What Is An Organic Search?

Updated: August 15, 2018
by Ray Alexander

To put simply, an organic search refers to a use of search engine. If you are looking for a specific information, you enter a relevant keyword or phrase in search engine box and find websites that provide the information. In short, an organic search means "to google it". The expression has widely been used since the word google as a verb was officially added to Oxford English Dictionary in 2006. 

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.

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 Adwords. 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.
  • check
    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.

Here's a very short (just over 2 minutes) but extremely helpful advice by Neil Patel: Top 3 Ways to Generate More Organic Search Traffic;

Free Keyword Search on Jaaxy

Find the best keywords for your site using the advanced keyword research tool with competition analysis. Average time saved per search: 10.8 minutes, 99.7% search engine coverage. Site ranking monitoring feature, "Brainstorm" idea maker, "Alphabet Soup" long-tail keywords finder and more.

About the author 

Ray Alexander

Hi! I’m Ray. Over the past 15+ years I have been involved with web designing, programming and online marketing. I work from home and have a passion for exploring new tools, services and programs in order to make money online. I’m here to help you succeed in building a profitable business by sharing my experiences. Any question, don’t hesitate to ask!

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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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