What is Organic Search? Everything You Need to Know

Staff Writer
Last Updated
June 12, 2024
Table of Contents
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What is Organic Search?

Organic search is the unpaid search results that appear on the search engine results page (SERP). These results are ranked by search engines after undergoing thorough crawling and indexing processes that determine their relevance, authority, quality, and more, to deliver the most useful information by placing them higher on the list of results.

Organic search results shouldn’t be confused with paid search results which are websites that have secured top spots on the results pages after undergoing a bidding process. An easy way to differentiate the two is that paid search results are labeled with Ad or Sponsored before the link.

It’s also worth noting that there are a few different types of organic search results aside from the traditional blue text search results. Some examples include the following:

  • Featured Snippet: Featured snippets extract the most important and relevant information from a website and display it on a window at the top of the page, allowing users to quickly get the answers they’re looking for, especially for longer search queries.
  • Top Stories: The Top Stories feature compiles different stories from various news agencies, websites, and sources and presents this to users as an overview of relevant stories and news.
  • People Also Ask: The People Also Ask section gathers relevant questions related to the search query and provides answers in a quick little drop-down format. This feature is often found in the middle of the results page and allows users to further explore the keyword or keyphrase that they’ve searched.

Why is Organic Search Important?

Organic search is the focus of SEO, as securing a favorable spot on search engine results pages almost guarantees a website's long-term success and growth. Here’s why organic search is important:

Increases Brand Awareness

Users are much more likely to click and engage with the top results of a search. When your website has a high ranking on the SERP, it exposes your brand to users, creating a familiarity that may foster brand awareness and visibility.

Establishes Brand Authority

Search engines rank websites based on various factors, one of which is the quality, relevance, and accuracy of its content. A high-ranking website can establish your brand as a thought leader in a certain field or industry, portraying your website as a trustworthy source of information.

Offers Long-Term Growth and Success

When comparing it to paid searches, the biggest advantage of organic search is that organic search is always free. If you keep doing paid searches, it will be costly. For organic search, once you rank at the top, you'll basically get free relevant traffic all the time. This leads to better traffic, sales, lead gen, and more.

Improves User Experience

Organic search is important to user experience because it delivers the most relevant and high-quality results based on users' search queries. This relevance ensures that users find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently. 

Additionally, sites optimized for organic search tend to have better structure, faster load times, and mobile compatibility, all of which enhance user satisfaction and engagement. Overall, a strong organic search presence improves the overall browsing experience, making it easier and more enjoyable for users to find and interact with the content they need.

How to Improve Your Organic Search Ranking?

Improve Your Off-Page Through Backlinks

Backlinks are links that come from one website that bring users to another website when clicked, often in the form of hyperlinks scattered through a page’s content. Backlinks are crucial in ranking on results pages because search engine algorithms see these links as votes of confidence toward the reputability of your website, resulting in a better position on search engines.

Focus on Content Relevance

Organic search performance is all about content, but that doesn’t mean that any content will do. Google employs a wide range of techniques to determine the relevance of your content to a search query. Some examples include if your content serves the user search intent, if your content is optimized for the keywords and key phrases, and if your content covers the topic really well.

Regularly Update Your Content

Search engines rank results based on their relevance to the user’s query, so your content must be regularly updated and timely, especially for time-sensitive topics—some examples include recommendations and reviews. Since users will choose the results that are the most up-to-date, these results will rank higher and gain more visibility.

Create a Great User Experience

Another important factor to consider when wanting to get a better spot on results pages is the user experience that your webpage offers. Search engine algorithms consider a few different factors to assess whether or not a visitor was satisfied with his or her experience on your website, such as the amount of time spent on your website, how quickly your content loads, whether or not it's optimized for all devices, as well as the quality of the content.

Optimize for On-page

Aside from producing and publishing high-quality content, you can also employ some SEO techniques to optimize your page:

  • Title Tags: The title tag of your page should have around 50-60 characters, include a target keyword when possible, and be relevant to the content. It can also help to include keywords or keyphrases in the title, which will signal the page topic to search engines. Finally, make sure that the title communicates what users can expect from your article and that it matches the search intent.
  • Meta Description: Meta descriptions should be kept within 160 characters. It’s also best to write with an active voice and to include relevant keywords.
  • Content: Make sure to include keywords and keyphrases throughout your article, but only if you can naturally incorporate them. Also, make your content more digestible and easy to read by breaking it apart with headers, subheaders, bullet points, lists, and different forms of media, as this will enhance the reading experience of your users.

How to Check Organic Search Rankings?

There are many online tools that you can use to monitor your website’s organic search rankings:

  • Ahrefs Webmaster Tools: Among many other SEO applications, Ahrefs allows you to view a list of all the keywords your website ranks for in search results. After creating a free account, just go to Site Explorer and paste the link to your website. Then, click the Organic Keywords option at the side to find out more about your organic search performance.
  • Moz Keyword Explorer: Moz includes a wide range of SEO functionalities, including a rank checker that delivers comprehensive keyword metrics and insights instantly. Not only will Moz generate instant reports, but it’ll also allow you to find prospective keywords, check various search engines, analyze keyword difficulty and search volume, and much more.
  • Semrush Organic Research: Semrush allows you to learn more about the keywords that are driving your competitors’ performance so that you can strategize and stay ahead. You’ll also be able to figure out how much traffic each search query is bringing in so that you can make better-informed decisions in the future, while also constantly improving and optimizing your plans. 
  • Google Search Console: Google Search Console is another useful and free online tool from Google that provides data and insights regarding your website’s performance. It comes with different features that let you see the total number of clicks, the average click-through rate, and the impressions of your website, among other things. This tool can also warn you of any problems that may interfere with your search engine results page rankings.

The Takeaway

Organic search results are the websites that pop up in search engine results pages that haven’t been paid for or sponsored. By understanding the factors that search engine algorithms consider, as well as studying the data provided by online tools, you’ll be able to better optimize your website to improve your chances of scoring a higher ranking, leading to more online engagement and traffic.

And if this seems too complicated for you to handle on your own, the good news is that our skilled team of SEO professionals is here to help you maximize the potential of your website. With years of experience working with different businesses and the results to back it up, your website will be in the best hands! Reach out to learn more about our SEO services!

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