SEO for Small Business – The difference between paid and organic search results

Paid Organic Search Difference

When someone goes to Google and types a query in the search box, they get two types of results: organic and paid. So what’s the difference between the two? Read on to find out.

Paid Search Results

“Paid” results are basically advertisements that businesses have paid for. These results are located on the right-hand side of the search results, and (sometimes) at the top of the left-hand side as well, inside a pale yellow box. This is done through a Google program called “Adwords”. Businesses create ads and then bid against one another for top position on the search page for a particular keyword phrase. The one that bids the highest is shown first. They pay Google every time someone clicks on their ad. Businesses like paid ads for two main reasons:

  • They can get on the first page for keywords they aren’t ranking well for in the organic results.
  • They have complete control over what their ad says. Unlike the organic result descriptions, which Google pulls from various places on the website page, the paid results can be worded for maximum sales effect.

Organic Search Results

“Organic” results are the free ones. These appear on the left-hand side of the page, underneath any paid results which show up at the top inside a pale yellow box. These are the results that Google feels are the best option for the searcher, based on the search term they entered. Google uses complex algorithms to determine this (see our previous blog post on factors that influence ranking). Generally, ten organic results are shown on each page, so being in the “top ten” of the organic search results is important – people will almost always start at the top and click the first result that sounds promising. As you can see, the cheapest way to get a steady stream of traffic from Google is to optimize your website so that it ranks well in the organic search results. This takes keyword research and an understanding of where and how to place your keywords on the pages of your website.

Organic vs Paid Search Results – Click to enlarge

Now that you know the difference between paid and organic search listings, it’s time to understand the difference between on-page and off-page SEO

2 thoughts on “SEO for Small Business – The difference between paid and organic search results”

  1. Lisa Ballinger

    Excellent post for newbies who aren’t sure of what the different elements of google pages are. Keep up the good work.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top