You can’t be around the SEO world for long without hearing the word ‘organic’ being bandied about. Lots of optimisation companies talk about their ‘organic methods’ and some tell you they’ll get you ‘organic results’. While this talk may seem like so much hot air, with companies using a flashy word to get attention, organic thinking is actually very important for search engine optimisation so it pays to make sure you understand what it means. One of the most important areas it should be applied to is link building.

What’s so important about being organic?

The term ‘organic’, when applied to SEO link building in particular, is generally a stand-in for ‘not paid for’. This is a good thing for websites because the search engines don’t like sites that blatantly try to manipulate the search results. They want to find naturally popular websites to rank, and so it’s important that your website looks natural rather than forced upon the search engines.

In the early days of SEO, it was easy to get ahead if you just bought the right links and paid for the right directories. The search engines soon got wise to this, though, and started hunting down anything that was obviously unnatural. Making connections with other site owners and boosting your site’s popularity naturally are favoured methods of modern SEO because the search engines don’t consider such actions manipulation.

An organic approach is even more important for links. While the search engines turn a bit of a blind eye to some manipulative activities, they have taken a stand on paid linking. This doesn’t mean that site owners or reputable SEO companies never pay for links, but it does mean that paid linking is a risky endeavour.

It’s not just about search engines

There are more reasons than just search engines to link build organically. The organic approach can also prove cheaper and more long-lasting than paid linking. It’s cheaper, because the investment is usually a bit of time and effort rather than outright payment. It’s also longer-lasting, because the links formed through social connections don’t have to be renewed every twelve months. Links drawn in via attractive content are particularly long-lasting.

How to link build organically

It’s one thing to know that organic links are valuable. It’s another thing actually getting them. The reason SEO companies still organise paid links for clients is because it’s so much swifter than building up links organically. That said, it can be done, and it can be done fairly easily. There are plenty of ways to do it. Patience and effort are the two main ingredients.

Here are some things to try:

  • Organise a guest blog with your favourite industry publication, blogger or rival company site
  • Hold a competition, offering your products or services as the prize. Advertise via your social networks
  • Approach industry organisations and professional associations
  • Make a donation to a charity or school, asking for a link in return
  • Arrange to appear at a conference, and post your link on your conference bio page.

…These are just five of many paths to take.

In most cases, your expertise, content and creative ideas stand in for payment in organic link building. This means it’s important to get the creative juices flowing when you’re link building. Set up some content assets before you start approaching people, and you’ll find the process will be a little easier.

Organic linking isn’t really that hard, and it’s something you can build on over time. Even if you’ve invested in some paid links, it pays to work your organic options.

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