What is "organic" search engine results and how can it help your company?
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The first time I heard the term "organic search" I immediately thought of organic food at the grocery store. So, is this organic search healthier for me? Will it reduce my chances of getting cancer? Not only can the search engines bring most of the world's knowledge to my desktop, but now they can prevent deadly diseases too!
Imagine my disappointment when I learned organic search was simply the next new buzzword for the concept of pure, or crawler-based search. As some of our readers may find it challenging to keep up with all of the latest lingo, I thought I'd take a moment to at least explain the concept of organic search.
Organic describes a search that returns results by indexing pages based on content and keyword relevancy. This is in contrast to listings ranked based on who paid the most money to appear at the top such as those on Overture.com. Sometimes this is called "pure" or "natural search" as it is supposed to be "untainted" by commercial payments or bids.
Historically, Google has led the way in championing the virtues of natural or organic search. Its primary focus has always been to return fast, highly relevant results based on the content of the page, the relevancy of links pointing to that page, and other "objective" criteria. Sponsored listings have always been clearly separated from the organic search results on Google. However, many other engines have experimented with mixing the two types of search without clearly labeling which is which. This has been followed by public outcries, and at least one cautionary set of statements issued by the FTC in 2002.
Pros and Cons of Organic Search vs Paid Search
Unlike organic foods at your local grocery store, you aren't required to pay extra to reap the healthy benefits of "organic" search. So what are the benefits of organic over paid search?
Organic Search Pros:
Organic Search Cons:
If your site is buried at the bottom of the list, or simply fails to appear in the first few pages of search results, you can kiss your chances of being found good-bye. The key is to use responsible best practices to create pages that are highly relevant to the keywords that apply to your Web site and the products or solutions you have to offer. . In other words, optimize your pages for search engine visibility and see how fast your position improves. To do this, you simply need to know what each search engine needs for maximum visibility. Then tweak your Web page's content while paying attention to off-page factors like the number and type of links coming to your page. Tune the pages of your site to the preferences of the major search engines and then watch your rankings and traffic climb.
While optimizing your Web site to rank well for organic searches takes more effort than simply buying an ad, it can provide your business with one of the highest ROI results that you're likely to find. Numerous studies have placed search engine optimization at the top of the list of the most effective forms of online marketing. Its low cost, high relevancy, and high conversion rates make it an ideal marketing vehicle for almost any business.
The catch? As with any area of marketing, SEO is a competitive field. Arming yourself with the best technology and knowledge is key to gaining a competitive advantage. Long-time readers of MarketPosition know that WebPosition was the first product on the market to track a Web site's rankings on the search engines and to help improve those rankings. That early lead has given WebPosition more time for its technology to grow and mature than any of its competition. WebPosition's Page Critic module contains a wealth of advice and statistics designed to move your site to the top of the organic search results. Not only that, it also tracks your rankings and gives you advice on how to achieve the best results in both organic and pay-per-click search engines as well. Therefore, you can capitalize on the best of both worlds.
This article is copyrighted and has been reprinted with permission from WebTrends, the makers of WebPosition. WebPosition helped define the SEO industry by being the first product to track your rankings on the major search engines and to help you improve those rankings.
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