Organic search is simply the unpaid search results, sometimes called "natural" search or SERPS for short. There is no doubt that Adwords (paid search) has reduced the effectiveness of organic search for business websites. The Adwords ads appear above the organic. With the Google Local Business listings also at the top, the amount of eyeballs that scroll down to see the organic listings is quite small - around 20% of visitors in a competitive vertical.
Google use a mathematical formula called an algorithm to decide who ranks where in their search results. This is of course a closely guarded secret and no-one can say for certain what is in the algorithm. Understand also that there is more than one algorithm - each industry has their own which has been fine tuned to characteristics of that industry.
CreativeWeb.Marketing has researched and reverse-engineered the Google Algorithm as well as anyone and we then build websites, linking campaigns and social media campaigns that Google will reward with the best ranking possible. This is not because we are cheating the system, it is because we are giving Google what they want - and by extension of course, any potential customer who is looking for your service.
Here are the key concepts you need to understand:
Age is a ranking factor that Google dial up or down a lot. Currently it is up. This means that the age of your site, and teh age of the links that point to your site are extremely important in the ranking order. This does not mean a new site cannot rank, but it does mean doing so will be a lot of work.
Google crawl millions of sites every day and if your site slows or confuses their crawler then you will be penalised. So this means having your architecture right, having important information encased in schema tags to identify to Google what is what, not using flash, all images optimised for size - it is a very long list. When we say "on-site SEO" this is what we mean. All our websites have a long checklist to make sure we have followed current best practice.
Google is still about bringing people information, so the quality of your words matters. Write topical, original content, ensure you have the right balance of content on the page. Sites must be fully-formed, so ecommerce sites should have a privacy statement, clothing sites a return policy etc. Remember Google favours one page about one topic and websites with a purpose.
If you have a real business that has customers, advertising, perhaps yellow pages or social media, then Google should be able to find that. So your digital footprint, as this is called is very important to your ranking. Google simply looks for proof you are a real business and that you are doing things that a real business would do - advertising, social media etc.
It is then important to project a broad digital footprint. This would include an advertising element, a social media element, presence in local directories, some inbound links and most importantly - customers interacting with those things. This may be star rating you, reviewing you or posting on social media about you.
Email marketing is now considered part of this mix.
Traffic and Engagement
There is 2 parts to this - how much traffic you get and what happens to that traffic when it gets to your site. Google follow a visitor who goes to your site from search. They know how long they spent on your site and what they did there. If the customer engages - looks at multiple pages or registers for an email, buys a product or adds the site to social media or to their browser favourites then Google rewards that site with another visitor. If this interaction is lacking then your traffic will fall and your ranking will fall.
Google always have attached a great deal of importance to links because it shows your site is engaged with the community you serve. They look for a nice build up over time naturally. While linking is really part of the wider concept of "digital footprint", it's importance for ranking is still ahead of any other external factor. Link building is still a required part of ranking, we do that for you.