Skip to main content
Business Insights

SEO and The Sustainable Advantage of Organic Search

16 October 2023
Astronaut planting on another planet

Organic search? No, we aren't looking for life on other planets, although sometimes getting the right results can feel like that. Before the start of the internet, to get specific questions answered, you had to find the right companies, often those with the best ads. Ads stood out in your Yellow Pages, billboards, TV, magazines, or local free papers.

However, with the start of the internet, you could ask those questions directly, and the search providers would try and provide the best results. This made traditional marketing less influential. While still critical for brand awareness, it rarely answers the input enquiry and answering the question asked is where organic search comes in if done correctly. The trick to correctly doing the organic search is to answer the question asked and, if you're clever, give the viewer a little extra.

Here is my take on why you should consider investing more in organic search for your business.

Online advertising faces alarming change with the death of third-party cookies and growing privacy regulations. On top of this, ad clickthrough and conversion rates continue falling, lowering ROI and raising opportunity costs. As marketing evolves, brands must rethink old habits and shift budgets to channels delivering long-term value.

Organic search engine results are an effective way to grow website traffic and conversions steadily. Like compound interest, organic search momentum continuously pays dividends over time. Companies investing in organic optimisation reap exponentially higher rewards versus short-lived paid search results.

Building Your Site's Authority

Expanding organic search requires building domain authority and expertise in search engine's eyes. Publishing high-quality, in-depth content demonstrates knowledge and trust. Insightful blog articles, guides and resources relevant to your industry establish authority.

Domain authority also grows by earning links and citations from credible external sites. As your content gains references, search algorithms boost your rankings. But amassing this authority takes time and sufficient excellent content.

Discovering Keyword Opportunities

Room covered in postit notes

Knowing the best keyword opportunities with solid search volume and conversion potential is critical for organic search. Keyword research uncovers terms and questions aligned to your offerings that customers search for.

Once compelling keywords are identified, these must naturally integrate into the content. On-page optimisation through metadata, URL structure, title tags and strategic keyword placement signals search engines about your content's relevance for queries.

The Value of Organic Search vs. Paid Search

According to several recent studies, most individuals searching on Google click on organic listings instead of an ad — 93%, in fact. Organic search represents a larger total addressable market. Organic search creates a more significant opportunity for your brand to capture online market share.

In addition, paid search is used primarily at the bottom of the purchase funnel, meaning it ignores a significant portion of the customer journey. The problem is exacerbated when prospective customers engage with better-positioned competitor brands earlier.

Wooden blocks built to say invest in customer experience first

This, in turn, translates into deeper audience insights and ultimately increased business for brands that can engage with their audience throughout the entire journey.

On top of this, organic search delivers customers at a lower acquisition cost than paid search, 87.4% lower. According to Google, organic search offers double the ROI of paid search, with SEO delivering an average of 5.3x ROI compared to 2x ROI from paid search.

How many thousands of pounds in incremental profit could be achieved with a minor budget allocation shift from paid search to the organic channel? The bottom line is that an investment in organic search optimisation invests in more robust, sustainable marketing results.

Delivering Real User Value

At its essence, organic search depends on satisfying user intent and needs. Websites quickly giving searchers desired answers, products, or services earn higher engagement. Lower bounce rates, longer time on site, and more pageviews show you are meeting expectations.

Wooden blocks built to say invest in customer experience first

Optimising site speed and performance also improves user experience. By creating seamless, mobile-friendly journeys, visitors find your content more helpful.

Your organic search marketing budget captures actual clicks because it connects with consumers more effectively, guides them through their buying journey with helpful content, and accrues value over time, leading to more significant returns.

In addition, studies show no net loss in revenue when a digital ad budget is cut and reinvested elsewhere. How can this be? This is sometimes because many marketers purchase ads to target consumers who have already selected the brand. Other times, it's due to fraud. Or, it's because interruption marketing doesn't align with the customer journey.

With organic search, you engage with your audience only when they have specific questions you can answer or when they are seeking your solutions. You connect with them precisely when they are most responsive to your message.

"When someone queries a search engine, they have a specific intent at that moment, so they're in the perfect mindset to be receptive to messages that match well with their goal."

The Organic Search Advantage

Most companies underspend on organic results while overspending on paid ads, resulting in a disappointing ROI. Many long-standing businesses stick to how it's always been done. As a result, they need guidance online.

Organic search refers to the unpaid, natural search results that appear on search engine results pages (SERPs) when a user enters a query. These results are based on relevance to the search terms and other ranking factors determined by search engine algorithms.

The advantages of organic search can include:

  • Credibility and Trust: Organic search results are perceived by users as more trustworthy and credible compared to paid advertisements. Websites that appear organically are seen as having earned their position through relevance and quality.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Unlike paid advertising, organic search traffic is free. While SEO efforts may require an upfront investment, the ongoing traffic generated from high organic rankings can be cost-effective over time.
  • Sustainable Traffic: Once a website achieves high rankings in organic search, it can continue to receive traffic over an extended period without ongoing costs. This contrasts with paid advertising, where traffic stops when the budget runs out.
  • Long-Term Strategy: Building a strong organic presence is a long-term strategy. While it takes time to see results, the benefits can be sustainable, providing a consistent stream of traffic and potential customers.
  • User Experience: SEO practices often focus on improving the overall user experience of a website. This can lead to increased user satisfaction, longer visit durations, and higher conversion rates.
  • Ad Blocker Resilience: As ad blockers become more common, organic search results are not affected. Users who employ ad blockers still see organic results, making it a reliable way to reach audiences.

It's essential to note that the field of SEO is dynamic, and search engine algorithms can change. Strategies for achieving high organic rankings may evolve over time. Therefore, staying informed about current best practices in SEO is crucial for maximizing the organic search advantage.

"Marketers often prefer comfortable lies to uncomfortable truths, which is why we continue to see PPC channels dominate digital marketing budgets, despite the channel's inferiority to SEO."
Barry Adams (founder of Polemic Digital)

The Compounding Effect Over Time

A long view is essential, as ongoing effort is needed to realise multiplying organic search returns. Companies continuously adding fresh content, improving website optimisation and monitoring analytics eventually gain self-fueling organic traffic growth.

"Long-term loyalty and growth happen when you couple your paid efforts with a strong organic strategy that focuses on providing value upfront."

Like money compounded over decades in markets, organic multiplies authority, links, and relevance from honing your approach. Competitors may see short-term wins, but organic delivers lasting success. Make it an investment priority, and your site will reap dividends for the long haul.

The key takeaway is that organic search is not a quick win. But dedicating resources to build authority, optimise for keywords, and satisfy users compounds exponentially over time into higher conversions and lower costs. Organic search is the most impactful digital marketing channel, delivering substantial, sustainable benefits compared to paid search ads and other advertising.