It’s a better approach because the visits that you get are going to be both actually looking for what you’re offering, and land in a place on your site where they are immediately presented with what they were looking for.

FBG: Sorry, I’m just kind of frustrated right now. You’ll have to ask my creator about that. I’m a metaphor, remember?

The single biggest benefit of using Organic SEO to drive your traffic as opposed to paid SEO services is that it’s win/win: you’re getting good search engine placement, AND providing a good user experience that meets the searching visitor’s need, good enough to inspire that visitor to go out and share it with others.

Join us this week as we explore how best to put OSEO principles into action. We’ll cover what each principle means, how social media ties in, and hear from other pertinent visual metaphors on how they hypothetically achieved the results they were looking for, and overcame potential obstacles. We’ll close the six part series on Friday with a Q&A pulled from questions posted in the comments, so ask away!