What is natural search and how do you optimize a website for good results? Natural search refers to a web visitor using a search engine to conduct a search. Sometimes, this is also known as organic search. The terms natural search and organic search are often used interchangeably, for they refer to the same thing.
Before learning how to obtain good results for natural search, let’s first try to understand why such traffic is valuable.
All Internet websites, assuming they are there for commercial reasons, want to make more sales. In order to make more sales, they must drive targeted traffic to their websites. Targeted traffic means that the visitors are pre-qualified in some way. Natural search traffic is considered to be targeted traffic because something can be said about the intention of the visitor.
For instance, if someone is searching for “Canon Digital Camera”, we know that this person may be thinking about purchasing a digital camera (preferably a Canon camera). So if the website has this product for sale, the visitor can be converted into a paying customer. That is why many businesses that used to operate offline are trying to rank well in the search engines. Those who manage to obtain high rankings get to enjoy a free and steady stream of highly targeted traffic. Of course, more traffic eventually leads to more profits.
So how do you optimize a website for better natural search results? There are two components you need to work on.
First component: On-site optimization.
On-site optimization means that your website must be search engine friendly. Different search engines have their own set of webmaster rules. However, the fundamentals are similar. For example, all search bots like your site to have a clear structure. Navigation should be easy, and links should be easily identifiable. Whenever possible, try to include a site map. A site map helps the search bots to find all the web pages within the website. In addition, always add target keyword phrases in the page titles. If possible, use search engine friendly URLs (e.g. static html files with keyword rich file names). Avoid posting duplicate content (web pages that appear similar) on the website.
Second component: Off-site optimization.
Search engines determine the importance of a website based on incoming links. But not all incoming links bring the same value. Avoid posting links on link farms. Your back links should be coming from relevant websites that are similar to the theme of your own website. For instance, if you are promoting a credit card website, your incoming links should ideally be coming from other credit card related sites. The problem is, how do you get external sites to link back to you? There are several methods you can adopt.
Article marketing – post relevant articles to article directories. You may then include two or three links in the author resource box.
Guest blog posting – post a guest blog entry in a relevant blog. Of course, your blog post should be unique and contain valuable information.
Press releases – issue press releases about your website. For paid releases, you are usually allowed to add your own links.
Blog commenting – join in the discussion and leave comments on other people’s blogs. Remember, your intention is not to spam but to participate. That will increase your approval rates.
Social bookmarking – have something valuable to share? Bookmark your own blog entries and share them with others. These bookmarks count as incoming links as well.
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