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Organic search

Search engines work on the basis of matching keywords input by users in the search box to the many millions of web pages out there that contain those very same keywords– and then aggregating them.

Organic SEO is the process of researching the keywords that people use to find whatever you offer, then filling your website with those exact keywords and phrases, content, links and search-friendly imagery and design in order to appeal to the search engines and get your site a higher ranking.

But that’s only part of it. Other (almost equal) parts are having links to your website from other websites, especially the media and other regularly-updated and frequently-visited websites.

The technology used to search the billions of web pages and evaluate quality and quantity of keywords is known as a crawler or spider.

Crawlers evaluate websites based on the number of times they see these keywords on a site’s webpages. But they also evaluate based on other criteria, principally how ‘easy’ it is to pick up the keywords. Like humans, crawlers tend to skim read. They read page headers, navigation tags and sub headers and ‘titles’ and use them as an indication of what the page is about.

Your search strategy therefore also needs to be based around a properly constructed website that the crawlers can quickly and easily navigate and assess – for example, make sure you have a site map on the home page.

If you’re a smaller support organisation or charity, organic search does have some drawbacks:

  1. It’s tough to achieve if you’re not an SEO expert. The fact is that SEO is ongoing. Everyone is competing to be at the top of the rankings – which means you need to be tweaking your web site on an almost weekly basis.
  2. You need to insert keywords frequently into the content on the site (several times per page) – which can make for awkward reading.
  3. You also need to include keywords in the metatags and underlying code used on your site – which means you’ll need professional design.
  4. Even with a highly optimised site, it often takes months for the results to filter through to the search engines and affect your ranking.
  5. Employing an SEO specialist to devise, execute and measure a strategy is expensive (generally more than £1,000).

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