What is organic search or organic traffic

search result

The hit lists are also called Search Engine Result Pages, or SERPs for short. Such a result list consists of organic search results as well as paid search hits.

While the paid search hits are played through an ad auction in real time, organic search results are based on the calculation of search engine algorithms. One goal of SEO is to occupy the top rankings in organic search.

How are search results created?

Google search results and SERPs from other search engines require two conditions: crawling and indexing. Google and other search engines must first examine the possible content. Internet search engines use so-called bots for this. These programs constantly search the web for new content. This is a very extensive task, because after all, there are now several billion websites with other subpages.

In their work, bots follow existing links to new websites as well as links within websites. As soon as you have accessed a website, the content is indexed. Indexing means that search engine robots store essential parts of the URL. This includes texts as well as images and the date of the last visit. In addition, file sizes, file formats used or other information can be “cached”. As soon as a user then performs a search query, the search engine uses this index. As soon as you enter your search terms, the search engine accesses the index and makes appropriate suggestions or supplements the search input. This function is also called "Google Suggest" by Google.

The search query can take the form of both text and voice input. Algorithms then use various factors to calculate how relevant the stored content is in relation to the search query. In addition, other factors such as the location of the user or searches carried out so far play a role in the output of the results.

Artificial intelligence to generate search results

In October 2015, Google announced that it would use artificial intelligence (AI) to generate organic search hits. This special algorithm is called "RankBrain" and is one of the central ranking signals today. The special thing about this algorithm is that it works in a self-learning manner. He is able to interpret previously unseen search queries and deliver suitable results.

Components of the SERPs

The results of a search engine are also called snippets. These are primarily the title, the description and the URL. If a user clicks on such a snippet, he comes to the desired website.

In the meantime, Google also plays snippets with images and other additional information, such as ratings. In this case, the term "rich snippets" is used. To display this additional data, Google uses markups. These are additions to the HTML source code that enable machines to read out and process structured data.

Paid search hits are marked as an ad, there are two types of paid results - the ads ads and the product listing ads. The paid results are not the result of algorithms, indexing and crawling. For their appearance, companies pay money to the search engine providers. These measures are part of search engine marketing and are also called search engine advertising. The corresponding advertising program is called Google Ads.

Search engines use the search query to decide whether and how many paid ads they place before the organic search hits. In addition, the space is also taken up by other own products.

The graphic below shows some of the elements that can be found in many Google search results today. This includes paid search hits (PLA), Google Maps including rich snippets, in this case ratings using asterisks, followed by news, pictures and videos. These elements belong to the universal search.

The scheme for the usual snippets can also be read from the graphic: The title is blue, the URL is green and the description is black and gray.