Research suggests that the average US adult spends approximately seven hours per day online. That’s where your customers are, so that’s where you need to be marketing. But unlike the advertisements and commercials that characterized marketing throughout the 20th century, digital marketing relies heavily on customers making the first move. In essence, your audience needs to come to you.
This focus on inbound strategy is at the heart of modern search engine optimization (SEO). Before you can expect customers to start pounding on your (virtual) door, you have to make sure that they can find your site. Unfortunately, obtaining high search rankings while meeting customer needs and without violating Google’s guidelines can be a difficult task.
Here, we discuss organic SEO: the benefits it brings to the table, how it’s different from paid search, and how you can improve your organic SEO strategy. But first, let’s define what organic SEO actually means.
What Is Organic SEO?
Organic SEO is a strategic approach websites may use to naturally (organically) obtain high rankings and other prominent placement — such as in the featured snippets and people also ask sections — in search engine results pages (SERPs). By combining high-quality content with proven, data-backed optimization practices, businesses of all kinds can achieve improved results at a significantly lower cost when compared to paid SEO strategies.
At its most basic, organic SEO is about creating web content and optimizing it so that it has the best possible chance of ranking well on the SERP.
What Is Organic SEO vs. Paid Search?
Before we get too deep into the specifics of what organic SEO is and does, let’s take a minute to look at what it is not. SEO is not part of a paid search function; it doesn’t depend on online advertisements and it isn’t used to improve paid rankings.
Paid search, including search engine marketing (SEM), pay-per-click (PPC), sponsored listings, and more, involves paying a fee to have your content or advertisements featured in some way online that improves their visibility. In most cases, increasing paid-search budgets results in increased clicks. But as soon as you stop paying for those clicks they go away.
With organic SEO, on the other hand, organizations create optimized content that naturally lands on or near the top of their targeted SERP, without paying for the exposure. Sure, there’s the initial investment of researching and creating the content, but after that, any site traffic or conversions it brings in are completely free. In other words, SEO makes it possible to unleash ‘evergreen’ content that remains viable for years to come at no additional cost.
What Are the Benefits of Organic SEO?
The possibility of deploying evergreen content at almost no cost to the company makes Organic SEO an attractive prospect for companies in nearly every industry. But there are also other advantages that SEO brings to the table, such as:
More Targeted Traffic
Organic SEO is ‘organic’ because it relies on the natural process of creating user value. As your content achieves improved visibility in your SERP, the traffic it brings to your site is made up almost exclusively of qualified users (the kind of people who are more likely to want to buy your product or service). Compare this to the ‘cast a wide net’ approach employed by traditional paid solutions, where you may be spending money to reach out to people who simply are not interested.
Given its low cost and near limitless potential to drive conversions, organic SEO has the highest return on investment (ROI) ratio of any kind of marketing — digital or otherwise. This is particularly true when you create a piece of content that continues to drive traffic long after the initial investment.
Increased Brand Visibility
For most people, the internet (specifically Google) is the first place they’ll look when they have a question or want to make a purchase. If your content consistently tops your targeted SERPs, your brand will quickly become synonymous with the types of services you provide. This increased brand visibility helps ensure that your customers are keeping your business top of mind — even when they aren’t online.
Effectiveness across Search Engines
Although most SEO is focused on Google, a properly optimized piece will likely also perform well on Bing, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo!, and others. This is a step up from advertising using Google Ads or other search-engine-specific platforms, which completely exclude a portion of your potential audience.
Better User Connection
Because SEO places as much (or more) focus on usability as it does on rankability, the optimized content you create will represent your best value for your target audience. And, as more and more users interact with that content, this will ensure that the relationships you build are positive ones.
How to Improve Organic SEO
We’ve established that good SEO is cost-effective, hyper-targeted, and has no built-in expiration date. These are all great arguments for building an organic SEO strategy. But how should you go about making it happen?
It goes without saying that every business is unique, and so it stands to reason that each will need to consider its own goals, audiences, challenges, etc. to build an SEO strategy that works for them. This is where having a reliable SEO agency in your court pays off — bringing in professionals who know how to customize SEO to your specific needs can help ensure that it creates the kind of positive impact you’re hoping for.
Still, there are some commonalities among effective SEO strategies that are worth considering. If you’re interested in deploying (or improving) your organic approach to SEO, here’s how you can get started:
Perform Detailed Keyword Research
Finding the right keywords should be your first step in optimizing content for search engine visibility. Why? Because keywords are still one of the primary ways that Google uses to determine the subject and relevance of your piece. But keyword research also goes beyond just matching user search strings; it provides essential insight into the needs and interests of your customers. Use the keywords that your research identifies as most valuable to inform your content creation and optimization efforts as you move forward.
Optimize Your Existing Content
Creating new content around ongoing keyword research is vital and will help you provide for the changing needs of your audience, but don’t forget about the content that you already have on your site. Taking another look at your existing content through the lens of your keyword research can help you identify exactly what kinds of changes need to be made to help those pages climb the SERP.
Acquire High-Quality Backlinks
Google looks at more than just what’s on the page when it evaluates your site; it also considers the caliber of any other sites that might be linking back to you. The idea here is a simple one: High-quality sites are more likely to connect with other high-quality sites, so a link from a superior source will share some of its authority (sometimes called ‘link juice’). You can acquire these backlinks naturally by creating the kind of unique, valuable content other sites will want to link to, and you can work with a reputable link building service to further cement an impressive backlink profile.
Decrease Your Page Load Times
One factor that sometimes gets overlooked in SEO is page load times. Simply put, the longer a page takes to load, the more negative the impact on its ranking. Working with your webmaster to optimize your pages for faster loading on both desktop and mobile devices can do wonders for helping you reach the top of your SERP.
Focus on User Experience
When all is said and done, the most important thing you can do to improve page rankings and connect with audiences is provide a valuable, enjoyable, and intuitive customer experience. This means not only addressing the right topics and offering useful information and solutions; it also means taking a look at your website UI to optimize how your visitors will interact with your pages. If you can optimize the user experience, you’ll be well on your way to optimizing your site for SEO.
BASE Search Marketing for Organic SEO
Organic SEO may be the most important development in marketing in the last hundred years. But while the idea behind SEO is intuitive, bringing all the pieces together is not. To put it bluntly, conceptualizing and deploying an organic SEO strategy can be a major undertaking. Thankfully, it’s one that you don’t have to take on alone.
BASE Search Marketing takes the guesswork out of SEO. Our content-creation services are backed by in-depth keyword research and industry-leading link building capabilities. We have the experience and the tools to help you get to the top of your SERPs, and we’ll help you stay there. After all, sometimes even organic can use a little help. Contact BASE today!