What Is An Organic Search?

Updated: August 15, 2018
by Ray Alexander

Get this: driving traffic to your site while lounging on your couch, doing absolutely zilch. Sounds like a dream, right? But what if I told you it's not as far-fetched as it sounds? Let's dive into the quirky world of passive traffic generation.

What Is An Organic Search?

Organic Traffic vs Direct Traffic

Why is it called 'organic'? Because from a website owner's point of view, it's a natural (organic) way to pull visitors to their site without advertising. Visitors naturally find the site via search engine, rather than being requested to visit the site specifically.

While a website traffic via search engine is called 'organic' traffic, other methods are referred to as 'direct' traffic. A direct traffic is where;

  • a user knows the website URL and types it in the browser's address bar (e.g. cybercashworldwide.com) or
  • a use is directed as a result of someone else's effort, in a mail format, social media or advertisement (e.g. "Click here to check my site!").
Wolves Howling YouTube

For example, if you want to know how wolves howl, you can search by keywords "wolves howling". The top of the search engine is likely to be a YouTube link. You will click it, and this will be an organic traffic to YouTube.

Whereas you probably think YouTube is the best place to hear a sound example, so first of all you go straight to YouTube by typing "youtube.com" - that'll be a direct traffic to YouTube. Next you enter the keywords "wolves howling" in the YouTube search bar and choose to click a specific video (or audio file) - that'll be an organic traffic within YouTube.

Market Share of Search Engines

Of course, Google is not the online search engine, but for many years around 90% of the global search engine market has been held by Google (including desktop, mobile, tablet and console - according to the data provided by StatCounter below) .

Top 5 search engines market share

The remaining 10% is shared by Bing, Yahoo!, Chinese based Baidu, Russian based Yandex and other lesser-known search engines.

SEO Elves Don't Exist: Keep Working

Forget the idea of SEO working like magic elves. Reality check: SEO requires ongoing effort. You need to continuously update your content and keywords to stay ahead of ever-changing algorithms and trends.

  • Regular SEO Audits: Constantly review and update your SEO strategies.
  • Adapt to Algorithm Changes: Stay alert to the ever-evolving search engine rules.

Social Media: A Daily Grind

Social media isn't just set-and-forget. Viral content is rare, and what works once might not work again. It requires daily attention, regular posting, and engagement to keep your audience interested and drive traffic consistently.

  • Frequent Posts: Keep your social media feed fresh and updated.
  • Active Engagement: Regularly interact with followers to maintain visibility.

How To Increase Organic Traffic

A good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the technique that's absolutely necessary in order for a webpage to rank higher in search engines organically. And by 'ranking organically' means without using the ad service such as Google Ads. Here are some of the most basic, essential techniques;

  • Keywords: Use of the right keywords plays the most important part in SEO. The relevant keywords should be used not only in the content, but also in the title header, image name and URL.
  • Value in Content: The webpage content needs to be full of useful information, reasonably lengthy (at least 600-700 words of content is often suggested), vocabulary-rich and easy-to-read.
  • Site loading speed: Slow loading sites are not considered "useful to users" by search engines. So it's essential to use an updated website builder - content management system such as WordPress with a theme that's updated. Use of a large image in file size will result in slow rendering. So every image that's used in a page should be optimized.
  • Mobile responsive: Google prioritise mobile responsive sites in its algorithm. Again an outdated website builder is unlikely to create sites that are mobile friendly. Check your website status using Google's mobile friendly test from here.
Evergreen Content Needs Pruning

Evergreen Content Needs Pruning

Evergreen content isn’t a plant-it-and-forget-it deal. It needs to be regularly updated to remain relevant and useful. Trends change, information gets outdated, and your content needs to reflect these changes.

  • Update Regularly: Keep revisiting and refreshing your evergreen content.
  • Stay Relevant: Make sure your content aligns with current trends and information.

Email Lists Require Constant Nurturing

Email marketing isn’t a one-time setup. You need to constantly create new, engaging content for your newsletters to keep subscribers interested and coming back to your site.

  • Regularly Update Content: Keep newsletters fresh and engaging.
  • Personalize Communications: Tailor content to keep subscribers interested.

Reviews and Testimonials: Not a One-Way Street

You can’t just expect reviews and testimonials to flood in. You need to actively encourage customers to leave feedback and engage with them to foster a community that supports word-of-mouth promotion.

  • Actively Seek Reviews: Regularly ask customers for their feedback.
  • Respond to Reviews: Show engagement by interacting with reviewers.

Affiliate Marketing: Far From Effortless

Affiliate marketing isn’t a hands-off approach either. You need to actively manage and support your affiliates, providing them with up-to-date marketing materials and strategies.

  • Manage Affiliates Actively: Regularly communicate and support your affiliates.
  • Keep Materials Current: Provide affiliates with the latest promotional content.

User-Generated Content Doesn't Generate Itself

Lastly, user-generated content requires encouragement and facilitation. You need to actively prompt and incentivize customers to share their experiences and then manage this content effectively.

  • Prompt for User Content: Actively encourage customers to share their experiences.
  • Feature and Manage Content: Regularly update and manage user-generated content on your platforms.

Organic Traffic Is Dead

Let's face it, the days of easily getting organic traffic are long gone. In today's online world, expecting a steady stream of visitors to your site without spending a dime sounds like a fairy tale, doesn't it?

The SEO Mirage

Remember when SEO was the go-to strategy? Well, not anymore. The game has changed, and now SEO feels more like shooting in the dark. With search engine algorithms changing faster than you can keep up, it's almost impossible to stay on top.

  • Constant Algorithm Changes: Keeping up is a never-ending battle.
  • Over-saturation: Every niche is crowded, making it hard to stand out.

Social Media: No Longer a Free Lunch

Gone are the days when social media was a free-for-all paradise. Now, it’s pay-to-play. Your organic posts are likely getting lost in the sea of content unless you're shelling out cash for ads.

  • Decreased Organic Reach: Your posts are probably not even seen by most of your followers.
  • Ad Dominance: Without ads, your social media presence is basically invisible.
The Myth of Viral Content

The Myth of Viral Content

Creating viral content? Good luck with that. It's more unpredictable than the lottery. For every viral hit, there are thousands of flops. And even if you do go viral, sustaining that traffic is a whole other headache.

  • Unpredictability: Viral content is not something you can plan for.
  • One-hit Wonders: Even if you go viral, it's often short-lived.

The Fallacy of Evergreen Content

Evergreen content used to be the backbone of organic traffic, but not anymore. The internet is saturated with content on just about everything. Standing out is tougher than ever.

  • Content Overload: There’s too much content out there. Yours is just a drop in the ocean.
  • Outdated Quickly: What’s evergreen today might be outdated tomorrow.

Email Marketing: Lost Its Charm

Remember when people actually read emails? Those days are over. Inboxes are now graveyards of unread messages, and your email is likely buried under a pile of spam.

  • Low Open Rates: Most of your emails are probably unopened.
  • Spam Filters: Good luck getting past those pesky filters.

The Broken Promise of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing was supposed to be a win-win, but now it's more miss than hit. Finding reliable affiliates is like finding a needle in a haystack. And even if you do, the returns are often disappointing.

  • Hard to Find Good Affiliates: It’s a tough market out there.
  • Low Conversion Rates: Just because you have affiliates doesn’t mean you’ll get sales.

User-Generated Content: More Hassle Than It’s Worth

Encouraging user-generated content sounds great in theory, but in reality, it's a headache. You spend more time moderating and managing this content than it's worth.

  • Time-Consuming Management: It's a lot of work for little reward.
  • Quality Control Issues: Not all content created by users is helpful or even good.

Organic traffic, once the holy grail of online marketing, now feels more like a pipe dream. The internet landscape has changed, and what worked before doesn't cut it anymore. Pretty bleak, right?

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About the author 

Ray Alexander

ASD. Recovering alcoholic. LGBTQ+ advocate. Semi-retired. 15+ years of web-designing experience. 10+ years affiliate marketing. Ex-accountant. I'm nice and real. Ask me if you need any help in starting up your home business.

Thank you for your Comments!

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  1. Hi Ray, thanks for the awesome article. I did wonder about it because all the SEO people always talk about it. But I have a question, if organic traffic is so important why do people buy traffic? If they keep buying traffic and put in no effort to improve their site, they’ll never appear on search engine and they’ll never receive organic traffic. It means their sites will never improve in time and it’s a little bit of wasting, am I understanding this right?

    1. Hi Zak, thanks for your comment. In order to drive organic traffic, you need to learn SEO technique and keep blogging, right? If you buy traffic you don’t have to learn any of that. You can promote 2-page websites and (potentially) make money in a short period. You don’t have to improve your site – all of that is a short-term plan. Whereas driving organic traffic is about building a site over the years. I hope it makes sense.

      Any more questions don’t hesitate to get back to me at any time!

  2. I have been buying traffic from solo ad sellers but have stopped now. How can I receive traffic by organic search, do I need to start blogging? Because right now I only have a couple of sales funnel pages. Thank you.

  3. Hi, I’m a web hoster and also offer a WHM reseller account, struggle to find customers. I need some websites with outstanding quality and a number of visitors. What’s your advice please?

  4. Hi Ray, thank you for your thorough explanation so that everyone can understand. I knew about organic search but never thought of why it was called organic, it makes sense. Everyone talks about keyword search but is it really so important? Because I know I have seen so many sites ranked high in Google but no keywords are used. Why can it be possible?
    Thank you good luck.

    1. Hi Jan, thanks for your comment. Yes keyword search is one of the most important jobs for any bloggers / content marketers. Sites that are ranked high in Google without keywords are high-profiled, authority sites such as news and entertainment. Generally never sites that are owned by individual.

  5. I knew about Bing and Yahoo but I didn’t know Google was so popular. It’s almost no point making an effort to rank in Bing and yahoo. You should just follow Google’s algorithm and forget the rest. I don’t know about Baidu and Yandex. I don’t promote anything in russia or China.

    1. Hi, thanks for your comment. You can still submit your post to Bing Webmaster Tools each time your blog post’s been published, and also the sitemap files. It doesn’t take you a minute to do this. And you’ll see your page performances. There are people who (prefer to) use other search engines rather than Google, so it’s worth doing something than doing nothing at all?

  6. Hi, now I understand what it means. It’s a very good article I am glad to have found your website. I just sent you a private message please reply, thank you.

    1. Hi Joan, thanks for leaving a comment. Also thanks for the message which I’ve just replied (please check your email). I’m glad this article helped. Any more questions don’t hesitate to give me a shout any time 🙂

  7. It’s so hard to rank in Google. I had my website for 1 year in the past and none of my pages ranked despite of my effort to repetitively use key words. I gave up and I lost my confidence. Can you tell me how to be ranked in the first place? If your website doesn’t appear anywhere in Google, there is no point for anyone in searching organically?

    1. Hi Hal, sorry to hear about your bad experience in website marketing. Sounds like you just need to learn the basics in a little deeper level. Because if you know the proper SEO technique and submit your webpages to Google and other search engines, your ranking will be virtually guaranteed (somewhere in Google, in the first 10 pages, say). If your site didn’t rank anywhere at all, your site was likely to be blacklisted for some reason.

      It’s never too late to restart your online marketing. If you need some help, don’t hesitate to get back to me any time. Thanks for your visit & comment.

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