What is Organic Search?
Google started off in 1998 as a simple search engine, just like many others at the time. A user would type in a search term and Google would search through a gigantic index of known web pages, trying to find the web pages that were most relevant to the search terms.
However, Google’s formula for finding relevant pages was simply heads and shoulders above that of other search engines. It did such a good job of finding relevant pages, Google very quickly became the most trusted source for internet searches.
These search results are what we now call “organic search results.” That simply means no one pays for them, and no company can buy the top listing. It’s purely Google’s determination of which sites are most relevant for any given search term, and thus what order in which they should appear. This is, in fact, the core of Google’s business.
If Google was ever to stop providing search results of peak relevance, searchers simply will go somewhere else to search. Google’s reputation for providing the best results is what keeps it at the top of the Internet search game.
Organic Search Advantages
- Visitors are free – Since these visitors cost you nothing, your ROI is very high
- More clicks – More searchers click the organic search result links than the PPC ads, so a No. 1 ranking in organic searches will bring you more targeted traffic than paying for No. 1 placement in PPC
- More trust – Most searchers trust Google; when they see Google considers your site the No. 1 authority for their search term, most will inherently trust you as well
- Less long-term financial investment – The initial investment in an organic search campaign depends greatly on the competitiveness in your industry; you won’t see immediate results, but with a little time and money each month, you can build your site up to attract loads of free targeted traffic
Organic Search Disadvantages
- Getting a strong ranking takes time – Improving your ranking is, well, an organic process: You might start seeing noticeable traffic increases within a few weeks to a few months, all depending on the competitiveness of your industry
- Requires greater investment in your website – You’ll need to commit more of your time to get good organic rankings, building up a site full of good, relevant content that is useful to your visitors and portrays your company as an authority on that topic
Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization also is commonly referred to simply as SEO. In its simplest terms, SEO is the process of ensuring your website shows up as high as possible in organic search results. Obviously, the more optimized your site is, the more likely targeted visitors are to find your site, and the more business you will receive.
Good SEO is just as important for local businesses as for regional and national businesses, quite possibly more so. An SEO professional can be a huge help in assisting a local/small business with improving the site’s relevance in search results and markedly improving business. Again, the beauty of organic search is that it’s completely free – the strength of your website does all the work for you.
The actual process of SEO can be a bit complicated, which is why professional assistance is strongly advised. In general, a well-optimized business website is chock full of excellent content that is highly relevant to the terms most visitors will be searching for. An SEO professional can help ensure the site uses keywords that are likely to show up in organic searches and fit Google’ formula for relevancy. There are several excellent methods for selecting and testing keywords to improve your organic search results.
Additionally, sites do better in search rankings when they boast a high number of links to and from other high-quality and high-traffic sites that boast strong content on related topics. This proves to Google’s ranking formula that your site is relevant and useful to potential visitors, thus improving your rank.
There are many other aspects to SEO, ranging from incredibly simple to extremely complex. But every business that has a website absolutely must follow the basic (and free) methods to ensuring an appearance in organic search results.