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Is organic SEO dead!?

Posted on 2003-12-01
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Last Modified: 2013-11-28
I see more and more pay per click engines popping up as well as XML trusted feeds. This is great for the Pay per click places as im sure they are getting rich however I simply cant afford these super expensive costs per click.

And as far as the old search engine submission programs go, I see a MUCH smaller list of search engines that still support free listings. And they will get around to listing you when they feel like it... maybe never? Oh, but if you do our pay for inclusion we will have you indexed by tomorrow...

Long live Dmoz.org

Is there anyone out there still getting gobs of web traffic by traditional SEO means? If so, id like to hear from you.

Thanks,

-Matt

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Question by:mjreine
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:duz
ID: 9854767
Matt -

It's estimated that 70-80% of traffic is generated from a Google search.  High rankings in Google are essential to capture this traffic and not with one optimized page but 10,000+ pages.  PPC is good for highly targeted traffic but if the keywords are out of your price range then content (page volume) is the way to go.

- duz
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Expert Comment

by:AsbjornG
ID: 9910089
Matt,

I agree with Duz that content will indeed help your rankings. Make sure you have REAL content, i.e. articles rather than dummy content (Google is getting smarter by the minute).

Another way to increase you ranking and traffic is link exchanges. Google will generally give you a higher ranking if your site is linked from many other sites, and you may even get some traffic from the links! Politely ask webmasters in related but not directly competing areas to exchange links for both's benefit.

If you want to try PPC but think it's too expensive, you can probably get 7-8c per click on Google. Try more exact phrases, or less general keywords - I've been able to tweak a small marketing campaign for a quite popular industry area down to around 7 cents average per click (we're only talking about 50-100 clicks per day, but that's all they're budgeting for).

If you have a small advertising budget PPC is a nice addition to your marketing, but targeted content and link exchange is still the best way to increase you rank and traffic.

Regards,

Asbjorn
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Author Comment

by:mjreine
ID: 9910666
Asbjorn,

 I have TONS of content... some pages have 500+ words describing a particular book and yet I seem to get passed over by the search engines.

 Whats even wierder is that if Im logged on to my web server and check the logs, spiders are hitting my page quite often and pretty hard too (meaning they pull down lots of urls) yet Im not seeing them show up on the web.

And I am doing this systematically using a program called webceo to check link popularity. The only traffic im getting is from PPCs which supports my theory that one cannot just have meta tags and EVEN GOOD CONTENT anymore and get ranked fairly well... you have to pay $$$. Prove me wrong... What methods would you use to promote a brand new website?

Embed meta tags? Meta description tag? robots.txt? rewrite urls to .htm? Any advice is appreciated.

Thanks!

-Matt
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Expert Comment

by:AsbjornG
ID: 9910933
Matt,

In my company we are using WebPosition Gold (www.webposition.com). It has a reporting feature that tells you how your site is built up compared to what researchers believe to be the most effective for top rankings in (name your search engine).

It is not an auto-submit utility (altough it can to some extent be used as one), but rather a utility that pinpoints what you need to change to increase your chances of better rankings. You content may be good to your users, but is it good to GoogleBot?

We have achieved top 3 rankings in many different keywords for many different URLs on many different search engines using this information. the important thing though, is to use it as a guide and assistance - it still takes hard work, good content, sleepless nights and a little bit of luck to get that top 10 ranking.

It's also worth nothing that at every Google Dance (http://searchenginewatch.com/sereport/article.php/2216081) things seem to change pretty radically so if you're listed high one day you may not be in the top 100 the next!

SEO has become a mix between an art and a science, and can probably be placed somewhere in between quantum physics and  binary-level programming. It's not easy, it's not predictable, and it changes all the time. So if you don't get a top ranking: Don't dispair, just keep trying. If you do: Be proud, you've earned it!

One more thing: Make sure your content isn't too similar, and that it's not very similar to the content of another webpage. The search engines may ban you for either spamming or content mirroring, and once you're on that list it's bye-bye traffic!

Together with exchanging links (which also increases your relevancy), WebPostion Gold and reading websites like SearchEngineWatch (www.searchenginewatch.com) is your best bet for climbing that Google ladder. There is also a theory saying that being listed in the Yahoo directory (Those bastards charge commercial sites $200/year) is favorable to your Google ranking.

All we can really do is gather as much information as possible and make educated guesses, wait for Google to do it's dance, then re-gather information and guess again.

Cheers,

Asbjorn
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Assisted Solution

by:AsbjornG
AsbjornG earned 250 total points
ID: 9911050
Matt,

I just had a chat with one of my colleagues about this, and he raised a few interesting points:

- FACT: Google tracks clicks (altough they hide it very neatly!).
- FACT: Google tracks sessions.

This means that, in theory, Google will know (based on which sites you click and how long you stay there) which sites people find relevant for a given search.

Thus, quality matters - if people clicks your link and stays longer at your site it will rank higher.

This is all theory, but the point is that the sites people want to see will probably rank higher in the search. Quality matters.

Of course there is the matter of getting to a rank where people start seeing your site, for that please see my previous post.

But remember to make USER friendly pages first, then make that user friendly page as search engine friendly as the content allows. Google is trying to display the pages the searches wants to see, if searchers wants to see your page you should have a better chance.

Hope all my ranting makes sense!

Cheers,

Asbjorn
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Author Comment

by:mjreine
ID: 9911075
asbjorn,

 Thanks for your reply... I have done pretty much everything youve outlined already.. Including the many sleepless nights :)

 WebCEO is in most ways a comparable product to WebPosition Gold. Ive heard many reviews pro WebCEO over WebPosition. My content isnt at all similar. Its good reading and very informative for prospective book buyers.

Ive been a member on countless seo sites and have subscribed to www.se-news.com and searchenginewatch.com as you mentioned and have followed their suggestions but still no real traffic. Ive got a yahoo link for the last couple of years

Which leads me to something you mentioned... being banned at google. I still have a pagerank of 6 and do have SOME links in google. Which leads me to believe that im not banned. Would you agree with this?

Is there a sure fire way to tell if you have a banned site or not? Last thing I want to do is to spam google or another SE, I just want them to dig a little deeper into my website. I have thousands of products and at last google count, I had 11 links. My best ever was 59 links in google.

With thousands of pages the sites content should be getting indexed more wouldnt you think?

Thanks!

-Matt
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Author Comment

by:mjreine
ID: 9911101
Asbjorn,

 About your comments on google tracking sessions. People do come back to my site and stay on average a few minutes when they are there. This is better than average I would say.

 I talked with an SEO firm about this the other day and their solution (for a measly $3000+, ouch) was to optimize my site for the google and the other SEs. Of course they wouldnt tell me how however by telling me some of their sample sites they have done I looked at them and figured out their secret... Check this out.

search in google for the phrase undertail kit

now look for hotbodiesracing.com webiste... they did this guys website and got 2 top 5 rankings! (I admit there isnt much competition though) Now heres how they did it... He explained they create mouseover pages...

SAMPLE mouse over (keyword stuffed page)
http://www.hotbodiesracing.com/undertail_kit_L14.html

 Basically one HUGE graphic in the middle of the page and then when you mouse over it, it redirects you to your homepage... then they keyword stuff the heck out of the page... THIS GOT THEM 2 top 10 pacements... What the heck is going on!?? Im trying to please the googleplex people by not spamming and doing things legit... then these guys get this!???

Any ideas why....?????

Thanks again...

-Matt
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Accepted Solution

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duz earned 250 total points
ID: 9911340
Matt & asbjorn

A few comments to add....

I thought the old mouseover redirect trick was long gone, nice to see it back for old times sake! Hope they have a backup site waiting for their client for when a competitor files a spam report with Google :)

Google does track clicks and sessions but only on a very small sample of data which is used for statistical purposes.

If it wasn't for WebPositionGold and WebCEO I doubt we would get half the clients that we end up with. You would be amazed at the mess some people end up with after using these products because they believe what's written on the box.

SEO is like chess - it is easy to learn the rules of the game and you might even become an average chess player with study and practise, although most people don't. But the really top class chess players practice 8+ hours a day, play through all their opponents games and spend a lot of time on the latest theoretical analysis.

- duz
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Author Comment

by:mjreine
ID: 9911419
Duz,

 I couldnt agree with you more.. Sounds like you do SEO for a living. That was my first impression too about the moseover deal..

 But hopefully you see my side as a customer too.. That is... I nearly had a salesman from a pretty prominently mentioned SEO firm sell me a $3000+ lemon seo job which would have gotten me banned by google in a month or so. Luckily I have studied the topic enough to know better.

 Im sure there are legit SEOs out there who are the skilled chess players as you mentioned and who can get me ranked high using ethical methods... Im just still searching for this firm.

Do you work for an SEO firm, or can you recommend a good one to me?

Also steps would you take to optimize rankings better than webceo or web position gold?

Thanks!

-Matt
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Expert Comment

by:duz
ID: 9911754
Matt -

>Do you work for an SEO firm...

Yes I do, in the research department. Mostly the company provides e-marketing, strategy through to implementation and that sort of thing, for large corporates with big wallets.

>....or can you recommend a good one to me?

I get asked that a lot and find it really difficult to answer!  The top (say ten) SEO's whose work I respect and admire work for themselves and optimise multiple sites that they own. They are not interested in working on other peoples sites because they make more money doing their own thing. The next level are the reputable specialist SEOs who have their own business but only turn out for big bucks. Below them are the reputable SEO companies with many employees that field a specialist or solution set depending on the depth of the clients pocket. It is very expensive for small businesses to get top quality SEO.

From what you have said in your particular case I would suggest you try talking to Morgan Carey at http://www.seo-guy.com or Barry Lloyd at http://www.makemetop.co.uk and see where that gets you.

Disclaimer: I am not associated with them or their organisations and have no idea what their clients think of them.

- duz
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Author Comment

by:mjreine
ID: 9911823
duz,

 Thanks for the advice... I will contact them and get their take on the situation. If you ever get a chance to take a quick look at my site id appreciate it, its www.LowestCostMusic.com and my email is matt@lowestcostmusic.com

Thanks again!

-Matt
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Author Comment

by:mjreine
ID: 9911829
Increasing points to 500
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Author Comment

by:mjreine
ID: 9911830
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Expert Comment

by:AsbjornG
ID: 9917490
Matt,

"Which leads me to something you mentioned... being banned at google. I still have a pagerank of 6 and do have SOME links in google. Which leads me to believe that im not banned. Would you agree with this?"

Sounds right to me, yes.

I just wanted to add one thing that hasn't been mentioned:

Descriptive filenames also seems to help sometimes (i.e. having a webpage named disocunted_CDs.htm rather than 12345.htm). It's all part of the gigantic Google equasion!

AND, another thing that may also have some impact is what text people use to link to your site! If your keywords appear in many links to your site your site it likely to be mroe relevant, thus higher ranked.

Like Duz said, it's a chessgame and anyone not doing research all day long will at best be average at it (Like me, SEO is only a small part of my job). Good thing we've got one or two full-time chess players (like Duz) around to help us out when we seem to get beat all the time!

Cheers,

Asbjorn
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Author Comment

by:mjreine
ID: 9917523
I agree... thanks again Duz. You too Asbjorn.

-Matt
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