Glossary: Organic vs Paid Search Results

Glossary: Organic vs Paid Search Results


Paid Search results are those listings that appear at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) in response to a user’s search query, are paid for by advertisers, and are marked with the word ‘Ad’.

Organic Search results are those listings that appear underneath Paid Search listings on the SERP in response to a users’ search query, are unpaid and are the result of google’s own Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) algorithm.

The organic SEO algorithm is a closely guarded secret by Google and changes on a constant basis.

The Adwords Search Ads ranking algorithm is entirely disclosed by Google for the benefit of Advertisers and, over the years, has changed surprisingly little.



Spending more on Adwords advertising will help your SEO. The SEO and Adwords ranking algorithms are entirely independent of each other – except for the fact that both results are overlaid on the same SERP. Spending more on one system will not affect the other at all.


Intentional Tip

In 2012, Google ran a study that found that ranking number one for both Paid and Organic Search Results resulted in a 50% incremental lift in clicks from Search. In other words, buying a term you already rank number one for on SEO doesn’t cannibalise your SEO efforts, but instead, enhances them.

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