Why do we care so much about organic search? Think of it like foot traffic. For decades, if you owned a retail establishment or restaurant, foot traffic was the make-or-break factor for your business’ success. You might have the best food in the city, but it didn’t matter unless you could get people in the front door.
Now, business is overwhelmingly done online. Websites are the new storefronts. And organic search is the new foot traffic. It’s the foundation of everything your business is trying to accomplish — it doesn’t matter what you’re offering unless you can get people to your site. Think about your business’ major goals — probably some combination of the following:
- Brand awareness
- Revenue Growth
- Customer retention
- Thought leadership
Organic search has a direct, tangible impact on every one of those goals. Increasing traffic to your website — and by “traffic,” we mean the right kind of people who are genuinely interested in what you’re doing — is the tide that lifts all ships.
Organic Search is the Biggest Driver of Website Traffic
Your website is the hub of your business — all your marketing channels direct back to it. But of all the channels that direct viewers to you — email, social media, paid ads, and so on — organic search reigns supreme.
How important is organic search? Back in 2013, Google’s web search services went down — for five minutes. Global web traffic in those five minutes plummeted by over 40 percent.
It’s not just being online that matters, though. You have to be prominent. According to Amazee Metrics, the top five results on a given search page receive 70 percent of the clicks. In essence, no one ever goes to page two. The good news is that you don’t have to rank highly for every term — just the specific words and phrases that pertain to your business.
Organic Search is Sustainable
Paid search and ad traffic can be extremely useful for driving traffic, but there’s a catch: as soon as you stop your paid ad campaigns, your traffic will drop off almost to where it was before the campaign.
When people click a paid search result, it’s because you paid Google to get your post placed high on the page, not because your page naturally comes up when people search for that specific query. As soon as you stop paying for that placement, you’ll fall down the page and be lost to searchers again.
Organic Search Builds Thought Leadership
One of the most important contributors to the long-term success of your brand is getting your customers to trust you, and that’s where thought leadership comes in. Imagine you’re looking for instructions on how to install a new sink in your bathroom, so you Google “how to install a sink.” Which search result will you trust more: the one from Home Depot’s website? Or the one from something called “plumbingonabudget.net” (don’t worry, we made that up)?
Obviously, Home Depot will earn your click — not just because it’s high on the page, but because you trust Home Depot to know what they’re talking about when it comes to DIY installation tasks.
As you create relevant, timely, informative content, people will start to trust you on the subjects within your field of expertise. They’ll click on your results simply because they know you to be a reliable source of information, even if you’re not at the top of the page. Your authority will grow, and Google will take notice and reward your SEO rankings for it.
We’ve established that organic search rankings are important — that’s the easy part. So how do you actually do it?
How to Boost Organic Search Traffic
Increasing organic search is one of the most important things you can do to create lasting, profitable traffic to your site. Lucky for you, content marketing is the best way to do that. Here’s how.
Use Better Keywords
In the infancy of search engine optimization, search engines were just counting how many times a given keyword appeared on a page. This led to keyword stuffing — cramming a page full of keywords, sometimes instead of actual, readable text, to garner search results and clicks.
The days of keyword stuffing are over. Google’s too smart for that, and it can tell the difference between a website that’s full of keywords for the sake of keywords and one that’s actually addressing the question or topic.
Getting started with keywords can be as simple as typing a few words into the Google Search bar and seeing what the Autocomplete suggests. Those suggestions are based on what people are searching for, so they’re the keywords you want to write content for as well. The same goes for the “people also ask” and “searches related to” sections on the search results page.
For more advanced keyword analysis, including trends, traffic, and related searches, you’ll need a more sophisticated tool like Google Keyword Planner, KeywordTool.io, or dedicated SEO software. Focusing your content on the right keywords is the first step to getting noticed.
Keep an Eye on the Competition
Obviously, you don’t want to be a copycat. But you can’t create something better than the competition if you don’t know what the competition is doing. You’ll need to scout out what resources already exist, what’s working and what’s not, and what those resources cover in order to improve on what’s already out there.
Link Everything Together
We mean that two ways. First, everything should be linked together in terms of the topics that are relevant to your business and your customers. Draw up a mental map of the various areas that your business covers and how they interact, then stick to them. It’s tempting to write about trendy things in an effort to grab traffic, but you’ll seriously dilute your credibility if you cast too wide a net.
Secondly, you’ll want to link everything together with actual links. When you write a blog, link back to other blogs you’ve written on the subject. Link to your sources. Link to actionable pages on your website — if you’re writing about the importance of backing up your data, link to a place to purchase data backup software!
Content is Everything
The bad news is that there’s a LOT of content on the internet, so it’s harder and harder to get noticed. The good news is that the answer is simple: write better content. You don’t need to employ sneaky tricks or coding to boost organic traffic — just write top-shelf content that’s useful to your customers and relevant to your business. Search engines have gotten better and better at finding the content that real people actually want. If you build it, they will come.