Get Great Organic Search Engine Listings
By Judith Kallos
All too often I find site owners
are confused (or in denial) about how to achieve the
search engine rankings they desire on the SERPs (Search
Engine Result Pages). So, I am pleased to offer you my
version of "Organic Listings 101."
Several times each day I get approached by site owners
wanting to be in the top 5, 10, top page for organic
(free) listings. The organic results are those that
display to the left and below "Sponsored Sites" or
"Sponsored Results" at Google, MSN and Yahoo!. These
"Sponsored" advertisement boxes are part of Pay-Per-Click
programs where site owners bid for positioning.
What we're going to discuss today are the free listings
that are gained by how your site is ranked based on a
combination of unique variables (algorithm) of each search
site. Which, to muddy things up further, evolve without
"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you
Let's first set the stage so that we have realistic
expectations here. When I started my consulting practice
back in the early 90s, it was relatively easy to get
found. The volume of sites and the level of competition
were not one iota of what they are today. Fast forward to
2005 and you have close to 12,000,000,000 (yes, that's
billion) pages with a good 10,000,000 being added daily.
So how do you get visibility in the SERPs? Shuffling or
adding keywords in your Meta tags won't do it. Search
Engine Optimization (SEO) isn't the end-all-be-all either.
You have to have a well rounded, smart, long term
marketing plan for your site that includes certain basics
for you to rise in the organic rankings.
Issues for consideration to gain improved organic
• Look at your Web marketing plan as a long term
effort. New sites are in Google's sandbox for 6 months or
more, and it will take time and effort to be viewed as
more relevant than the sites that are already online in
the free positions you seek.
• Part of putting your plan together is to do a search
with your top keyword phrases on the various search
engines so that you are aware of the competition and the
volume of sites already successfully ranking for the terms
you are targeting. This gives you a real-world
understanding of the level of competition you will be up
• Understand that how your Web site ranks has nothing
to do with how good you are at what you do. It has to do
with how good your site is and how good others including
the search engines think your site is. That requires a
long term realistic marketing plan to grow your site to be
the best most comprehensive resource on your product or
service for your site visitors. It doesn't happen
overnight or just because you say you want it to.
• Forget about trying to rank for one-word keywords -
much too difficult and in some cases downright impossible.
Concentrate and target 2-3 word phrases instead of
one-word keywords and you'll get more targeted visitors as
well. There are several tools to assist you in
investigating what keyword phrases your target market is
actually using. Use these tools to your advantage!
• Make sure each page within your site targets and is
optimized for only one or two, 2-3 word keyword phrases
each. Niche is what works for organic listings! The more
you are about; the less you are about any one thing.
Search results are based on numerous factors; one being
relevancy for the terms the searcher is using. If you are
targeting 10, 20, 30 terms per page, that page is not
strongly about any given topic vs. another site that has a
page or pages concentrating on just one or two phrases
each. Keep in mind that less is more when it comes to
targeting keyword phrases on a page by page basis.
• To "top" the sites already out there, you have to do
just that! Top them! What makes your site better and more
valuable to your site visitors? If you don't have anything
unique and of quality or value to offer, you'll never push
those who already hold these positions out of your way.
• Plan on adding new information to your site on an
aggressive basis. Daily, weekly, minimally monthly!
Resources, white papers, "how tos" not only add value but
will naturally work wonders as keyword targeted pages.
Offer the type of information those seeking your product
or service will find useful and search for and that other
sites will want to link to. Don't even think of cheating
and using content generating software...You'll get nowhere
with that approach. You need to have well written content
of value; not keyword stuffed ramblings.
• Plan on having lots of patience. Rome wasn't built in
a day and attaining great organic listings no longer
happens in a day, a month, or even a year. Any business
that hopes to succeed needs to take a consistent and
informed long-term approach. This applies to organic
Yes, without a doubt, all of the above recommendations
require your time, effort and a realistic understanding of
how organic listings are accomplished. But this is the
reality of how great listings, over time, are attained. It
is really quite simple - strive to make your site the best
it can be; THE site for your product or service and your
rankings will improve!
There are no short cuts or trickery for fast top 5, 10,
top page organic results. If someone tells you otherwise,
they are trying to use what you don't know to get into
your pocket book. Make a commitment to continually build
your site to be the best it can be to your site visitors
and your organic rankings will happen. Web sites and
rankings are a work in progress after all!
Without implementing the above, you are left with only
one choice in order to get visibility to those searching
for your product or service. You will need to invest in a
well planned Pay-Per-Click program and the corresponding
budget necessary to reach your goals.