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organic search results

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Organic search results are the listings on a search engine results page (SERP) that appear because of factors such as relevance to the search term and valid search engine optimization (SEO) efforts rather than because of search engine marketing (SEM) or trickery.

Efforts to follow SEO best practices, sometimes called white hat SEO or organic SEO, are designed to boost a website's SERP position without paying or resorting to trickery. Unscrupulous practices, such as keyword stuffing, are sometimes referred to as black hat SEO.

The position of a link on a search results page is important. Depending on the search term, organic search results often make up only a small portion of the page. Since ads are at the top of the results page, on a device with a relatively small display -- such as a notebook, tablet or smartphone -- the visible organic search results may consist of only one or two items.

This was last updated in September 2013

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