25 Oct The Advantages of Organic Search
We’re all familiar with the concept of organic food. Depending upon one’s inclination, you may be familiar with it only by definition rather than incorporating it into your diet. Whatever your personal opinion, however, organic foods are considered overall better for you than their counterparts, fertilized with chemicals and sprayed with pesticides. And so it also is with organic search results. Only instead of being more beneficial for your physical health, having your website found through organic search is ultimately better for your website’s ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs) – which, in turn, is better for your business!
What is Organic Search?
Organic search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of ranking higher on the SERPs naturally. As Zack Kadish writes for Search Engine Journal, “Organic search is one of the most effective channels to gain traffic or conversions because it’s free – relative to paid search, where you have to pay for your placement and clicks – and users understand that you are relevant for what they typed in.”
Now That You Mention It, What is Paid Search?
As our blog post – “The Power of Pay-Per-Click” – explains, PPC is a type of internet marketing that involves advertisers paying a fixed price each time one of their ads is clicked. You only pay if your ad is actually clicked on. It’s basically a method of buying visits to your site, in addition to driving website visits organically through social media and other means.
PPC ads are typically placed on search engines, such as Google or Bing. Advertisers bid for a keyword to secure an ad placement on search engine results pages (SERPs), so when a searcher enters a specific keyword that’s relevant to your business, your ads will show up. Google Ads is the most popular PPC platform. Microsoft Advertising handles ads for Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo.
While paid search has certain advantages, it has one major drawback. As soon as the PPC campaign ends, so does the traffic. Any residual results come from those who visited because of the PPC campaign, found something they liked on your website, then returned to make a decision on a product or service, or to make a purchase.
A blog post by Walker Sands brings up another disadvantage of depending on PPC to drive traffic to your website. “At this stage of the game, most Internet users know the score – companies that take an exclusively paid approach to site traffic are often behind the market in presence and credibility.” In other words, a tactic that’s more effectively used as a jump-start can backfire if you don’t work to establish your business as being truly competitive in the marketplace through its website. PPC is intended to work in tandem with organic SEO, not replace it.
Components of Organic Search
As Kadish writes, organic search consists of three main categories: relevancy, discoverability and authority.
- Relevancy: The relevance of a page’s theme and content related to specific keywords.
- Discoverability: The ability for a site to be found and indexed by search engines.
- Authority: The page’s authority within search engines.
Relevancy – People – that is, your potential customers – search online for products and services using keywords that will pull up the most relevant results that best match user intent. Unlike days of yore, today’s keywords are actually search phrases – for example, “wedding flower arrangements.” If you own a floral shop, this would be a good phrase to use in your website’s copy describing this service. People entering this “long tail keyword” would be presented with your shop’s website high in the SERPs.
To do so consistently, Kadish recommends creating content that matches the voice of the consumer. “Keyword research is the bread and butter of creating content. It’s the very first step to take when considering creating a landing page. If you aren’t matching your content to the customer’s voice, then no one will find it. By doing keyword research, you can ensure that your high-quality content uses phrases that customers actually search for … Otherwise, since the SERP is so competitive, you might be bringing in unqualified traffic or will never have the chance to rank.”
Discoverability – SEO is key in getting search engines to discover and index your web pages in order to put them in front of those conducting online searches. However, other factors enter into the equation, including those that you may not consider to be SEO – such as page and site loading speeds. Our blog post – “Why Your Website Needs to be Up-to-Speed” – covers this issue in detail.
As Kadish explains, “From a high level, Google or any other search engine crawler finds your content by crawling all the links on your website and following all the links that are accessible. Next, search engines start to analyze these links to see what the content is on the page and store this in the search index. Finally, when a user searches for something on the search engine, it serves this content to the user and ranks the most relevant landing pages by what the algorithm feels will provide the best answer. This is important because if you make it hard for Google to find your content, or if you are creating content that loads really slowly, then Google will not want to surface this content to users.”
Authority – According to WhatIs.com, page authority, in SEO, is the value a search engine assigns a web page. The higher the value, the more likely the search engine will return a web page early in organic search results.
For all three components to work together, you need three departments – or at least three experts at one digital marketing agency – to work together. Yes, we are getting ahead of our blatant self-promotion, but now is the time to make this important point. To successfully do organic SEO, your business needs a content writer, an SEO specialist and a web developer pooling their talents to give your website every possible competitive edge.
Finally, have a way to monitor and measure your results. Again, a digital marketing agency will do this for you as part of the services it provides.
Ramping up your website’s organic SEO game is a long-term strategy that will pay off with healthier search traffic and ultimately more business. However, on the other hand, don’t assume you should drop PPC campaigns. They still serve a purpose. As Walker Sands observes, “Internet users are non-homogenous. Some prefer to access sites through search engines; others routinely click paid ads. That makes it important for business sites to take a combined approach that integrates both organic search traffic and paid advertising into a coherent online strategy.”
The Take-Home Message and Our Blatant Self-Promotion
We hope you’ve learned that SEO isn’t a DIY job – it’s an ongoing effort that requires the teamwork of experienced specialists working together for a common goal – the success of your business! Our experienced Virtual Stacks Systems team offers website design and redesign, SEO services, social media marketing, email marketing, PPC advertising, review management services and much more! Contact us to get started.