Organic Vs. Paid Listings At Google
Don't be confused when someone "guarantees" you first page placement at Google. In these situations they're either using unethical methods or they are simply placing you in the paid listing section. This is quite different than obtaining first page ranking in the organic listings, which numerous studies have shown account for 70% of visitor traffic from the search engines.
Screen Capture showing different organic and paid listing positions at Google
The screen capture above shows various ways in which your site's listing might show up in the search engine results pages at Google. There are important differences between each of the placement types.
The five main types of listing placements on the Search Engine results pages (SERPs) include:
- Organic Listings - primary match
- Site Links
- Organic Listings - additional match
- Top Placement in Paid Listings
- Additional Paid Listings
1. Organic Listings - primary match
Because 70% of all people who conduct a search skip over or bypass the paid listings (surrounded by the red borders in the above example), when someone conducts a search for your particular offerings, the ideal outcome occurs when your web site shows up in the top position of the search engines within the organic listings (surrounded by the green border in the above example). Because it is only human nature to save time and energy, if your listing is both in the top position organically, and if the Title and Description for that listing match the search phrase, more people will click on that very first organic entry than any other listing in the results. This then is the ideal best outcome and our primary goal when performing search engine optimization services for our clients.
2. Site Links
On occasion when performing a search at Google you may notice that the first result in the organic listings will not only include the standard Title, description and web address, but also you will see below that several additional links for other pages within that site. These are referred to as Site Links (or the official name "sitelinks"). Contrary to some people's belief, there is no way to request or pay for these additional links for your site other than through consistent high quality ethical optimization across your entire site.
You obtain these links for one or more of your keyword phrases as a result of Google's determining that your site in general has become a truly authoritative web site from an optimization perspective - the more pages on your site that are ideally optimized, and the more those pages come up consistently in high positions in search results for their own unique keyword phrases, the more likely you will find those additional pages linked below your site's primary listing for a particular phrase.
It's Google's way of attempting to assist people doing a search so that they will have quick navigation to get to specific pages other than the page related to the primary search phrase. In the case above, we have devoted hundreds of hours of optimization work to the client site over a two year period - and the Site Links Google has established are based on the fruits of that labor.
3. Organic Listings - additional match
If your site is properly optimized, and if more than one page on your site matches a particular search phrase closely enough, Google will most often present that additional page in the search results. The less accurately that page matches the exact phrase, the lower in the listings it will show up. The more closely that additional page matches the search phrase, the higher up in the results that page will appear as well. So you might have one entry show up on the first page at Google, but if you click through subsequent pages you may find a 2nd entry 10, 20 or more results places down. In the above example, our work resulted in both the client's home page and their California specific details page coming up in the #1 and #2 position at Google.
4. Top Placement in Paid Listings
If the bid price you set for a particular phrase is high enough, and if your ad and that particular phrase match the actual organically optimized web page the ad links to is of high enough quality, your ad in tech paid listings will more likely end up in the top of the paid listings areas for that phrase.
5. Additional Paid Listings
There may be times when you aren't willing or able to pay for top position in the paid listings, or you may not have a high enough quality relationship between the ad / keyword phrase and the landing page the ad links to on your site. In these situations, you will find your ad show up on the right side of the search results pages. It might show up on the first page on the right side, or it could very easily show up on the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th page of results.