Google Analytics

A Helpful Guide to Organic Search in Google Analytics

Here Are Our Best Tips to Understanding Organic Search in Google Analytics

Main image courtesy of Ahrefs.

If you are a beginner with Google Analytics or digital marketing, you may find yourself getting overwhelmed with all of the information Google Analytics shows you upon logging in to your account. One of these terms that you may be unaware of is organic search. 

There are handy beginners guides to Google Analytics that can help you understand some of the basic information Google Analytics provides.

The first thing you will want to be aware of when using Google Analytics is knowing what all of the information means and what each metric does. In this case, organic search is a free listing in a search engine that appears because it is relevant to someone’s search terms. It differs from the non-organic search results which are the paid advertisements. Organic search results do not include text ads and Google Shopping ads

The search engines such as Google or Bing rank these organic search results based on their quality, their relevance to the search, along with some other factors. 

Now let’s take a deeper dive into what organic search is and how best to utilize this tool to the advantage of your business and/or website. 

What is Organic Search?

You will want to be aware of the two different types of search results that Google and other search engines use. As mentioned above the organic search results are the non-paid search results from a search engine. This means that these results cannot be bought and/or influenced by advertisers. These are the results that the search engine deems to be the most relevant based on the user’s search terms. 

For example when you look at a page of search results from a search engine, this is the basic guidelines of what you will see. Now when you search for something obviously the results page will consist of different websites. However, the location of the organic search results and the paid search results will be in their designated sections, as seen below. The paid search results are known as display ads or pay-per-click ads. These paid search results are denoted with the word “Ad” in front of the hyperlink. 

Graphic showing two kinds of search results.
What the two types of search results are and their locations on search results pages. Image courtesy of Ahrefs

The Different Types of Organic Search Results

There are a few different types of organic search results. These types of organic search results include:

  • “Blue link” results - most organic search results in Google look like this - in the past they all looked like this but now there are different variations such as the ones below
  • Featured snippets - these are short snippets which briefly answer the user’s search question - appear at or near the top of Google’s organic search results - the snippet is pulled from one of the top-ranking results 
  • Video carousels - this is videos that are related to what the user has searched - the whole carousel takes up one organic position
  • Top stories - these boxes showcase recently published content based on the search topic - tend to show up in organic search results for newsworthy topics
  • People also ask (PAA) - these boxes showcase common questions that people might have a tendency to search for - each of the questions are answered with a brief excerpt pulled from a relevant page

Keep in mind that in order to get a high rank on search engines you will need to make sure you pay attention to search intent when deciding on what keywords you want to target. This way users will be more likely to click on your page. 

Graphic showing blue link results.
What the “blue link” results look like in a search engine, in this instance on a Google search. Image courtesy of Ahrefs.

Why is Organic Search Important?

You may be asking, why are organic search results important? Well one way is that the ranking of the organic search results for relevant keywords gives you essentially free traffic to your website. The reason why it is not truly free is that in order to gain organic search traffic to your site you must create and produce some content to rank in these organic results. However, it can be one of the most cost-effective ways to drive high-quality targeted traffic to your site. 

Organic search can also be super important to people who publish content on Youtube, since Google tends to rank Youtube videos under their video carousels and featured snippets sections of organic results. The videos in the featured snippet section are known as suggested clips. 

Organic Search Traffic

Organic search traffic is one of the main traffic sources that marketers should focus on since once you succeed, this is a long-term source of traffic. These search results also generate relevant traffic because you are answering the user’s question. 

Even though we are focusing on organic traffic, it is important to note the other types of traffic—which are:

  • Direct
  • Email
  • Paid Search
  • Social

Some of the reasons why organic search traffic is so important includes—that your customers use search engines, your competitors are optimizing for search, organic traffic is highly qualified, the organic search rankings increase your credibility, and earning organic search traffic is cost-effective. 

Organic Search On Google Analytics

When in your Google Analytics account you will see your dashboard, where you can either use the default dashboard or you can create and customize a unique one designed to meet your needs better. 

You may be wondering how you can view your organic search data in Google Analytics. Now once you sign in to your Google Analytics account you will see some of your search traffic data listed on your homepage. If you want to view a more detailed view of your organic search data you can click on the “Acquisition” section on the left-hand side menu. As seen in the chart below, you can view details about your organic search traffic as a graph and data about the keywords you are targeting. 

Graphic of where to see organic search info.
Where to find a more detailed view of your organic search traffic in Google Analytics. Image courtesy of WebFX


Using Google Analytics to view your organic search results can be a great strategy for your business. It can help you find valuable insights based on the natural rank of your site in search engines, such as Google. 

There are helpful beginners guides on Google Analytics that can help you gain knowledge on all things Google Analytics or digital marketing in general. 

At the end of the day, Google Analytics is one of the most popular analytics tools, and using the organic search results to build your digital marketing strategy can greatly increase the views to your site. 

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