Organic search serp pay per click search engine results page

Organic vs Pay Per Click – A SERP Breakdown

Understanding the rules surrounding search engine optimization can be difficult, especially if you don’t understand the basics. In terms of search engine results there is nothing more basic than ‘SERP’, ‘Organic’ and ‘Pay-Per-Click’ (PPC).

What is a SERP?

When you search a keyword in a search engine like Google, it generates a Search Engine Results Page otherwise known as a ‘SERP’. These results pages are typically filled with two types of links, Pay-Per-Click and Organic.

Pay-Per-Click refers to the paid search results links that sometimes show at the top of the page in a coloured box and almost always show in the narrow right-hand column of your SERP.

Organic results show in wide centre column of the SERP.

Let’s take a look at Organic and Pay Per Click search results, how they work and the advantages they offer Internet users.

What is Organic Search?

So, what is organic search? Organic or natural search results are the listings that are generated by a search engine because they are relevant to the keywords that you searched. Search engines provide these results as a free ‘service’ to customers like you. The links that are shown are generated through a complex series of algorithms in an effort to provide you with webpage results that matter to you.

Showing up in organic search results costs the owners of a website nothing. Google encourages website owners to make sure their pages show up for keywords that are relevant to their business. If a person searches a keyword and clicks your link in the organic search results, your business is getting free traffic.

How it works?

The links with the highest relevance coupled with search engine optimization (the practice of leading Google to your relevant info) wins the results battle and lands at the top of your results page. The first three links on an Organic search are the most likely to be clicked. Having your website in that top three all but guarantees your website’s success.

Statistics say internet users generally click Organic search results, as much as 77% of the time.

What is Pay Per Click Search?

Pay-Per-Click is exactly what it sounds like, paid advertising pure and simple. It’s charged to the advertiser by the click. That’s right, by the click. Every click to a website through Pay-Per-Click sends a charge to the website owner for that re-routing.

Businesses bid on the keywords that they want to show up for. Sometimes a click can cost under a dollar. For valuable keywords, clicks can cost advertisers upwards of $75 per click.

How it works?

The attraction of using Pay-Per-Click is that a business can bid their way to top of a SERP for the desired keywords regardless of their Organic search ranking. This has major implications  for newer websites trying to carve a section out of an existing market or for websites with inexperienced webmasters and administrators.

If your SEO strategy wins the Organic search results competition and you can afford to pay for Pay-Per-Click results on the same keywords, you can develop somewhat of a keyword monopoly on the subject matter and then you can drive some serious traffic to your website.

Keep watching for our next article on Search Engine Optimization: The Importance of Content where we’ll cover some of the details on how to start winning some organic search results from your competitors. Happy surfing!