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Differences in Rankings: Paid V. Organic

There is a great deal of talk about organic search results when you look into search engine optimization, be that in the blogs you read, the feeds, the news articles- you see this phrase quite alot. What I have, however noticed is that nobody really lays it out, what it is, what the differences between paid and organic really are. This is because for the most part, people writing marketing and search engine optimization content do so for other SEO professionals. But what about the small business owners, or the other people out there who might be just dipping a toe into the internet marketing pool? The reason that I go into some of these things is I think that it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge- and I hope to provide that.

First of all, what organic search results are, are those that sort of &quot;just happen&quot;- but the truth is, they don’t <em>just happen. </em> There is a great deal more to it than simply putting together a webpage and publishing it to the internet. We’ve been over that a few times now, about how important it is to create a website and having content and backlinks- this is all a part of how you can bring about a better organic search result. What this is, is unpaid, or algorithmic search results. When you’ve got a site on the top of the results early on, the higher up it is, the more visitors it gets- this makes sense, it’s right there, so it is more attractive to searchers. So, when I or anyone else is discussing “organic results”, this is what is being referred to- that algorithm, and the things that you do to make sure that it works for you, and in your favor. There are a variety of ways to do this, such as utilizing HTML, different things in your website design and development, content management systems- the list grows more and more every day, really.

And of course, paid results are results which you pay for- however, it does not end there. There is a great deal of controversy and confusion amongst some who claim that search engines DO offer favors for those who pay top dollar, thus far, this has not been definitively proven by anyone and most search engines deny this is a practice. Either way, though- a 2004 iProspect study showed that “Across the 4 search engines – Google, Yahoo! MSN and AOL — 60.5% clicked on an organic search result, while 39.5% clicked on a paid search advertisement.” Fast forward to 2008? Google’s Avinash Kaushik stated that 14% of Google clicks are on paid search ad and 86% of clicks are on organic search results.

So, while yes, using paid or pay per clicks is a good thing, it should not be the only thing. It may seem tempting, and it may seem like less work, but ultimately you will find that building up a decent organic ranking is much more worthwhile.