Augmenting Effortless SEO

October 2, 2012

Isn’t it ironic? Don’t you think? A little too . . .

I’ll stop. Alanis is my girl, and her timeless classic does hold some relevance here; but I don’t need to serenade you any longer. I think we’ll both agree on that. I would like to talk about irony, though – the good kind, I guess. The kind of irony that presents itself when a webmaster, who pays little attention to SEO, finds his or her website to be the destination of a healthy stream of non-branded organic search traffic. Don’t recoil with shock just yet. The majority of the time, this isn’t the case. However, as the proverbial they say, improbable events happen all the time.


Effortless SEO. Oh, the irony.


First, let’s explore how these websites make their mark in the SERPs – not in spite of SEO, but perhaps neglect.

It’s Like Rain on Your Wedding Day

Neglecting SEO. That’s a bold strategy, Cotton. And, most of the time, it’s a strategy (or non-strategy) that doesn’t pay off. Let’s look at some cases where it might work out (to some degree).

Authority in Niche

An authoritative niche website might attract hundreds of thousands of natural links from relevant niche blogs, news outlets, etc. If the website unknowingly employs a not quite satisfactory brand of on-page SEO, the aforementioned link equity can provide for competitive rankings for niche key phrases.

Heavy on Content

With the Panda update, Google paid homage to content-rich web properties. An old, authoritative domain that’s chock full of unique content is likely to bring in a fair amount of long tail traffic.

Superstar in Social

If you are what you say you are – a superstar – then have no fear . . .

Social shares – tweets, likes, pins, etc. – are the new currency of the importance side of search algorithms. They haven’t replaced links. We can’t yet claim causation for rankings improvement. However, studies have shown a clear positive correlation between social shares and SERP position. Thus, a website that has a massive social community that actively shares its content is geared for SERP success.

Okay. So your website brings in a substantial amount of non-branded organic traffic, and, til this point, you’ve essentially ignored anything and everything SEO. Now you know, though. You understand the importance of search engine visibility. You’re in love with the ROI. And you can’t get enough of that sweet, sweet organic traffic. Out of inspiration, you’ve even started to eat more organic meals. What to do? Keep riding the wave of negligence? Or take a proactive approach to SEO? That is the question.

Don’t Be Wistful While You Work

The answer, it turns out, is a pretty simple one. It boils down to this. Satisfactory is not good. And good is not great. If there’s room for improvement, and you have the knowledge and resources necessary to make those improvements, proactivity is the only option. The alternative – continuing to neglect SEO – might work out okay for the next few months, the next year, or even the next decade. However, you’ll go on never knowing how much more traffic, how many more sales, or how many more new partners SEO might’ve brought your business. Don’t wait for years to figure this stuff out. Do it now. The beauty of success predicated on ignorance is that you know there’s room for improvement, or more success!

Let’s look at one simple way you can augment your thus-far effortless SEO:

Identify On-Page Optimization Opportunities

An easy way to start the augmentation process is to identify on-page optimization opportunities for high volume keywords. We’ll assume that you have some tracking software installed (given that you’ve recognized an influx of organic search traffic). Dig into your analytics and find the top five to ten non-branded keywords that users queried with to reach your website in the past month.

Once you have them, do a little rank checking. This doesn’t have to be exacting, but you’ll want to get a general idea of where your website ranks (and what pages rank) for top keywords. Appending &pws=0 to your query URL in a logged-out browser should be sufficient for our purposes.

Now that you have rankings data, it’s time to figure out where there’s room for improvement. You’re already getting traffic from these keywords, and (unless you’re in the first position) there exist opportunities for even more traffic. At this juncture, you’ll want to analyze each page that’s ranking, making certain that the respective keyword is being utilized effectively in all of the high priority on-page elements. Title tag. Headers. Image alt text. Copy. You know the drill. Making simple revisions to these elements – especially something so important as the title tag – can pay dividends in the form of rankings and organic search traffic.

Remember to annotate your changes and monitor the SERPs for movement. If you’re using Google Analytics, you might also consider setting up custom alerts for non-branded organic traffic. An integral part of SEO is measuring the results of implementation. There’s no time better than the present to begin.

This is just the beginning, obviously. Addressing your website’s technical and architectural issues, along with other on-page issues, will provide for even more success in the search results. Think about it this way: Everything but SEO got your website as far as it is in terms of organic search traffic. Imagine what a little effort might do.