Organic search engine marketing is the art (or science depending on your point of view) of getting listed in the regular “organic” results of the search engines. These are the listings that are outside the lightly shaded “ads” or “sponsored results” section of the particular search engine you’re using. These organic search results have the major advantage that you don’t pay Google or anyone else every time someone clicks through to your site. It stands to reason that these results can’t be “bought” whereas the ad results are based on a combination.of your advert, the page it is leading to, how high your click rate is and the amount you’re prepared to pay.
Because each extra click they generate is essentially free, coming high up in the organic search results is the holy grail for many companies. Like everything else in life worth having, it takes time but the results are worth it. Here’s a quick overview of how they work.
Google, Bing, etc start off by sending their robot – often called a spider – around your site. They take a snapshot of your page at that time and store it for processing before it gets placed in the search results.
Whilst the exact algorithm – or scoring system – is a trade secret, there is enough evidence to know the kind of things that are being analysed to decide where to place your site in the search results.
This is probably the most critical part of the equation.
Your page title is displayed as a blue underlined link in the search results. Because of this, it’s the thing that most potential visitors to your website will read before they even click through to your site.
If it’s dull and boring – and a lot of page titles are – then there’s a good chance that the searcher will skip your site in the results and will choose someone else’s site to visit.
You’ve got about 65 characters, including punctuation and space, to play with. You can use more but the search engines will cut you off at around about that figure. So you need to make the words you place in your title count.
They should appeal to both search engines and users. Personally, I go with the emphasis on users as the search engines take into account things like click through rates and length of time spent on site when they’re deciding where to place you in the organic search results.
After the page title, this is the other critical part of the equation.
If you miss this out, Google will pick some text that it thinks is relevant, which may or may not be the case.
If your site uses a WordPress blog, this description will likely include the date of the post unless you use a plugin such as WordPress SEO to suppress this. Unless the information on your page is date sensitive, I’d strongly suggest removing the date so you have more characters to play with.
The meta description should be about 160 characters long. Like the title, it can be longer but will get cut off at around this length.
Make the description as enticing as possible, backup any statements you’ve made in your title and generally encourage people to click through to your site.
There are lots of other elements involved in organic search engine marketing but they will all be in vain if you don’t get the above two items right. You could be number one in the organic search results but with a boring page title and a useless description, people still wouldn’t click through to your site.