Although paid listings are displayed in different areas of a Search Engine’s results page than organic listings, most consumers do not readily distinguish the two. The big difference (especially to online advertisers) is that when you click on one type of ad- someone is paying for it.
Paid results can be implemented and adjusted rather quickly (via Search Engine Marketing/Advertising), while organic listings are more of a long term result of a site’s efforts (gained through actions such as Search Engine Optimization). The cost per click for paid ads vary depending on several factors, ranging from the price of the product being advertised to the amount of competition on that item. Regardless of the factors involved, an ad listed in this area is never free for the online advertiser. As a common courtesy to fellow site owners, click on a paid ad only with the intent of making a purchase from the site. If you want to view the site without this intention, simply type the domain name (appearing at the bottom of the ad) into the url to pay the site a visit this way instead.
Paid Listing Locations on Major Search Engines
The consensus for many PPC ad results is that they are usually located at the top of the page in a rectangular shaded area, and also on the right hand column of a site. In those two areas, you will see text identifying that it is a paid listing, with the wording varying slightly on each Search Engine. (If there is less than a page of ad results for a search term, ads will only appear on the right hand column). Organic listings usually appear on the left-hand, non-shaded area of a Search Engine.
|Search Engine:||PPC Ad Location, Under:|
|MSN Search||Sponsored Sites|
(Like Google, MySpace searches also appear under Sponsored Links.)
Consumers aware of the different ad locations vary in opinions as to which results they click on after searching for an item. Some feel more inclined to click on paid results, with the realization that the company is spending money to market that item. Others feel that an organic result is more reliable and trustworthy. When growing and maintaining an online business, both paid and organic search results are an important factor in increasing traffic and gaining overall sales. Any and every click is a visitor with the potential of becoming your customer!
-Stacie Leonard, Ecommerce Marketing/Copywriting