Guide to Marketing KPIs & Metrics
Sign up and get 5 minute KPI lessons delivered to your inbox every day.
Organic Search Traffic Definition
Google Analytics states that it separates traffic that arrives at your site through a search engine result from traffic that arrives through other referring channels, like paid advertisement or another site that links to yours. In your reports, this traffic segment is called organic search traffic.
Some people refer to organic search traffic as Organic SEO (search engine optimization). Organic SEO is the phrase used to describe processes to obtain a natural placement on organic search engine results pages (SERPs). Learn more: SEO Dashboard.
Organic Search Traffic Challenges
The greatest challenges with organic search traffic is that Google and other search engines are constantly changing and adapting algorithms that can impact your SEO efforts without you even knowing.
Before, after or during page optimization and keyword analysis, make sure your pages are indexed. Conduct a quick Google search using “site:yourwebsite.com” to make sure your pages are actually indexed. If you are performing site updates, even basic page changes, Google must re-crawl and then re-index these pages. It’s not uncommon to experience unstable rankings for up to a few weeks afterwards, but don’t be discouraged! It will improve.
Organic Search Traffic Best Practices
Some examples of techniques used for organic SEO include using keyword opportunity and keyword ranking, backlinking, link building to improve link popularity, and writing content relevant for human readers.Sometimes users switch up the keyword phrases that they use to make a purchase decision. Here is where you need to make sure you do better keyword research so that you can understand what they are searching. There are many ways in which you can do this.
First, look at AdWords data. Here you can use the keyword planning tool and get ideas from Google based on your existing keywords. You can also work with your AdWords team to identify patterns or trends the SEO team may not have known, as AdWords generally is constantly trying and testing out new keyword phrases. Learn more: Adwords Dashboard.
Second, Using a tool like SEMRush or Moz, you can identify what your competitors are ranking for and what is working for them. If one of your competitors seems to be gaining traction with organic search, they are perfect examples to reverse engineer. You can do this in SEMRush by going to your “competitors” tab, and then looking at your competitors and what they rank for. This would be a good example of a competitor you want to reverse engineer. Once you reverse engineer them, you want to change your keyword strategy on your physical website.
Is organic search traffic better than paid search traffic?
Kristine Schachinger from Search Engine Land wrote an article entitled 4 Reasons Organic Search is Better. In the article, Schachinger outlined the following reasons why traffic from paid advertising and social sites is wonderful, but businesses must not neglect organic search traffic efforts:
Organic search traffic is simply better for delivering relevant traffic.
- The only channel that performs better in some capacities is paid search ads, but that is only for online conversions, not overall traffic delivery (Paid Search only accounted for 10 percent of overall total traffic). Combining organic search traffic and paid search outperforms either channel by itself.
- So if you are neglecting your organic listings, your paid are not doing as well as they could, either. You are leaving money on the table in both organic and paid search. Walled gardens (social media platforms) have their own rules.
- When you don’t have control over the environment that’s driving your revenue, you may wind up with a hefty advertising bill to generate traffic that is lost when the company changes how the platform surfaces your content. Generally, these changes happen overnight or over a few weeks. That is not much time to adjust, especially for large companies. Site “stickiness”.
- Social media and paid ads might be traffic generators, but they are not long-term customer creators. The bounce rates are high, and the number of pages visited is often very low, in my experience. Organic search traffic is different. Matching keywords to user intent means you may be present in many searches. The user may find you consistently, and once they get to your site, they are more likely to stay. Organic users are still your best long-term customers.
How to monitor organic search traffic in real-time
The organic search traffic KPI should be coupled with related web metrics to provide a complete view of your digital marketing performance. This KPI also needs to be seen within the larger context of your online marketing campaigns. This means monitoring organic search traffic alongside click-through rates, link building metrics and marketing return on investment. Learn more about measuring and monitoring your organic search traffic on a Marketing Dashboard.