Let’s get back to basics! Often – even in our insights – we use common formulas but very sectoral, which may be difficult to understand to those who are not familiar with the profession or approaches for the first time SEO issues: this is the case of organic search, an expression that is perhaps less obvious than it may seem. So that’s what organic search means, what organic results are on Google and other search engines, and why it is important to increase organic traffic.
Organic search: definition and explanation
Organic search includes all the results that appear on the Serps of a search engine after a query that are not paid: they are therefore pages that algorithms show only because they are relevant to a user’s search terms.
In English, the term organic means natural, in reference to something that develops without external forcing, planning or artificial interventions: therefore, organic research is precisely that composed exclusively of results that appear in a natural way, based on rigorous algorithmic calculations and without the influence of advertisers’ payments, while on the contrary paid search is the expression referred to the system of ads sponsored on Google and beyond.
In practice, therefore, organic research is the area of work of digital marketing towards which the SEO focuses by definition, which studies the tactics and improvements necessary to increase the organic visibility of the pages of a site.
What the organic search on Google is made of
This is particularly true for Google, which in its SERPs distinguishes (by law) organic results from paid results, reported by the Ad label that identifies the system of Google Ads, then completing the results page with all the other features that we now know.
If at the beginning it was easy to identify what were the organic results – the classic 10 blue links that appeared after typing a query – today the situation is much more complex and, as revealed by one of our studies, the space actually available for free search is actually eroded by the other functions that appear on the Google page, and that usually bring back to other tools owned Big G.
In any case, the evolutions have not changed the original spirit of the service, and therefore it is still possible to find organic results, which rankings are not bought but rather evaluated by the algorithms based on their ranking factors and, in particular, with respect to criteria such as relevance, quality, utility and correspondence of the content with the request that the user has made through its query.
As the public pages of Mountain View say, organic search is the free section of search results pages, where “you can never buy placements” because Google “always tends to always show content that fully reflects the query expressed by the user”.
Not only organic search: paid search and other features in SERP
If today’s Google SERP seems more chaotic than in the past it is due to the presence of many other features that, following the classification just described, we can still define organic – that is free, not linked to payments but to algorithmic evaluations.
The results of the local pack, the knowledge panels, but also the People Also Ask boxes, featured snippets, carousels with topical articles or images and all other rich multimedia results extend the scope of the search and allow the user to deepen his query in a different way or to have a more targeted response to the search intent hidden behind the request.
Completely opposite are the results of paid search, whose position and appearance in Serps is determined only by the expense incurred by an advertiser on the paid search network of Google (or other search engines). Such sponsored results are of various types, starting with the explicit pay per click ads that appear in the search results pages, usually at the top or bottom.
The main difference between organic research and paid research is therefore the cost: in the first case, you do not pay anything openly (but the SEO activities to improve the positioning can obviously cost time and effort, as well as a real monetary investment)While in paid search you need an expense in Google Ads campaigns – simplifying, in Pay Per Click mode you pay the search engine every time someone clicks on an ad from the ads and visits the website.
There is, however, also to consider the time aspect: the organic results usually last longer than the paid ones that, when the campaign ends, tend to disappear. At the same time, however, with an investment in Ads you can get instant visibility (however fast and ephemeral), while SEO times for organic ranking can be much slower and it also takes months to improve placements.
Why organic research is important
The value of organic research is high because, for many sites, it is the first source of visits and what is called consequently organic traffic, or the traffic coming from the clicks of users who have passed through the search engine thanks to placements obtained without any “obvious” expense (and therefore not from paid ads or other channels such as social networks).
Organic traffic is a completely different kind of traffic than you can get from any paid or social channel, because it attracts people interested in what the page and the site can offer: users voluntarily click on the organic result and prefer it based on their intuition (and what they read in preview snippets or what they know about the brand)and so they are already potentially positively predisposed to interact with content and potentially ready for conversion.
Our task is therefore to “cultivate” this organic traffic and make sure that users who land on the pages find what they expected, without going back disappointed to the search engine pages to click on competitor results.