Chris London | Sales - Marketing - Consulting

Understanding how Search Engines work and the differences between Paid, Organic and Map listings

There are three core components of the Search Engines Results page:

  1. Paid/PPC Listings
  2. Map Listings
  3. Organic Listings

Paid/PPC Listings

In the paid section of the search engines you can select keywords which are relevant to your business, and then pay to be listed amongst the search results. The reason it is referred to as PPC or Pay-Per-Click is because rather than paying a flat monthly or daily fee for placement, you simply pay each time someone clicks on the link.

Map Listings

The map listings have become very important because they are the first thing that comes up in search results for most locally based searches. If someone searches for some particular service in your area, chances are the map listings will be the first thing they look at. Unlike the paid section of the search engine, you can’t buy your way into the Map Listings – you must earn it. Once you do, there is no per-click cost associated with being in this section of the search engine.

Organic Listings

The organic/natural section of the Search Engine Results page appears directly beneath the Map Listings in many local searches but appears directly beneath the Paid Listings in the absence of the Map Listings (the Map Section only shows up in specific local searches). Similar to the Map Listings, you can’t pay your way into this section of the search engines and there is no per-click cost associated with it.

Now that you understand the three major components of the Search Engine Results and the differences between Paid Listings, Map Listings and Organic Listings you might wonder… “What section is the most important?”

The fact is all three components are important, and each should have a place in your online marketing strategy because you want to show up as often as possible when someone is searching for your service offerings in your area.

Return On Investment

With that said, assuming you are operating on a limited budget and need to make each marketing pound count, you need to focus your investment on the sections that are going to drive the strongest Return On Investment (ROI).

Research indicates that the vast majority of the population looks directly at the Organic and Map Listings when conducting a search, and their eyes simply glance over the Paid Listings.

So, if you are operating on a limited budget and need to get the best value out of your money, start by focusing your efforts on the area which gets the most clicks at the lowest cost. We have found placement in the Organic and Map section on the Search Engines drives a SIGNIFICANTLY higher Return On Investment than Pay-Per-Click Marketing.

Begin with the Organic Listings and then, as you increase your profits, you can start to shift those pounds into a proactive Pay-Per-Click Marketing effort.

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