What are paid results? What are organic results? How can you rank higher on Google? Read on to learn more.

Google logo and silhouettes

Paid results

Paid results are the results you see when you search something on Google and ads appear. For example, if you search tropical vacation, you’ll see above all the search results some ads in a little box. Whatever website appears in the advertisement box paid Google to appear there.

If you want to appear as a paid search result, you have to create called a PPC or pay-per-click campaign. You bid on the price that you will pay if someone clicks your ad. For example, if I want to appear on the top results for toasters, I might bid so that every time someone clicks a link and goes to my toaster e-commerce, I pay $1. You also set a maximum number of clicks. To continue with my example, I might say that I’m not willing to spend more than $20 per day on my PPC campaign,  so I would set my daily maximum price at $20. If someone sees my ad for toasters but doesn’t actually click it, I won’t have to pay anything. It’s only when they actually click on the ad and visits my website that it costs me money.

Paid results for search term “toaster”

Paid results can be effective but they can get expensive quickly. If most of the people that click your ad are just comparison shopping and they aren’t sure they want to buy, paid ads to increase your traffic without actually increasing your sales. Or people might click by mistake. That means that Google gets ad revenue, but all you get is wasted dollars and useless clicks by someone who isn’t interested in your product. Plus once you’ve gotten the clicks you paid for, no one finds your website. Unless you have a huge budget, you’ll be able to afford only a few paid clicks each day.

The best part about paid results is just that they get you to the top of Google quickly. If you’re willing to pay a lot per click, people will find your business right away. You don’t have to have a website that’s older or with a good reputation. All you have to do is be willing to pay money to get clicks.

Organic clicks and search results

Organic clicks occur when a customer clicks on your website because you appeared as the top google search result without paying for any ads. When I search for “toaster”, these are the first three websites that I see.

Top 3 organic results for search term “toaster”

They aren’t there because they paid for ads. They appear first because Google thinks that they are very relevant to my search terms.

Optimizing for organic clicks can be extremely powerful. If you are ranked number one for “buy glasses” or “tropical vacation” or “toaster” or whatever it is your business is centred around, you’re likely to make a large amount of money from sales. One of the reasons for this is that most people (in fact around 90%) never go past the first page of Google search results. If you’re on page two, you might as well not exist.

So how do you get those organic clicks? There are a few methods of improving your ranking on Google and therefore the number of organic clicks you receive.

  1. Relevant content

Google ranks websites by analyzing how relevant it thinks they are for certain keywords. For example, an online optometry website might be very relevant for the search term “buy prescription glasses”, somewhat relevant for “Dior sunglasses” and not at all relevant for “wine glasses”. Google uses a proprietary algorithm to scan every website on the Internet and try to determine what it’s about. If a website isn’t built correctly, it prevents Google from doing this, which means its Google rank will be very low. If Google can’t figure out what product or service you sell, it won’t think you’re relevant for any keyword, therefore you will disappear from the search results.

Relevant content, in this case, means text and images that relate to whatever you’re selling. So blogs post about how to use your product or a description of the services you offer, these are all important elements that allow Google to rank you correctly. But there’s more to it than that.

  1. Tags and other HTML

There are certain things that can make it easier for Google to analyze your website and figure out what it’s about. For example, anything you put in an <H1> tag is considered a title. Google will attribute more importance to titles in order to figure out what your website is about.

If your site is badly coded or badly designed, Google might not be able to index it at all. This will cause a huge drop in your search ranking.

This website is poorly designed, so Google can’t index it.

  1. Backlinks

Google’s search algorithm was revolutionary because it didn’t just care about what was on your website, it also cares what other websites think of your website. Before Google invented their PageRank algorithm, search engines were really bad at figuring out which sites were relevant and which weren’t. The only thing old search engines cared about was the number of keywords on your page. It was very easy to cheat the system. If you sold running shoes and just wrote running shoe running shoe running shoe running shoe running shoes on your page in a white font on a white background over and over, you would end up with a high rank. That doesn’t work anymore.

Google’s revolutionary idea was to rank websites at least in part based on how many other websites link back to them. That means that if your product was reviewed by the New York Times and Forbes and Business Insider, Google will assume that it’s a reputable product because those are all reputable sources. If your product was only reviewed by some guy’s unpopular blog, or worse, no one at all, Google will rank you much lower. This means the Google search results tend to be accurate because they are good at gauging what people actually like and are interested in.

  1. Domain Authority

Google cares about the age of your website. If you created www.tropicalvacations.com yesterday, you won’t have as much domain as someone who created their website 5 years ago. Unfortunately, there’s really no easy fix except time for this one.