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Organic versus Paid For search results

A Google search generates two types of result – organic and paid for (advertisements) search results .

Paid for results are the ones that come up at the top of the page and have a small “Ad” in green before the url. They appear because someone has paid to have a their site appear when a certain search term is used.

Organic results are the remaining results on the page which appear because they are what Google deems relevant to your search term.

These tools you can use when designing your website and online marketing strategy to make yourself discoverable online.

You can achieve organic or natural searches through some hard work and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). The alternative, to get your ad to the top quickly, is to use paid for advertising or Pay Per Click (PPC). Each method has benefits and drawbacks, but in the long run, you want to rank organically. This means your content is closely related to what the user is looking for and they are more likely to visit your website as a result. A further benefit is that you don’t have to pay for organic results, some adverts can be ridiculously expensive for competitive search terms, organic results can potentially save you thousands.

However if you’ve got the budget and time is an issue, you can skip the queue can just right to the top of the results page.

Organic versus Paid search results organic Table
Organic versus Paid search results paid Table


While paid for search results are effective in the short term (if you have the budget), they are costly and less effective than organic search results in the long run. You can quickly obtain a high ranking, but if your content isn’t relevant and your website isn’t well built this will not translate into the business and your ranking will drop as soon as you stop paying. Organic search results build your credibility and show your customer that you are actually relevant to their search. Even better, it’s free advertising.

Why not both?
It can, however, be an effective strategy to use paid for search results in conjunction with organic results, while you work on improving your content & SEO to keep your rank up.