What is Organic SEO?
Organic Search Engine Optimization (Organic SEO) describes actions to improve search engine rankings without paying for ads.
In the search marketing industry, paid search refers to text ads placed through a service such as Google Ads, while organic search refers to unpaid results that appear on a search engine results page (SERP).
Here is an example of the first two organic search results for the query hypoallergenic jewelry:
Optimizing your site’s organic SEO may include:
- Keyword research to discover what your customers are searching for
- Create content to make the pages on your website answer those searches
- On-page optimization to ensure that the content on your site is structured in a way that people and search engines can understand
- Research competitors to understand what works for similar websites and plan how they will compete in the rankings
- Technical audits to detect and fix any problems with the site code that negatively affect the experience on the site
- Networking and link building to grow connections and backlinks that will lead more people to your site and improve your site authority
These are just a few examples of what you can do to improve your search engine rankings and naturally get your site in front of the right audience. What might work best for you depends on your target audience.
Let’s talk more about organic search optimization and how to use it to your advantage.
Why is organic SEO important?
Research shows that B2B sees about 64% of its traffic from organic search.
It makes sense to take advantage of what can earn your business more than half of its traffic. But there are other reasons as well:
Benefits of organic search engine optimization
Business doesn’t always go as planned. If you can’t invest more money in paid advertising, you can’t keep your place in the search results. With an organic search strategy, your website traffic can keep rising even without an advertising budget.
Inexpensive lead generation
Compared to the paid methods, organic SEO can be less expensive. You can improve your site yourself with free tools to cut costs. A blog post can rank first for the same terms advertisers pay hundreds of dollars per click. Then, you can use that traffic to get new leads.
Builds trust and brand awareness
When your content ranks first, it keeps your business in searchers’ minds. Organic search optimization can help your brand appear in rich results like map packs and featured snippets (also known as SERP features). Appearing in these can help establish yourself as an authority on popular topics in your niche.
See how other companies have grown with SEO. Check out these success stories.
How to improve your business for organic search
A holistic approach to SEO usually yields the best results. Making strategic efforts both on and off your site will give you a balanced approach. You can generally break your SEO into these three main categories:
- page out
- on the page
With the above in mind, here are some specific ways you can improve your search engine rankings:
Off page opportunities
Off-page SEO includes tactics like getting backlinks and external reviews.
Backlinks are links from one website to another. They are especially important to search engines because they mean that others trust your site enough to send people to it.
It is not enough just to post content on your blog. If you want to stand the best chance of gaining organic SEO traffic, you will need to network and build connections to get people to your site. Using social media and email to promote your content to followers is a good start, but go further.
There are sites (such as HARO and Qwoted) that connect experts with reporters in need of resources.
Often, journalists will go back to the source (backlink). Here’s how to get relevant backlinks using Qwoted:
After creating an account, you can take a look at the companies requesting a quote. Click on “Requests” and then on “Free Presentation”.
Qwoted pulls orders based on the categories you chose while setting up your account.
Once you find a suitable opportunity, click on the result and then on the “Open and View” button to provide an expert opinion.
Once the info is open, add a new source (yourself) and craft your offer. Keep your offer short and sweet.
If a reporter is interested in using you as a source, they will contact you on the platform.
Tactics on the page
On-page strategies focus on optimizing your site’s content for the keywords that people search for on Google.
But what are the keywords that can direct the right audience to your content? You can find out by searching for keywords.
There are some free Google tools to get you started. One way is to use Google’s autocomplete feature. You can see keywords related to general terms that apply to your business.
For example, let’s say you sell candles:
Google trends for keyword research
Take it a step further with Google Trends to see what more people are searching for.
First, search a query on the Google Trends homepage (we pick candles for men).
Then compare it to another term by clicking where it says “+ add comparison”. Note which ones have a higher historical search trend on average.
Based on this information, you can say that “candles for men” is a term that can attract customers with the right content.
Semrush for keyword research
It is best to confirm your search volume and interest data using a keyword research tool. If you don’t have one in mind, try the keyword overview tool.
Type in potential keywords to get a better estimate of how many people are searching for a particular term.
Then, you can see important estimates on search volume, ranking difficulty for a keyword, search intent, and more to help inform your organic search strategy.
Understanding of technical issues
Focusing on the technical aspects of your organic optimization strategy may include tasks such as improving site performance and user experience. Google judges your site based on factors like these.
However, how do you know that something is going on with your site? Especially if you are not a highly skilled developer, it can seem daunting to parse the backend of your site.
Auditing can help you quickly and easily detect any problems. You can use Site Audit to find up to 100 page issues per month on your site for free.
Start by creating a project with your website:
Continue through setup. Click the “Start Site Audit” button when you’re done:
Now you will be able to see if there are any issues on your site, big or small.
The site audit also provides tips on how to fix these issues. Technical issues can be difficult to fix even after they are discovered. In such cases, you may want to check out organic SEO services.
DIY Organic SEO vs. Hiring a Professional
You can always look into SEO services if you want to hand some tasks. SEO makes a constant effort to maintain, and hiring a professional can help.
Deciding to hire a professional will depend on your budget and your patience. SEO takes time, and doing it yourself (unless you’re already a pro) will likely come with a learning curve.
A digital marketing agency can make sure every base is covered and maintained if you don’t want to go the route of using organic research tools on your own time.
A good example is how an agency called Why SEO Serious improved organic mobile traffic for a small bakery by 460% (from 171 monthly visits to 785 visits in just 7 months).
In any case, getting organic traffic is meant to be part of your digital marketing strategy. It’s not your only plan. The agency can also help you determine the right strategy for other traffic channels, such as paid and social media.
Track your progress
Whether you do it yourself or commission, you’ll still need to track your natural growth over time.
Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics are two of the best ways to see how your site is performing.
Go to GSC’s performance section to see the overall trend of your organic growth.
You can see patterns more easily by comparing date ranges. Track either the work you did yourself or the SEO professional you hired.
How long does organic SEO take to work?
Google’s Maile Ohye estimates that your site should start ranking for keywords after 4 months when you hire an SEO specialist. But every site is different. There is no definite answer for how long it will take for your SEO efforts to show any kind of results.
The short answer: Don’t expect to earn the No. 1 spot overnight. SEO is a long game, but it will be worth it in the end.
Create your organic SEO strategy with a holistic approach in mind (on-page, off-page and technical) and track your growth to naturally attract new customers.