The Difference Between Paid, Organic & Local Search Results

How do businesses show up on search engines?

Mainly with local search marketing.

When someone enters a query into a search engine like Google or Bing, a variety of results may appear. The most common and important of these results are: paid search, organic search and local search listings. A business which wants to obtain steady and relevant traffic for their website will want to take advantage of all three of these result avenues.

What are paid search listings?

Paid search listings (aka Pay Per Click Advertising or PPC) offer businesses the opportunity to take on another level of control in the battle for relevant traffic. Paid listings are advertisements placed on the search results page. These ads cater to searcher’s words and help searchers find what they are looking for.

Whenever a searcher clicks on a paid listing, the advertiser is charged. The position given to an ad on the results page is calculated by a metric known as Ad Rank. An ad’s Ad Rank is based on a combination of an advertiser’s bid amount and the quality score of the ad. Quality score is determined by factors similar to those calculated by organic algorithms, but these are usually more customizable and controllable in the paid environment.

Lets check the local search marketing in Vancouver for lawyers.

local search marketing vancouver laywers

In the search for “lawyers Vancouver,” the highlighted section in this image shows the paid listings section. In this case, the paid listings are text, and they are shown above the organic listings, but they can appear below organic listings as well.

Paid listings can easily be identified by their green ad label.

Paid listings have multiple formats; these include display, video, and text. It is the job of the PPC specialist to analyze and optimize search advertising so as to ensure a business’s paid listings are profitable and effective.

What are local search listings?

Local search listings are alphabetic pinpoints of local businesses on a Google map. These pinpoints, when clicked or highlighted over in the results, show detailed information on how to contact or visit the local business. Local listings appear when it would be relevant for a searcher to know a location associated with the search they use.

local search marketing vancouver laywers

In our search for “lawyers Vancouver,” the local listings pinpoints can be seen on the map in the right of the screen. Along with these pinpoints, text links are shown (in this case, below the organic listings). When the searcher clicks the map shown, they land on a google maps page where the above-mentioned pinpoints can be browsed. When a searcher clicks a link they go directly to the business’s website. Showing up on a google maps local listing involves having a business profile setup with google.

As you can see,  lawyers (and any business) vying for a visible position need competitive Vancouver local search marketing.

Whether a business will show up on a search results’ map depends on its relevance, proximity, and prominence.

There is Paid Local Search Marketing on the Horizon

Google is also slowly rolling out more and more local search marketing features. Like ads with business inventories in the map results.

walgreens local search marketing ad

Competitive businesses will want local search marketing PPC management to take advantage of Google Maps ads.

What are organic search listings?

Organic search listings can appear above or below paid listings. When a user clicks on an organic listing no one is charged, and the user lands on the listing’s linked website url.  Businesses with a high position on the search results page get large amounts of traffic.

local search marketing vancouver lawyers

In this image, the organic listings resulting from a search for “lawyers Vancouver” are highlighted.

In this particular search, the listings appeared below the paid listings, this is not always the case. Search engines take into account a variety of factors when determining a website’s organic position, a few of which are: keyword relevance, quality content, and backlinks.

Taking advantage of these factors to increase organic ranking is known as SEO, or search engine optimization. Clicks in organic listings do not cost anything, but the time and resources required to create quality content can be expensive.

While SEO is extremely important for a website’s traffic, it can be unpredictable as the algorithms search engines use to determine organic rankings are often changing.

For an extensive infographic chock-full of information about Google’s search results, click here.

Want to be on the Search Results Page?

Paid, organic and local search listings move businesses toward success in the online marketing world.

We focus on the paid side of things, PPC. But we can give suggestions for both SEO and local listings.

If you want local search marketing in Vancouver, we’re your guys. If you want international search marketing, we’re also your guys. That’s because PPC is flexible and we can target whoever and wherever you want.

Give us a shout if you’d like to get expert PPC management.

Read the next PPC Fundamentals article: The Incredible World of Paid Search Marketing