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SEO v organic search: Which is guaranteed to make you a billionaire?

Ok, that headline is very much tongue in cheek.

In this case, I’m being willfully provocative because – as many of you will have already picked up organic search and SEO are the same thing. Or, more precisely, search engine optimisation is the means by which you can improve your organic search results. (The usual binary is SEO v PPC or Organic v Paid Search.)

But I’m trying to make a serious point: these easy oppositions are the kind of thing you see on just about every digital marketing blog; binaries that breeze past the fact that different platforms and strategies are complementary tools in the digital marketer’s toolkit.

Of course, the billionaire thing is also a bit of a jab at marketing blogs that promise you the world overnight.  Like anything worth having, quality SEO takes time. It also takes patience and skill. But the returns are more than worth it.

While an effective SEO strategy won’t make you a billionaire overnight, SEO is uniquely capable of targeting active consumers and delivering relevant, quality leads. And that means more sales. In short, better SEO really does mean more business.

The real value of authentic SEO

Since I’m making fun of overly grand marketing claims, I should back up my own grand claim. SEO will grow your business? Really?

To understand the basis of my claim, we need to get a better understanding of the mechanics of good SEO – and appreciate what good SEO is not.

Good SEO is not merely ranking for what people happen to search. If you’re selling the world’s best doughnuts and lattes, there’s no point in appearing at the top of a Google search for French baguettes.

That sounds painfully obvious when put in such stark terms, but many people make precisely this mistake when attempting an SEO strategy. It’s just that the process is a lot more subtle than my stark example. You optimise for what seems like appropriate search terms, you eventually drive solid traffic to your site and … nothing. High bounce rate, low conversions. What even was the point?  

Of course, the subtle art of evidence-based keyword research is an essential component of a good SEO strategy. It’s something we’re laser-focused on. And you need to keep a careful eye on the analytics. What are people doing on your site? What aren’t they doing? 

But fundamentally, you need to recognise that Google (or Bing or whichever search engine you’re worried about) exists to connect users to relevant, useful information.  

And the best way to optimise for organic search traffic is precisely to provide the most relevant and useful information for a given topic.

Now, which topic should you be creating all this useful SEO content for? The one that your business is built around. The values that drive you. The things that make you better than your competitor. In other words, be true to yourself. 

That’s an ironically hokey phrase to end on for a blog that started off confidently bashing marketing cliches. But the fact is achieving this authenticity is much harder than one might think. 

It means producing a consistent body of high-quality content that accurately reflects the core values of the business and usefully informs potential customers about whatever it is you do best.

And when you do that, and you drive eager, interested users who are actively looking to buy what you’re selling … well, you’ll be a billionaire by winter.