You scroll down past the banner ads and enter your search term. You pass by the “sponsored results” without a glance.

You ignore the shaded results to the right, as well as the additional “sponsored results” at bottom. Eureka! Hiding somewhere in the middle of it all are the results you came for.

Welcome to the world of natural search—a world where mom-and-pop shops compete with million-dollar companies, where million-dollar companies compete with billion-dollar corporations. And, while many will argue to the contrary, the playing field is more or less level.

Small companies can, and often do, dominate their behemoth competitors in this world, for a variety of reasons.

What is natural search?

For those who aren't quite clear what the term means, “natural” or “organic” search describes the “editorial” search results on an engine. These results are purported to be completely nonbiased—meaning that the engine will not accept any amount of money to influence the rankings of any sites.

This is quite different from the paid advertising that appears in “sponsored” or “featured” results, in which higher positions are rewarded to the companies willing to pay the most per visitor.

Why is natural search important?

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image of Scott Buresh

Scott Buresh is founder and CEO of Medium Blue, an award-winning search engine optimization company.

LinkedIn: Scott Buresh