Organic Search Results Basics

According to the U.S. Small Business Association, a standard small business operates with 500 employees or less.

But if you’re involved in a startup, you may only have a fraction of that – maybe only a handful.

Regardless of size, for a modern business to thrive – whether service, news or product based – top search results are a must.

It’s much easier said than done, especially for highly competitive broad keywords to your industry, such as “SEO” for a digital marketing agency.

The keywords that they would want to use most likely are taken by those with deep pockets and massive paid search campaigns in Google Ads and Bing Ads.

What are Organic Search Results

How can smaller companies compete in search results? That is where organic search results dominate. But what are they? And how do you achieve high rankings in organic listings?.

We still get asked hundreds of questions in regards to the basic terminology.  We’re listening, and will start explaining the basics in layman terms in a series we’ll call SEO 101. For us SEOs and marketers, it’s refreshing to get back to the very basics.

With that said, here are some insights into organic search results – what they are, and how to start ranking in the upper results (it’s not a quick process!).

What exactly are Organic Search Results?

Organic is a term we see and hear daily. It can be used to describe various products in various professions such as chemistry, farming, economics, and law.

But it has the most impact on the world of digital marketing. Here, organic search results consist of being found in the search engine results page without having to pay for it. These are the paginated listings in SERPS (search engine results pages) that arrive when a keyword or string of keywords is entered into the search taskbar.

These are the results from search queries that companies don’t pay for – unlike Google Ads or Bing Ads.

The higher the placement, the better. 

How does one accomplish these top results, and improve their existing organic search results?

Organic search is based around ranking highly for keywords that your content is based on, which is the most basic form of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.

These keywords can be either broad, such as “content marketing,” which has a monthly search volume of 18,100, or more specific (longer tail), such as “health content marketing,” which has a monthly search volume of 140.

That’s a HUGE difference in search volume, and through any content marketing agency would like to be on top of the search for “content marketing,” it would take much energy and effort, along with time; but ranking for “health content marketing” would be much easier.

Again – this is the very basics of our SEO talk in regards to organic traffic. But again, this question has surfaced numerous times.

To help improve organic rankings, you need to continually create content to rank for more and more keywords. And you can’t create content or write for the search engines; create content naturally and appealing.

Our agency prides itself on creating traditionally written content for an SEO-driven world. In layman terms, we write in traditional standards but make sure the content – and website – is optimized for search.

Again – in the basic form – your content should include keywords that are specific to your niche (this is where keyword research comes in), and it should be original content that people want to read.  

Plan to rank for organic results seo 101

How long does it take to build strong organic traffic?

Building organic traffic is time-consuming and doesn’t provide instant results. But the results it does provide are valuable. High organic results will drive traffic for the foreseeable future, making your return on investment (ROI) much better than paid traffic.

As for time – this can be a case-by-case situation depending on how well your website performs from a technical SEO level.

We will cover these topics in the future, but things like slow site speeds, unoptimized images, and sloppy URLs can all prevent your content efforts from ranking high organically.

If the website is in good shape, and you’re completing a somewhat aggressive campaign (we recommend at the very least six new pieces of content per month (video, blogs, service pages, etc.), but for truly aggressiveness three blogs per week.

This is when a website – again, under consistent uploads of fresh content – will start showing some improvements. Months 7-12 things begin to build, and typically by 18 months a snowball effect will begin, and results come much quicker.

It’s a game of patience and trust with your content marketing, whether that’s in-house or outsourced to an agency (read our latest Search Engine Journal article about insourcing vs outsourcing).

Quality content leads to quality leads; don’t skimp on anything.

What keywords should I chase?

Don’t expect to rank high for broad and high-trafficked keywords. Mainly because they are already used by some other business that is ranking higher than you in Google.

Enter the secret weapon – long tail keywords.

Long tail keywords can be three to four words or longer that make up a phrase. Searchers typically use longer and more specific phrases to find an answer, such as “2015 Ducati Monster 1200 exhaust.” Searches get even more exact when using voice search.

Where do I begin?

The first step to ranking organically starts with auditing your website. You must make sure your website is running smoothly from a technical perspective, (site speed, broken URLs, outdated sitemaps, de-indexed pages), followed by consistently adding new quality content, which will help you rank for more and more terms.

Basically, if your website isn’t performing well, then your content efforts are wasted. If a client has an existing website, we always recommend a full audit to address any current issues before moving ahead.

During our audits, we also provide added keyword research and “map” those keywords to the correct pages. This plays into the website’s overall hierarchy, which basically prioritizes certain pages over the others.  

Also, it helps to truly understand your business and what keywords people are searching for. This will provide the knowledge needed to properly optimize your keyword research before building content out that will help you rank organically.

keywords are the basis of organic rankings

Your business has a story to tell. Find key phrases or keywords that are very specific to you. Then build upon that.

Build fresh, consistent content specific to your brand. Develop long tail keywords that you would search for if you were looking for something on your website, then use a keyword tool such as Google’s Ads Keyword Planner or SEMRush.

Also, chase trends to see who is ranking for what terms in your business. An easy way to do this is through Google Trends, and also setting Google Alerts for keywords you’re targeting that are associated with your business (“Google algorithm updates” is one for us).

Also, if you see competitors ranking highly for their content, set Google Alerts for their brand names. This will allow you to spy on their content marketing strategy.

Be warned – we help clients spy on competitors for keywords and strategy, but don’t get carried away with reading actual content. Once you study the competition, you’ll sound like them; find your own voice.

Also, stay up to date with the latest in the world of SEO by reading publications like Search Engine Journal or Search Engine Watch.

Concluding Thoughts

Small businesses can surpass the big businesses maybe just not in the exact way you originally thought. We think of the Tortoise and the Hair. Slow and steady wins the race. 

We are a society of instant gratification. We need our products, results, and success instantly.  However, that isn’t really how it works -, especially with organic search results.

Just keep consistently creating content. It will pay off in the end.  Keep looking for the keywords or phrases that are specific to your vertical, and keep the focus on building quality content.



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