Organic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) gets your brand greater online visibility which translates into more traffic actively searching for what you have. Your sales increase without increasing your ad budget. So how can you reap all the benefits of organic SEO content marketing — benefits like greater brand awareness, being seen as a trusted authority, and an increase in organic search traffic and sales? By the end of this easy-to-read article, you’ll understand how organic SEO works, including answers to questions like:
- What is organic SEO?
- Why is organic SEO important?
- What’s the difference between organic and paid SEO?
We’ll also look at organic SEO techniques and organic SEO marketing and give you examples.
Creating SEO content requires a lot of knowledge and expertise. Get help with your SEO through our organic SEO services.
What Is Organic SEO?
Techopedia defines organic SEO as, “Organic search engine optimization refers to the methods used to obtain a high placement (or ranking) on a search engine results page in unpaid, algorithm-driven results.”
An organic search ranking is the list of descriptions and links that appear on a search engine results page (SERP) below paid ads after you've entered a search term or query.
Google’s page one results get 92% of the clicks. This tells us that Google does an excellent job of presenting users with the information they are searching for AND that you need to be on page one to make content marketing work because that's where the traffic is — not on page two or three where there are very few people looking.
It takes effort to create the unique content that search engine algorithms demand, and it takes time for it to climb the ranks to page one. But once you have that page one rank, you’ve got a free source of highly targeted traffic that lasts a long time.
A practical understanding of organic SEO encompasses the online strategies to get free traffic on search engines like Google. There are five main parts to a successful organic SEO strategy:
- Relevant Keywords
- Quality Content
- Link Building
- Website optimization
Let’s take a quick look at each of these five critical SEO components.
Keyword Use and Research
People have built online content around keywords since the introduction of the search bar. Keywords are the words users type into search or speak using voice search to find the information they need.
It’s crucial to select your target keyword before content creation because SEO writers use keywords to create all successful SEO content. You need to use your primary keywords in specific locations in your content.
The primary keyword phrase for this article is, “What is organic SEO?” Notice that this keyword phrase appears in the title, subtitles, text, and the sample metadata provided in the section on metadata below.
Paid keyword planners like Ahrefs and SEMrush are beneficial when doing keyword research. They give you volumes of information about keywords and tell you how many people are using them and how difficult it may be to rank.
Keyword planners also give you associated keywords. Using these gives you the basic vocabulary for your written content and boosts SEO.
The Google Keyword Planner is free for Google ad account holders. It lacks much information available in paid keyword planners, but it is an excellent place to get started. Typing the keyword phrase, "What is organic SEO?" into the planner yields 31 similar keywords. You could use one of them for your primary keyword or use several as secondary keywords in an attempt to rank for them too.
Here is a more in-depth discussion of search engine marketing tools.
Many companies target short, high-volume search terms. These terms have a high keyword difficulty and can be hard to rank for. To rank faster on major search engines, target long-tail keywords. These keywords have a lower search volume and less competition. However, by ranking for these pages, you increase your domain authority and get a better chance of ranking for more difficult key terms.
You've chosen your target keywords, the next step is to focus on organic ranking through high-quality content.
Unique content is the most critical part of SEO because it’s the most heavily weighted factor in search engine algorithms. Written content is the king of organic content, followed by videos and infographics.
Creating content for SEO is the most significant thing you can do for your organic traffic. When search engines consider your content as relevant, you increase the chances of ranking for various search terms.
On-Page Content Optimization
There are lots of things you can do for content optimization. Your target audience and search engines prefer helpful, long-form blog posts. Perform keyword research and analyze the search intent of your query. You can various SEO Tools, such as Ahrefs and SEMRush, to analyze what type of content is most effective for your audience.
- Long-form authoritative articles
- How-to posts
- Product comparisons
Many SEO writers fall into the trap of limiting their research to the first page of search results. They end up with vanilla content that may rank but doesn’t stand out because it’s the same information the competition has.
For your content to be exemplary and get that flood of traffic, you need to include all your competitors’ information plus original research they don’t have. You can dig deeper, do surveys, test products or be creative to gain new information.
Videos are increasing in popularity. Google owns YouTube, so it often displays YouTube videos at the top of organic search results. You’ll need a written SEO description containing your keywords to get your video shown in SERPs because search engines cannot watch videos.
Infographics allow you to display information on a single screen that would take hundreds or even thousands of words to write. Wrapping your infographic in a brief SEO description and summary tells search engines who to display it to.
Links: External and Internal
Links are the second most heavily weighted factor in search engine algorithms. There are two types of links you can place on your site.
- External Links: These links, also known as outbound links, are links to other sites. When creating SEO content, you should only use external links from high-authority sites. This makes your content more credible and gives it more authority.
- Internal Links: Internal links are links on the same website. You may have a link from your homepage to a blog post or a blog post to a landing page. Make sure your internal links are relevant to the content it's referring to and it can improve SEO.
- Backlinks: Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are links from other websites to yours. These links can generate a huge boost in SEO and potential traffic to your website. The higher the domain authority is on the website, the larger of an impact the link will have on your site. Keep in mind there are two types of backlinks, nofollow backlinks, and dofollow backlinks
<div class="tip">No matter what type of link you create, it's important to use the right anchor text. Use your target keyword or some variant of it when linking to a page you want to rank.</div>
When building an internal link structure, many site owners link new content pages to old content pages but forget to go back through their old content and build links to their new pages. This presents an opportunity for your site to outperform its competition.
The page titles and descriptions you see on a search engine results page are meta titles and meta descriptions. You can write your metadata, but Google has recently taken control of writing it for 60-70% of descriptions by pulling information from the page contents.
Writing metadata is easier when you use a WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO that shows you how the text will display as you write. You have 60 characters for the meta title and 160 for the meta description. If you go over, Google will truncate your metadata.
Metadata for search engines is crucial because this is how users find your content and decide if it contains the information they are searching for. Your meta title should include your primary keyword as close as possible to the front and be enticing.
The meta description also needs the primary keyword and has space for one or two variations. Try to answer a question or present benefits.
Website optimization is all about making your site easy for users and Google to find the information they’re searching for quickly. Start your optimization process with a website audit so you’ll have a good idea about changes your site needs. These three tools will get you started.
- Screaming Frog pinpoints errors that harm your search engine ranking like missing titles, duplications, bad links, and more that you need to fix.
- Google Search Console gives you monthly reports about critical factors like site speed, server errors, hacking, and far more.
- Google Analytics helps you find your target market and track their online behavior. You’ll know where people are dropping out of your sales process. Then you can improve those pages.
Increasing Page Speed
Site load time is critical. No one will wait for a slow site to load when they can easily click away to a faster competitor. Here are four tips you can use to provide a better user experience:
- Have dedicated website hosting, which means your site is the only one on the server. Shared hosting is slightly cheaper but is slower, and you don’t have control over many important factors. You can also boost load time by using a lightweight theme and a caching plugin like WP Rocket.
- Design your content to display well on mobile devices. What looks good on a desktop screen often looks very different on a small screen.
- Create content hubs that become a resource center for your niche. Pillar content that gives a broad overview of a subject forms the hub with supporting articles forming the hub’s spokes go into depth. Content hubs work well to climb SERPs to page one for multiple related keywords. Be sure to interlink your content pages.
- Use an HTML sitemap to guide your lost users, an XML sitemap to guide search engines, and schema markup to help search engines quickly get the information they need to display your page high on SERPs.
These technical terms sound confusing, but they are easy to implement using a WordPress plugin or online generator.
Website optimization is an ongoing process. You can always hire a professional service if you feel overwhelmed or are short on time.
Why Is Organic SEO Important?
Buyers today are exceptionally well informed. Google research tells us that the average buyer performs 70% or more of their prepurchase investigation online before contacting a brand. Before entering a sales process, many customers have decided what they want to purchase and whom to purchase from.
So, how do people online find the in-depth information they need to feel confident enough to make major purchasing decisions?
Statista reports that 92.47% of searchers use Google. And Google is built around organic search — free information in the form of organic content. 75% of those searchers find what they want on the first page of search results.
If you’re not on page one, you’re missing out on all that free traffic.
Here are three more compelling statistics.
- Organic traffic gets over 40% of revenue.
- 16% of organic traffic hitting a landing page converts into leads who fill out a form. This is the average across all industries.
- The close rate for search traffic is eight times higher than what traditional marketing produces.
You can see good organic search examples by looking at the results for the keyword phrase, "Why is organic search important?"
Organic vs. Paid SEO
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a broad term that covers both organic SEO and paid SEO, which people often term SEO versus PPC (Pay-per-click). If you’ve read this far, you have a pretty good understanding of organic SEO, but what is PPC paid SEO?
Paid SEO is the keyword-focused ads you see at the top of search results above the organic listings. These ads look like organic listings but have “Ad” next to the URL. Google determines the ad cost by bidding. Price-per-click fees range from under a dollar to over $50.
The advantage of paid SEO is that you immediately get targeted traffic hitting your landing page. You don’t have to create content, build authority, and wait for the content to rank.
The disadvantage is that you have to keep paying for the ads.
A strategy often used by marketers who haven’t yet developed sufficient organic SEO traffic is to use PPC ads while creating content and waiting for it to climb the ranks to page one.
Getting SEO done right demands an investment in time and money but pays off big with lasting benefits. You get free, highly targeted traffic, gain trust, and become seen as an authority.