What is Organic Search and How Does It Affect Your Business?
Organic search results are the links that appear below the ads on Google’s search results pages. They present valuable opportunities for businesses because they can help audiences discover your products and services without spending money on paid advertising.
While the definition of organic search is relatively straightforward, it’s another thing to learn how to implement organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices that can reward you with quality website traffic and leads.
Read on to learn what organic search is, some common types of organic search results, and some tips for optimizing your own website content so it can climb those search engine rankings (organically, of course).
What is organic search?
Organic search refers to results displayed by a search engine due to their apparent relevance to the search term. Unlike ad boxes above or to the right of them, organic search results are not paid search results.1 In other words, you can’t pay to place your organic search results on page 1 of Google. The search engine’s algorithm decided they earned a spot based on merit alone.
Figuring out what factors search engine algorithms reward is an ever-evolving process as changes are made over time., they reward websites with the information they deem most relevant to a user’s search query.
Mysterious as those algorithms might feel at times, there are proven strategies you can employ to boost the traffic of your own website—and we’ll get to those soon.
First, let’s establish how taking the time to capitalize on organic search traffic can benefit your business.
How does organic search affect your business?
Capturing referrals to your website from organic searches is especially appealing for businesses because it’s traffic you don’t have to pay for.
Don’t get us wrong, there’s plenty of value in pay-per-click. But sending a quality piece of content off into the search engines and watching it soar to page 1 for no cost except for what it took to create it? That’s pretty satisfying.
Organic search traffic isn’t just beneficial because it’s free. Its value also comes from its ability to convert higher than many other forms of marketing traffic. In fact, one report on average conversion rate in 2021 reported that B2C organic search traffic converted higher than any other marketing traffic.2
Website conversions like form completions or chat engagements are the nutrients that fuel your sales funnel. Simply put, more organic traffic means more conversions that lead to more sales.
Types of organic search results
These days, “organic search” actually exists in several different formats—it’s no longer confined solely to those quintessential blue, underlined links below the search bar.
A masterful organic search or organic SEO strategy should aim to garner not just one, but several kinds of organic search results. They exist to be helpful to users, and landing in those spots makes your brand that much more visible to potential customers.
Types of organic search results include:
Featured snippets have prime real estate on Google. They appear in a box at the top of the search engine result page and feature a piece of content that appears to answer the question a user is asking. That content could include:
- YouTube videos
- Tables from an article
- Snippets of text from a certain article or page
When a user clicks on the link to the content, Google will shoot them directly to that portion of the web page, as long as their browser is compatible.3
You can capitalize on featured snippets by anticipating questions your potential customers commonly have about your products, services or industry. Then, create quality content that answers those questions and makes strategic use of SEO organic keywords. Google will have the final say in what gets the coveted featured snippet box, but these efforts will certainly persuade in the right direction.
Some information just comes across better in film-form. As if videos weren’t already ubiquitous, younger audiences are increasingly using video-based platforms like TikTok and YouTube as their primary search engine, and Google is taking note.4 For that reason, video search results will likely gain increasingly more prominence in organic search results in years to come.
Google tends to rank YouTube videos, including YouTube Shorts, highly, so if your brand manages a YouTube channel, you’ll definitely want to optimize your uploaded videos to take full advantage of website traffic opportunities that can come from organic searches.
Similar to video carousels, image carousels simply display photos that appear relevant to a search query. To help your visual content appear in these image carousel positions, be sure to tag every image on your website with alt and title tags.
Top stories is a space just below the search bar that features recently-published information about a subject, primarily from news sources.
Top stories typically come from:
- News outlets
- Media sources
- Other PR sources
People also ask
Do not underestimate the power and potential for Google’s “people also ask” section. Not only is this section helpful for users to find the exact answer they’re looking for; it’s also an invaluable tool for gaining SEO insights.
If you type a question in your Google search bar, the people also ask box will show you questions that other users have searched that are related to your topic. The rankings work similarly as a featured snippet: if Google finds your content valuable and relevant, it will pull your snippets or pages into these results.
How to Grow Your Organic Search Traffic
Some aspects of Google’s and other search engines’ algorithms are a bit of a mystery for proprietary reasons, and others are subject to change, but there are a number of SEO strategies that are proven to be effective in climbing those search engine results pages (SERPs).
What is SERP? Click on the link to learn more about the importance of ranking highly on SERPs.
Here are a few practices you can adopt to grow your business’s organic search traffic.
Create relevant content
The key word when it comes to ranking highly in organic search results is relevance. The search engine’s goal is to help the user find the information they’re looking for, so it’s going to reward content that offers that.
As you plan your brand’s content strategy, make sure landing pages, blog posts and other materials incorporate SEO keywords that apply to the subject. But don’t overdo it and delve into spammy territory. Make your content just as readable as it is SEO-friendly.
To create relevant content, focus on these factors:
- User intention: What do you believe the user wants to know?
- User knowledge: What does your target know, and what don’t they know?
- User language: How will your target audience pose this question?
- User need: What problem is your target audience trying to solve?
Another piece of advice: don’t try to position yourself as an authority in areas outside your brand’s expertise solely for SEO. If users visit your website and are disappointed with what they find and quickly leave your website, it could cause an adverse effect on your rank—and your credibility.
Not sure where to start? Consider working with a content marketing agency to roll out an effective SEO content plan.
Add FAQ sections to content
An easy way to increase the odds of climbing those SERP ranks is to capture common SEO questions in a “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) section. Here, you can appeal to related search queries in one spot with brief, relevant and informative answers. This format also makes it easier for Google bots to find and index your content.
Keep content fresh
Another aspect that search engine algorithms reward: current content. Have a set schedule for publishing new content as well as optimizing existing articles with the latest information.
Optimize, optimize, optimize
Search engines tend to reward websites that appear to be relevant and usable. The work of managing a website is, of course, never done. Use tools like Google Search Console and enact the advice given to tune up your website’s performance.
Ask questions like:
- How are my page loading speeds?
- Is my website usable on mobile devices?
- How secure is my website’s platform? Does it adequately protect users’ data? (URLs beginning with “https” as opposed to “http” are actually favorable in the SERPs.)
In the content itself, beyond keywords, take time to optimize the seemingly smaller details, like metadata. Two crucial components of metadata include:
- Title (how your page title appears in an organic search result headline)
- Meta descriptions (how the description under your title appears in a search result)5
Invest in your brand’s SEO success with Power Digital
If you’re new to the world of SEO and content marketing, you don’t have to navigate it alone. Partnering with an SEO team that knows the in and outs of SEO trends and best practices can save you valuable time and resources.
That’s where hiring a digital marketing agency or an SEO company comes in. At Power Digital, we strive to be the SEO and content marketing agency behind your SEO success while feeling as tight-knit as an in-house team. Your success is our success. And we can’t wait to help elevate your brand to its fullest potential with the power of organic search.
- Google. Organic Search Result. https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/6054492?hl=en
- First Page Sage. Conversion Rate by Traffic Source. https://firstpagesage.com/seo-blog/conversion-rate-by-traffic-source/
- Google Search Central. Featured snippets and your website. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/appearance/featured-snippets
- The New York Times. For Gen Z, TikTok Is the New Search Engine. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/technology/gen-z-tiktok-search-engine.html
- Michigan Tech University. Five Ways to Improve your Site’s Ranking (SEO) https://www.mtu.edu/umc/services/websites/seo/