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What is Organic Traffic and Why is it So Important?

As a business owner, you’re always trying to get people in the door, whether they’re patrons who have shopped with you before, prospective customers that already have an interest in your products or brand, or people who have never heard of you.  Attracting these customers comes with varying degrees of difficulty.

Luckily, you have an advertising arsenal at your disposal these days, thanks to broadcast, print, online, and social media platforms that can help you to reach your intended audience in myriad ways.  That said, many businesses also enjoy some level of organic traffic that may have nothing to do with their marketing efforts.

What is organic traffic?  Why is it so important?  And what can you do to secure this elusive but highly desirable search demographic?

What is Organic Traffic?

Organic traffic is defined by the way in which it reaches your site, i.e. through organic search.  What does this mean?  While many visitors reach your site by clicking through on an ad, there are also consumers who conduct an online search and reach you by happenstance.

In other words, they input a search term, your website pops up under relevant results, and they select your link.  These visitors have not been brought in by ads or referred by other (presumably supportive) sources, and this presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities.

The Benefits of Organic Traffic

The main benefit of organic traffic is that it’s ostensibly free, insomuch as it’s not “paid” traffic generated by ads.  It’s like foot traffic in a brick-and-mortar store.

These visitors are unbiased and they’re presumably seeking something you have to offer because it is germane to their search.  This provides a unique opportunity to impress someone who has maybe never heard of your brand, potentially gaining unexpected sales and patronage, not to mention a new voice to spread awareness of your brand.

With organic search, you know you’re always getting a real human visitor, unlike paid search, where people could click through erroneously and bounce, or you might get automated machine clicks.  Real people who visit you by choice, looking for something you have to offer, are already primed to convert.

In addition, traffic can impact rankings, and organic traffic is especially valuable.  Search engines are always trying to deliver the best service, which means providing the most relevant and valuable results for user search queries.  If your site gets a lot more organic traffic than competitors, it could be a self-perpetuating cycle.

How to Boost Organic Traffic

Now that you know what organic traffic is and why it’s important, you probably want to know how to generate this desirable traffic.  The answer is SEO.  While organic traffic is not considered paid, per se, there are certainly steps you can take to generate it, and a good SEO strategy is key.

It’s a catch-22: you need traffic to boost relevance for searches, but you need to show up in searches to gain traffic.  However, ongoing SEO efforts can help you engineer ranking and popularity so you start showing up for relevant keywords, thus increasing organic traffic that further improves rankings, and so on.

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