The One Thing Agriculture and SEO have in Common

Although farming has at first sight little to do with Search Engine Optimization, these fields of expertise have one thing in common…

…it is all about growth.

In agriculture, there are two parallel perceptions, or a clash of paradigms (P.T. Kidd, 2012) about how growth should be achieved. The conventional and the traditional methodology. I prefer to refer to these as industrialized versus natural. These same clashing concepts can be applied to the growth of website traffic.

Clash of Paradigms

My last two topics were about organic growth. One about the production of organic compost, the other about cultivating organic traffic. It is not a coincidence that I prefer the natural or traditional methods.

The reason is that none of the industrialized methods are sustainable. As soon as the input is removed, the entire system stops to work.

What will happen without Input in your system?

What happens when you stop buying traffic? Your carefully designed click funnels become worthless.
What happens with cropland after half a century of chemical fertilizers?
You end up with depleted soils were nothing grows.

But what happens when you stop feeding content?
Organic searches keep coming in on the existing content!
What happens when all natural cycles are established in a living soil? Plants keeps growing!

The organic growth systems keeps working because of the cyclic character of sustainable growth. The feedback mechanism that comes very close to a perpetual mobile. Once up and running, it needs little inputs to keep going.

The Organic Alternative

The wheel keeps spinning around and round with the slightest effort.

Compare that with a diesel powered truck. It may break through some walls, but once out of fuel it comes to a dead still.

Industrializing Organic Growth

These two extreme point of view may seem incompatible, but I’d like to think of the possibilities to industrialize organic growth. Using modern techniques, to scale up the natural process.


Kidd, Paul T. “The role of the internet of things in enabling sustainable agriculture in Europe.” International Journal of RF Technologies 3.1 (2012): 67-83.

The Art of Blogging: Learn my Organic Traffic Building Strategy

Writing a blogpost about blogging is as lame as trying to make money with the ‘writing about how to make money’ strategy. Too many people are doing it. Why would I even try to beat the competition?
You need a good reason, a clear goal to do so.

Now I have such an objective, it is an important motivating element, a reason for picking up blogging as a strategy to build organic traffic. It all starts making sense and it feels like pieces are coming together.

Before I tell you more about that, let’s have a quick look at the writing about-what-you-are-doing topics.

  • Tweeting about twitter
  • Linkedin as a marketing tool for Linkedin marketers
  • Facebook adds about Facebook advertising
  • Writing about being a writer
  • Running to be in time for a running competition
  • Making a movie about making a movie

A bit dull It is. Making a B-movie. Lack off inspiration. Too easy perhaps. So why do I write this topic about blogging?

Because I know it generates organic traffic. Not only is it free -more important- it is sustainable over time.

Paid traffic is unstable in quality and costs money.

I am not suggesting that generating organic traffic goes without any effort, but I’ve done it before, so I know I can do it again.

I did it. Succeeded… and Failed. In that exact order.

Now that is interesting.

I guess.

I hope.

Wait… let me rephrase, better no guessing here.

I will know for sure if this article contains topics you are looking for.

There is one difference with my previous large search engine optimization (SEO) projects. Now it matters. When I first started experimenting with online publishing it was out or curiosity and the earning model was simple.

Business model for statistic based SEO

  • provide great content
  • get organic search traffic
  • publish relevant advertisements
  • analyze statistics
  • optimize content

I implemented a continuous improvement cycle before I even knew that term existed.

Did you know that I never ever optimized an article for a single keyword? I publish for humans, not for bots. Robots are programmed, and can start to behave different overnight. Human behavior does not change that fast. Slow but inevitable changes, such as browser- and device preferences, are manageable and easily spotted in your website statistics.

looks like a cool dashboard

The only thing I optimize are the topics. SEO at site level, not at article level. I write about things people are looking for. It is that simple. Does that always work? No, because when you have no clue what people are looking for, and write stuff nobody cares about, you will not get traffic and not learn about what people want to find or learn, or what problems they might have.

I tried getting access to the T1 market (USA, Canada, UK, Australia) by scaling up my little proven business model by setting up international sites about personal finance. I failed at that. I simple did not live in any of these countries and do not understand the small details of daily life that make content highly relevant for locals. Even using local copywriters did not help, because I was not able to define the topics detailed enough to generate valuable long tail search traffic.


Also, the usage of a new top level domain did not help to index my content. The sandbox effect threw in another six month or more delay so I had to pull the plug out of my global empire of personal finance websites. I hardly generated any valuable organic search traffic.

Why is organic search traffic so valuable? Because when someone hits a page of your site because it contains a certain keyword, for example ‘umbrella’ you will see in your stats that a search was executed from a unique IP address for the phrase: “Were to buy a red umbrella?”. When you have hundreds of people looking for umbrellas, you can learn what kind of umbrellas they are looking for. It can be a more popular color, a shape or a certain style. You may even discover a niche market for children umbrellas.

This is how you get ideas for new content. You can create a sub-page about children umbrellas. In some cases, you may find that the page about children umbrellas get more hits than the ‘mother’ page. Based on that intelligence you could decide to create more content for children. Write about children’s clothing, children cutlery, children’s furniture etc. The more specific your topic, the higher your return per thousand visitors (RPM). In my opinion it becomes more interesting when you have your own product to sell.

I have something to sell.

I am not selling children umbrellas, or a course about blogging, it is something totally unrelated with that, but now I have a reason to pick up blogging with a purpose. It also improves my writing skills or at least that is my perception. One can always do better.

My product is relevant for small and medium size business that have a long term vision. Do you know someone who runs such an organization, or are you that person? Than subscribe to the updates of this blog. I will tell you more about my thing in the coming blogposts.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. Now you will find a surprise under your chair. Don’t look. Serious.

It is about time to write towards the ending of this writing exercise. Unconsciously I threw in some keywords here and there, those are relevant for my product, but that is just because it is top of mind stuff. I relate everything with it. I hope I surprised you, made you smile or in any way made these 828 (and counting) words worth reading.

Please do not share this article. Obviously I only want organic search traffic. Do not copy-paste the permalink into your favorite social media.

The Art of Blogging: Learn my Organic Traffic Building Strategy

Don’t bookmark it. And I especially ask you not to reply, because this is not a test about user generated content, that is a whole other story.

Have a great day.


[VIDEO] How to make Organic Substrate – Organicos el Cerro Negro

For my internship with CIRAD, I have the pleasure and honour to work with a group of organic farmers “Organicos el Cerro Negro”. During one of my visits, one of the associated organic farmers, Mainor Barrantes explained how to make organic substrate. He grows his own seedlings to sustainable produce organic vegetables on a mountain ridge nearby Nicoya, Costa Rica.

Organic Hillside Farming

Nicoya is in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica, characterized by severe droughts. To be able to produce all year round, these farmers harvest water in the rainy season. To learn more about the water management in Guanacaste, visit the Futuragua project site.

How to make Organic Substrate? [10 min]

The video is in Spanish, but you can click on [CC] for English subtitles if they are not showing automatically. Below follows the full transcript of the video. You can also watch it here directly on YouTube.

Organic Nursery

Rivercrossing Nosara-Samara - No crossing Today!

Monkey Costa Rica

Transcript of the video: How to make Organic Substrate?

We take it from the mountain to do a nursery and compost.
We take this huge sack from back there
that he's carrying to there to do the compost.
To do compost with mountain's microorganisms
First we make a layer, like a hamburger
made of mountain's microorganisms.
And then we add nitrogen to the compost
and csrbon.
Nitrogen comes from green grass, or Guasimo leaves
or Mucuna.
The carbon can be made from rice husks
also chicken manure and cow manure.
So we take it and shake it
to separate the fine soil.
This is precious, the idea is to use it every year
to cover...
the soil with a new layer.
I enjoy doing this because I learned it
 00:01:27,920 --> 00:01:29,920
 and it was a dream come truth.
 00:01:31,000 --> 00:01:33,490
 In October, God revealed it to me
Then I went to learn it in some place near Zarcero
it's a farm called
I spent a week of training with my sister and cousin
and thank God I learned it and put it into practice.
It has been an excellent change for me
because we're taking care of the new environment and nature
and we're taking care of the oxygen
everything that's part of the environmental protection.
...they used this.
Now I'm finishing it so I get the finest soil
then the thicker soil which has microorganisms is used on the compost.
I'm in love of organic farming.
The finest soil is falling down, as we finish it.
Here I have a good portion for the nursery.
This is for the new nursery
I take out the thicker soil.
you can use up to 33 ounces, this is a root starter
it's called peat turf, it's a root starter.
It's like a stimulant for plant growing, and plant blooming.
It's like a sort of mud.
You can smell it.
I mix it up here in order to get more microorganisms.
It's also soil healing
It's also soil enriching.
This is for helping them
to expand.
If the plant has a million soldiers...
a million soldiers...
it won't have any plague bothering them.
This is like mixing flour for baking bread.
I'm doing all this with love.
Because I know that...
what I produce here is healthy, and I'll bring those products to the consumer
which are healthy, nutritious and high quality.
...healthy and organically, because we have to enrich soil.
because older generations farmed naturally.
They didn't use chemical products, and they didn't have to do it like I'm doing it now
we're doing it this way now because, first of all, God allowed me to have this dream
and make the change, because we used to work conventionally.
And thank God I had that dream and I was able to make the change
and fell in love of this beautiful organic farming.
And the wonderful thing about this is... What was what I was about to tell you?
What I was going to tell?
You're recording right?
Organic farming to me is...
food safety.
It's the only one.
I know no other, this is the food safety.
Then we're going to move... we're going to fill up this little tray
with this wonderful mountain compost I prepared.
My good friend is...
learning a little bit about us.
He's recording this video
to show it to his friends.
This is wonderful.
We're doing this in order to fill the tray better.
...and Arugula.
Arugula is a leaf which is largely consumed abroad.
Thank God we've met...
in my opinion, a really stable market.
We earn our profits from there to feed our families.
We sell fruit products like oranges
Persian lime, mandarin orange, beans
Ayote, Ayora Sazon, pipian, zucchini
cucumber that we also produce here, lots of crops.
...five lettuce varieties, arugula, patchouli, dill, celery, parsley
and another crops that we're going to try this year, like carrot, beet, potato
strawberries, we could experiment on that.
also onion.
I thank God for giving us the strength
and for having the endeavor and courage each day
and keep learning about organic farming because you're always learning
about this wonderful farming.
I always put around five little seeds to make the nursery
then I do this to before moving into the tray
and then it blooms and you can take it to the field.
Let's see the result

A small favor

Water Harvest in GuanacasteDid you like this video? Please share it on your social networks and help promote healthy food production methods. Share this kind of knowledge that has been forgotten due to the far going industrialization of agriculture. In the last two generations many productive land has been exhausted due to intensive use of chemical fertilizers. Organic matter is whats needed to provide soil structure and long term nutrient availability.

Apart from the Health- and Environmental aspects, there is one more argument I would like to put emphasis on regarding the promotion of organic food. It just tastes better because of the natural ripening of the fruits and vegetables. Once you know the difference, you will not want inflated food anymore.