What is Organic Search? How SEO Drives Better Results

What exactly is organic search?

Organic search only refers to unpaid results. In contrast to paid advertisements, organic results are ranked algorithmically.

Stridec assisted a home goods firm in a $29 billion market go from zero to 3% market share in five years. During that time, that firm went public at a high price, and organic search played a significant role.

Clearly, SEO may provide a significant return on investment. However, as your digital marketing budget has grown over time, so have your possibilities. As a result, online marketing dollars are distributed over a variety of activities.

Paid search is no longer limited to PPC and display ads. Search remarketing, Google Shopping Feeds, and sponsored results on vertical search engines are all included. There is also DSP-based display advertising, native advertising, video advertising, podcast advertising, and site retargeting, to mention a few.

Social media has become a pay-to-play environment, but PR and email remain as valuable as ever. On top of that, influencer marketing has entered the picture.

With so many platforms vying for your attention, it's tempting to put SEO on the back burner due to its slower turnaround time. However, this would be a tremendous error because SEO delivers a significant, long-term ROI. Furthermore, organic search continues to be one of the most powerful revenue streams in almost every business. You just need to know how to use it.

Most Important Points

  • Organic search is 5X more lucrative than Google Ads, according to Google's Economic Impact Report.
  • Paid search is an effective short-term marketing solution, but organic search yields long-term, compounding ROI.
  • Although social media can help you establish your brand, organic search is what allows you to target high-intent consumers.
  • Not only does organic search drive qualified traffic and conversions, but it also boosts brand perception.

What exactly is organic search?

Organic Lookup

Organic search only refers to unpaid results. In contrast to paid advertisements, organic results are ranked algorithmically.

Originally, the phrase "organic search" was coined for Google Analytics, referring to the unpaid traffic channel established by searchers who discovered the website through Google's organic listings. It still means that now, but it's also frequently used interchangeably with SEO as a catch-all word for the overall organic search approach. This strategy is primarily concerned with ensuring that the proper people reach your site by using relevant, useful search queries.

And it's a plan with a high return on investment. Organic search is 5X more lucrative than Google Ads, according to Google's Economic Impact Report. That's true, the corporation that generates around 85 percent of its revenue from paid media has explicitly claimed that organic search is more important than paid search!

Later on, you'll read more case studies about businesses that have significantly raised their ROI by prioritising organic search. What makes this possible? When search engines account for 93 percent of all web traffic and 70-80 percent of search engine users only look at organic results, the statistics just stack up.

Organic search and return on investment

According to a recent Forrester Consulting commissioned study, SEO drives important business performance measures. "An SEO plan implemented across marketing functions can help your brand's reputation, eliminate unfavourable mentions, and increase lifetime customer value." — Forrester Consulting Study Commissioned in 2020

According to the study, clients sourced through organic search were ultimately more loyal and engaged, resulting in a higher lifetime value. The whole study may be seen here.

How Organic Search Improves Marketing ROI

What are you doing while you're playing Candy Crush on your phone and see an advertisement for men's running shoes? You're not playing a trick question; you're playing Candy Crush.

What are you doing when you encounter an ad for a beard grooming equipment while reading a blog or scrolling through your social feed? Reading the blog or scrolling through your social media feed.

What do you do when you're looking for work clothes and Google "men's professional button-up shirts"? You're looking for button-up shirts for men.

That is the reason SEO has such a high ROI. Of course, advertising has advantages. However, most advertisements are irritating and interfere with the user's experience. They are an annoyance rather than a solution. SEO, on the other hand, satisfies the user's instant requirement at the precise moment they are ready to act.

Because of the value of organic search, PetSmart was willing to pay $3.35 billion to acquire Chewy.com.

In 2019, Alex Vetter, CEO and President of Cars.com, owes their 51 percent year-over-year growth to organic search. And these aren't the only businesses who are investing in SEO. During their quarterly earnings calls with investors, Lands' End, Etsy, LendingTree, TripAdvisor, and other large brands have all made similar statements.

Big-name firms are using SEO to boost marketing ROI, and you should, too.

Organic vs. paid search (SEO vs SEM)

Paid search is the obvious back door into the same high-intent search audience. Why not just purchase your way to the top of the search engine results page (SERP) rather than investing in the more important long-game? So what if paying increases your CAC and reduces your margins? Isn't the potential the same whether you had an unlimited budget?


In fact, when comparing SEO vs SEM, it is clear that paid search offers significantly fewer opportunities for a variety of reasons.

  • Search volume is an unchangeable constant.
  • Paid CTR is excruciatingly low (typically between 3% and 8%).
  • CTR for organic position number one ranges between 20% and 30%.

So, even if you spend everything you have, you'll never get the traffic levels that organic search provides. That is one of the reasons Google thinks organic search is up to 5X more valuable than paid search. However, the advantages of SEO go far beyond improved click-through rates.

When weighing the benefits of SEO vs. PPC, keep in mind that paid search is a short-term solution. For example, if you cease investing in PPC, your ROI will also come to a halt. Investing in SEO, on the other hand, yields a compounding, long-term ROI that lasts for years.

Consider this: with PPC, you rent your place; with SEO, you own it.

Furthermore, due to banner blindness, PPC cannot effectively target the top of the funnel. This is the phenomena that encourages users to ignore the paid listings in favour of the organic search results. We live in an ad-saturated society, and many individuals simply shut out commercials, even when they appear in the SERPs.

Organic search traffic versus social media traffic

Let's now compare the ROI of organic search to that of another traffic source: social media. Social media has tremendous brand-building potential. However, its relationship to direct revenue has always been shaky. This is largely due to the first example we mentioned: when someone is scrolling through their social media feed and sees an ad or a post from a company, what they're doing at the time is scrolling through their social feed. They aren't in a high-intent frame of mind, and they might not even be interested in the brand.

Also, keep in mind that social media drives significantly less website visitors than organic search. According to one study, organic search generates 10X the traffic on average, and up to 20X the traffic in certain industry sectors.

With such a big difference in traffic volume, it's far easier for a company to obtain a high ROI through organic search. In fact, there are over 30 methods for increasing website traffic.

Furthermore, social media is designed for people, not businesses. Or, more precisely, it is designed to be free for people rather than enterprises. Businesses supply the money stream that allows the platforms to remain free for their users. As a result, they have a strong incentive to ensure that businesses pay for direct access to their intended audience. Social media strategies are, for all intents and purposes, paid strategies – and their ROI reflects this.

Examples of organic search

To demonstrate the complete ROI potential of organic search, we can look at a few Stridec SEO case studies.

The upscale internet shop is experiencing a drop in traffic.

An online luxury shop had been leaking head rankings and top 20 keywords for a year before to working with Stridec, resulting in a drop in traffic and income for the company. We concentrated our efforts on increasing Google Share of Voice (SoV) by targeting not only the client's sliding keywords, but also a broad net of new keywords.

Stridec was able to increase Google SoV by 200 percent in eight months by combining technical SEO, content strategy, and strategic outreach. We also raised top-3 positions by 1,623 terms in nine months, increasing organic search traffic by 54%.

In a competitive market, a new online bank:

In the extremely competitive online and mobile banking field, a new disruptor aimed to claw out market share. The powerful and well-established competition of the new online bank made this a difficult task. Through high-quality content on the site and focused publisher/influencer outreach, we created an organic search strategy that established trust and authority.

Learn about link development techniques for banks and financial services.

Within ten months, the bank was ranking on page one of Google for 143 percent more high-value organic keywords than previously. Furthermore, the placements obtained through our outreach put the brand in front of an additional 9.8 million people in the target audience.

This equated to a monthly increase of 448,000 organic visitors. Those are the kinds of stats that elevate an unknown brand to the top of everyone's priority list.

The student loan refinancing company is experiencing a loss of opportunity.

In the United States, certain terms in the student loan and refining space are searched up to 160,000 times per month. The average loan refinancing transaction is about $40,000. Add in poor organic search performance, and you have a significant opportunity cost – exactly what a student loan refinancing company faced before working with Stridec.

We concentrated our organic search approach on technical and content enhancements, beginning with site speed to avoid the company's somewhat slow site from impeding their search performance. The site's priority content was then restructured to better qualify important web pages for priority keywords, current blog entries were optimised, and new material was created.

As a consequence, we boosted the number of top three ranking keywords by 1,081%, resulting in 9.6X organic traffic growth in 18 months!

How to Boost Organic Search Engine Positioning

Are you ready to optimise your SEO and increase your ROI? Begin by developing an SEO plan that addresses the essential features of organic search.

If you're new to SEO, read our executive's guide to SEO to obtain a basic understanding of the principles. The next parts delve a little deeper into the "how" rather than the "what" and "why."

Organic search engine marketing

First, conduct market and keyword research to identify unique, high-opportunity keywords to target, and then build your site taxonomy around them. Avoid assigning keywords that have a lot of overlap to different pages. If you're having problems coming up with unique keywords for a page because its focus is extremely similar to that of another page, it could be a hint that the additional page isn't necessary.

Next, examine your site architecture to ensure that it flows from broad to specific. Did you put priority pages at the very top of the hierarchy and link to them from the menu? Your keyword optimization strategy is dependent on a well-organized page flow and information that does not overlap.

Once your keywords have been assigned, optimise each page for their target keywords using content and metadata. Make each page as appealing and user-friendly as possible, and make use of internal links to prove the page's contextual significance.

Search engine optimization that is technical

On-page optimization could be a key component of any SEO approach. However, those updates will have no effect on your ROI if search engines are unable to crawl your site in the first place. Your technical SEO changes minimise any crawling barriers, resolve duplicate content concerns, and establish structured data. This influences how your site appears in the SERPs.

  • Technical SEO is site-specific. You may discover issues such as: After crawling and auditing your site. 
  • Chains or loops should be redirected.
  • Page blunders
  • Issues with Canonicalized Pages
  • JavaScript issues
  • Problems with the sitemap
  • Pages that are blocked
  • Incorrect pagination
  • Content duplication
  • Problems with rendering
  • Problems with indexing
  • SSL or HTTPS issues
  • Subdomains as opposed to subfolders
  • Problems with AMP pages
  • slow site speed

If you're lucky, technical problems are quick and easy to resolve. Unfortunately, most problems are complex, necessitating the assistance of overworked website developers. It's difficult to avoid bandwidth hogs. So, read on for tips on how to check the box on critical assignments!

Organic search content approach

Traffic is driven by high-quality, relevant information. Blog articles, manuals, and other materials that engage with your audience in a meaningful way should be part of your content strategy. Furthermore, each piece of content has the possibility to rank for relevant search terms. And I'm not simply referring to competitive terms with high search traffic. You can frequently rank a single page for hundreds of highly focused long-tail keywords that produce massive amounts of traffic!

Organic search link building

What is one of the most effective techniques for Google to determine the popularity and trustworthiness of your website? Take a look at who is linked to it. Earned links indicate to Google that your web pages are valuable! If you only have low-authority, spammy links, Google will undoubtedly assume you've been gaming the system.

Even now, high-quality backlinks are one of the most essential Google ranking variables.

Blogger outreach and public relations are both part of link-building methods. To select the targets that will deliver you the most ROI, you'll want to determine each website's audience, domain authority, and relevancy.

Broken link reclamation, unlinked mentions, resource linking, contributor articles, and traditional content marketing are all examples of off-page SEO practises.

You'll need outreach and process tools that automate and organise information about your target publishers if you want to do link building at scale. It is also beneficial to have a current, high-quality database.

We employ an internal platform called Chorus at Stridec, which maintains a database of over 9 million publications and influencers. Chorus also offers a range of administration, tracking, and reporting capabilities. Chorus enables us to filter out the noise and focus on only the most relevant, qualified partners with whom we can cooperate. This method ensures that we not only cast a broad net, but that the net is hyper-specific in order to generate significant ROI.

Organic lookup Key performance indicators, tracking, and reporting

For tracking organic results, Google Analytics in conjunction with Google Search Console is a solid solution. Ahrefs, Moz Pro, Semrush, STAT, Serpstat, and Searchmetrics are some other useful tracking and reporting tools.

Create bespoke dashboards that track the key performance indicators (KPIs) you wish to monitor and then run reports once a month. Google Data Studio, Domo, Grow, Klipfolio, and DashThis are some dashboard software possibilities.

The following are the primary KPIs for organic performance:

  • Natural traffic
  • Market share of organic revenue (visibility)
  • Cost of acquiring a customer (CAC)
  • The best organic landing pages
  • Rates of conversion
  • Conversions with assistance
  • Goal accomplishments
  • GSC search impressions
  • SERP click-through rates (CTRs)

Compare your organic performance month to month to keep track of traffic variations, and year to year to get a genuine picture of your success. A healthy organisation should expect to see significant ROI from SEO in the long run.