The Search Results page is one of the most confusing aspects of a Google search.
As the time has moved on, the results have changed and its the changes that confuse people. Before Google had advertising, all you say were the results of whatever you searched for. Then came Google ads which preceed the natural results and down the right side of results.
Then Google introduced features alongside the results to help or assist the search like Google Maps, News, Wikipedia information, related searches and so on. Each new element has pushed the natural results further and further down the page. And its a combination of these things that confuses people.
The most confusing part is.. what part of the results are ‘natural’ and what parts are ‘advertising’. During a conversation with a client recently, showed they were very confused, not helped in part by companies selling ‘search engine optimisation’.
OK, lets start at the top and explain what you see in search results.
Typically there are two, sometimes three sections of results:
- Top and right side sections are paid advertisers | Ads related to, Sponsored, Ads
- News | Assisted Results
- Natural Results
None of this is helped by companies calling and introducing themselves as Google, a Google partner or working with Google.
We had a client tell us she believed she was working with Google, when in fact it was a search engine optimisation company in India.
To make matters even worse, they lie and tell people fibs to get the business or retain the business for long periods.
The screenshot below are the results of a search for “mobile phone”.
The important things to notice are the paid advertising (blue blocks), Wikipedia result (red block) News result (green block) before you get to the first natural result bordered in blue. In other words, the natural result featured in the bottom 30% of the screen.
Most people searching do not realise that the results at the top are paid for by advertisers, and thats even though it clearly says they are featured, or ads relating to the search term.
What is the difference between Natural Results and Paid Results?
Money! There is absolutely nothing wrong with an advertiser paying Google to show their advert when they meet the advertisers criteria, usually a set of words as in the example, mobile phone. But, these paid adverts should not be confused with the natural results further down the page. The natural results are also advertisers but not paid advertisers. Their advert is a result of meeting Google’s criteria of good content, and it ranking for the same search term.