Maybe you’ve worked with a marketing agency in the past that made it seem like search engine optimization was all smoke and mirrors or that Google required you to sacrifice your firstborn for page clicks. That’s not how organic search works.
Organic search can be difficult to understand at first, but it’s quite intuitive once you learn the lingo marketers use. This post will cover how organic search works and how you can use it in your business.
What is Organic Search?
When we talk about organic farming, we’re talking about growing food without pesticides or artificial agents. When we talk about organic search, we’re talking about listings that appear on a search engine results page (SERP) without paid ads.
When content rises to the top of SERP rankings without paid ads, the content contains things the search algorithm deems valuable. The more content your website has that organically ranks high in SERPs, the more visible your website becomes overall.
While no one can say exactly what Google’s search algorithm is, we know there are certain steps you can take to optimize the content on your website. Focusing on search engine optimization can help your site show up in more organic searches over time.
Paid Search vs. Organic Search
So what’s the difference between organic and paid search? Well, other than the money you pay for paid search ads, it’s like the difference between a microwave and a crockpot.
A microwave can heat food really fast. Frozen meals and bags of popcorn go from inedible to piping hot in a matter of minutes, and then you’re ready to eat. A crockpot, however, takes time to set up. You have to buy separate ingredients and combine them in the crockpot. Then, you have to turn it on and set it to cook for hours. But when you’re done, you’re left with something more hearty and nutritious than the average microwave meal, and you can feed more people with it.
Paid search is like a microwave. It’s fast. You put your money down based on how many clicks your ad receives, and you see results for the duration of your ad campaign. Your links appear at the top of Google searches with the word “ad” in front of them. But once the campaign ends, those clicks are gone.
Organic search is like a crockpot. It takes time to create all the content you’ll need to rank in Google searches, but in the long run, it’s more affordable because your efforts continue to pay off long after you post it. Search-engine-optimized content lasts forever. But that’s not the only good thing about it.
Organic search click-through rates are almost 10 times higher than paid ads’ click-through rates. And users prefer organic content because it often contains phrases they were searching for, so they feel it helps them more than an ad would. It’s one of the many reasons why focusing on organic search creates SEO content marketing that works.
Benefits of Organic Search
There are more benefits of organic search than just click-through rates. Focusing on organic search in your marketing can help you build a good reputation with customers long before they make a purchase with you.
Organic search benefits include:
- Serves Your Audience. Creating content that answers commonly searched questions helps your audience understand what you do and shares your expertise with the world.
- Creates Long-Term, Compounding ROI. Because optimized content can rank high on SERPs for years, your company gets all the exposure without the cost of paying for ads.
- Improves Brand Perception. Sharing information and helping people searching for information helps potential customers trust your brand.
- Targets Organic Traffic. Organic traffic means that people looking for what you do will find your site. That means people already interested in purchasing a product or service are finding your content.
- Cost-Effective. Ads only work as long as you pay for them. Organic traffic costs nothing and can last for years.
- Competitive Edge. Focusing on creating content that ranks high on SERPs can help you outrank your competitors by pushing their content down the search results list.
How Organic Search Works
It’s easy to see how organic search can benefit your business, but it’s not always so easy to see how organic search works, especially since no one really knows Google’s exact algorithm. Luckily, you don’t need this information to take advantage of organic search. Here’s what to do instead.
Understand Your Audience
Do you know what your ideal customer is searching for online? Understanding your audience is crucial for creating content that resonates with them. Think about what your audience is searching for and how you can help them with their problems. This information will help you understand the best way to communicate with them. The better you know your audience, the easier it will be to create valuable content for them.
Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research is simply the process of finding out what people are already searching for online. But good keyword research looks into the keywords people search for without much competition. The more specific your keywords are, the more likely you are to rank for them in a Google search.
During the keyword research stage, it’s important to look for keywords that potential customers are already searching for so you can create an editorial calendar for all the content you’ll be creating. An editorial calendar is a schedule for what you’ll post and when you’ll post it.
Create Quality Content
Once you’ve done your keyword research, it’s time to create quality content. Google looks for some specific things in content before it bumps it up to the first page of search results. Understanding Google is where the acronym E-E-A-T comes in handy.
E-E-A-T stands for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Experience is the content creator’s first-hand or life experience related to the topic. Quality content shows your expertise because it gives valuable information with the necessary context to make sense. Authoritativeness means you have established yourself as an authority on this topic by creating a lot of content around it and showing up in other well-known spaces. And trustworthiness looks at how well-respected your site is. It’s why getting links from other well-respected sites matters – it shows you’re worthy of trust.
The more E-E-A-T Google believes your site to have, the higher you can rank on SERPs.
Rank on Search Engines
Your content must be relevant to rank high in a Google search. That means you are targeting a keyword in your content, and the content addresses the searcher’s intent for that content. You can’t use bait-and-switch tactics by targeting a keyword and writing about something completely different.
Creating relevant content increases your discoverability, a metric that measures how often a site appears in search for a specific audience. The higher your discoverability, the more likely you are to receive some clicks. The more discoverable your site is, the more authority it has. Authority, or domain authority, is a metric that measures how likely your site is to rank in a Google search. The higher your authority, the more likely you are to rank.
Using Organic Search for Your Business
Once you know what Google is looking for, you can use organic search for your business. Here are some tips to keep you on the right track when crafting your organic search strategy.
- Identify Your Ideal Customer. Knowing your audience helps you create content that appeals to them. You can’t know too much about your ideal customer.
- Use Organic Search SEO Best Practices. Conducting keyword research and creating optimized content are crucial components of every SEO strategy. Simple SEO solutions can do a lot to market your website.
- Make Sure Content Can be Indexed. Google crawls sites to look for new links to searches. If you’ve blocked search engines or your content can’t be properly indexed, you won’t be able to rank.
- Publish Content that Satisfies User Intent. Focus on creating content that targets keywords you’ve researched and addresses what searchers are doing when they’re looking for information about that keyword. Are they searching for information? Do they want to make a purchase? Your content should be written to fulfill those goals.
- Make Sure Your Site is Fast and Accessible. Most searchers are looking for information from their smartphones. If people can view your site on mobile devices or it takes forever to load, you will miss out on tons of search traffic.
- Promote Your Site. Share your posts in your newsletter and on social media. Don’t just rely on search. Do your part. It will help your posts get noticed.
Are You Ready to Grow with Organic Search?
Now that you know how organic search works, are you ready to make it a part of your marketing strategy? SEO content marketing can lead people to your website when they need your products or services. Contact Content Journey today to learn how we can work together to create an organic search strategy that will serve your business for years.