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Difference between Organic and Paid Search Results

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There is one very important lesson every digital marketer should always keep in mind: SEO should not be the only part of a digital marketing strategy.

Sure, SEO is the least expensive means to generate a lot of traffic to your website. But no website should rely only on organic results for its inbound traffic. Digital marketing should always have a mix of various online marketing techniques, and SEO is just one of them.

We'll be looking at various online marketing and lead generation techniques from here on, but let's start with the most complementing one to organic search - paid search.

As we've seen before, organic search results are what we see in the main area of Google's SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) - the ten blue links, typically as they are called. Google doesn't charge money from any webmaster to include their web pages in these organic results. These are also called "natural listings".

Their counterparts, paid results, on the other hand, are basically advertisements shown right on top above the organic results. Okay now, let me talk about how exactly the paid search works. But first, let us know the differences between organic search and paid search - from the viewpoint of a business webmaster.

Read also: 5 Beginner Mistakes Most Small Businesses Make in SEO

The Difference between Organic and Paid Search Results

Cost - Organic results are technically free of cost. You don't pay Google for listing your website. But you need to pay Google every time your paid listing gets clicked on.

Time - Ranking in organic results can take really long, particularly for high competition keywords. It's a long term process. But you can immediately get your website on top of Google's paid results, provided you pay Google and meet a few other requirements.

Control over keywords - As a webmaster, you don't have control over which keywords you're ranking for. It's totally up to Google. With paid results, you can target and rank for specific, pre-defined keywords.

Control over landing pages - You can't control which of your website's pages should be ranking for a given query. With paid results, you can set the landing pages, so that a user searching for a specific query always lands on your preferred page.

Control over the campaign - With organic results, you have a relatively lesser amount (and kinds) of data with you to monitor, measure, and tweak your campaigns. Google Adwords offers a lot more information such as the number of times your ad has been viewed by searchers, the number of times it was clicked on, how many of those clicks resulted in a conversion, and so on.

Traffic Potential - In comparison, ranking in organic results usually bring much more traffic than ranking in paid results does. If a website organically ranks on top for a specific query, it is likely to rank for many other related queries (long tails, variations of the query, etc.) and has a much wider reach. In paid results, the reach is typically restricted by the budget and the keywords that one targets.

Conversions - Provided you're doing it right, the traffic that comes through paid search is likely to convert more than the traffic coming through the organic search. Paid search also makes it possible for webmasters to optimize the "path of conversion" (from ad, landing page all the way to the sales page), thereby enabling them to better control the conversion rate.

Read also: The Importance of Commenting in Forums for SEO

Every business has unique goals and certainly different marketing plans. And the paid search can prove to be a great tool for generating business leads.

But, how exactly does paid search work?

How Paid Results are Ranked

Just like organic search results, Google has a separate algorithm in place for paid search results as well. While the organic search results are sorted purely on the grounds of editorial merits, paid search results are ranked based on a completely different set of metrics.

Apparently, payment is a dominant factor. The more you're willing to pay for a given click, the more likely it is that your ad will show up towards the top. But Google also considers a bunch of other factors in the ad ranking process. ` Will deal with them soon.

Before we move on, remember that a search query is not inherently "paid" or "organic" in nature. For every search, there is a dedicated algorithm working to return the organic results, and a different one to return paid results.

Every time a search query is submitted to Google, its paid search algorithm automatically runs a quick "auction" among its advertiser accounts. These advertiser accounts have pre-determined lists of keywords, along with a "bid" limit associated with each keyword. Once the accounts with the matching keywords are found, the algorithm then sorts them based on their bid limits and a number of other factors, finally returning the top ads on the first page of SERPs in the order of their priority. After designing a new website the best option to rank for the targetted keyword is paid search results.

All of these happen within the duration of a few milliseconds, and billions of times every day.

Listen to the Podcast: Organic Vs Paid Search Results - Learn with Meg