Updated: Jan 20, 2022
Okay, first things first: what is organic traffic?
Well, in the world of digital marketing, ‘organic’ means free, and ‘traffic’ means website visits. So in literal terms, organic traffic just means ‘free website visits’ (as opposed to visits from ads, which you have to pay for!).
But specifically, it means free website visits from search engines, like Google.
But aren't there ads in Google?
Yup. All Google searches will throw up ‘organic’ results, and some Google searches will throw up ads too.
You’re likely to see ads - which appear at the top and bottom of the results pages - if you type in something that indicates you want to spend money on a product or service - like “electrician in Worthing”.
Visits that come from these links are called ‘paid traffic’, because you literally pay money for each click (in marketing this kind of advertising is known as 'PPC', which stands for pay per click).
But back to organic traffic. This is the most prized for the obvious reason that it doesn’t cost you any money. And on top of that, numerous studies have shown many people trust organic results more, and younger people in particular are more likely to automatically skip past the ads.
So how do you get organic traffic?
Well, that’s where something called SEO comes in, which stands for ‘search engine optimisation’.
In layman’s terms, this means doing things to your website that make search engines take notice of it. If done properly, this will mean it appears in organic results when people Google things that indicate they are interested in spending money on whatever it is you offer. For example, if you own a fashion consultancy business, maybe by the name Castor Consulting, you'd probably want to be ranking for terms like 'ethical procurement' and 'the modern slavery act'.
If you happen to offer something that a lot of people want, and your website appears high in the organic search results for related terms, it can be very good for business!
Naturally, this is a competitive field. Generally speaking, the higher the search volume of a particular term, the more intense the competition to ‘rank’ in the organic results for that term.
The job of an SEO specialist is to use SEO tools to research search terms that tick a few important boxes:
High enough search volume to make the terms actually worth targeting
But not so high that the competition element would make it monumentally difficult with the time and resources available
Terms actually relevant to the product or service you offer, and or the location you operate in
For example, let’s say you run a business doing family photography in West Sussex and you happen to live in Arundel. There would be little point in trying to rank simply for ‘photographer’ - way too broad and you’d be up against corporations with £million marketing budgets. On the other end of the spectrum, ‘photographer for mum, dad and kids based in Arundel’ would be too niche a term. You could probably easily rank for it but there would be little point if no one was actually typing it into a search engine!
SEO is a game of compromises and being realistic with expectations. It’s also a long game - SEO work done today can take 6 months+ to have an effect - but once you’ve got it working, it can be hugely beneficial, especially if you have a small advertising budget!
Check out our SEO services to see how we can help with increasing your organic traffic - if you like what you see, get in touch!