Difference between PPC and Organic SEO listings (2005 vs. 2019)

What is the Difference between Google Paid Listings & Organic Search Listings?

*** This post was done originally in 2005! How much has changed in 14 years? Not much and a ton at the same time.  

Google Paid Ads vs. Google Organic SEO

Some lawyers are confused by the difference between the pay per click (PPC) sponsored listings and the free organic listings at Google, Yahoo, and other top search engines.

The free or “organic” search listings at Google are listed on the left side of the page and the sponsored PPC listings are located on the right side of the page under “sponsored links” and sometimes at the very top of the page, right above the organic listings.

—> 2019 Update….. The organic listings are still in the same place, but the paid ads are also on the left side of the page, usually above the organic listings and the map local listings.  

Organic listings take time and effort to achieve and are usually a result of a legal web site that has a lot of good content, is listed in the Yahoo and Open directories and has a lot of links pointing to it from other sites.

*** 2019 update — This is still true and actually organic rankings take a LOT of time and way more then they used to take. It’s much harder to achieve organic rankings at Google.        Yet the having good content, being listed in top business directories and having a lot of relevant and authority links is still the key to ranking higher in the Google organic listings. 

The pay per click or sponsored listings are a result of web sites that bid a certain amount per click on a keyword. The higher the bid, the higher the ranking. Even though at Google its a little bit of a different bidding process then at Overture. At Overture, its simply a matter of whoever bids higher, gets the higher listing, where at Google, its a combination of different criteria including amount bid.


**** 2019 update —- Who the F is Overture?!?!  They used to be the main player in town as far as pay per click went, way back when!  Then Yahoo bought them a while back.  Now the main players in pay per click are Google ads and Bing/Yahoo ads, as well as Facebook ads, Pinterest ads and Instagram ads.  

Obviously you want to be listed in the organic listings because its like the gift that keeps on giving and you don’t have to pay every time someone clicks on your site.  Yet it takes time to get the free listings and sometimes you have no choice but to pay extra to visitors to your legal web site. Some lawyers do both, get great organic listings but then also pay for the sponsored links to cover all bases.

**** 2019 update —-  Organic listings and traffic from Google is still the gift that keeps on giving.  Getting top rankings is more important than ever.   Also, it’s the same thing where sometimes you must do paid ads if you want any traffic because you dont have good enough organic listings.   

Also you might have top rankings for most of your keywords, but you still might want to do some paid advertising if you really want to be aggressive and get more brand recognition.

SEO for Lawyers in 2019 Conclusion

The key in 2019 for Lawyers who want to do Attorney SEO Marketing, which by the way should be literally 100% of all lawyers.  The key is that you first want to make sure that Google trusts your Brand.

Your brand name is your firm name, SO you want to get your brand out there in a number of ways.

With link building, you want to make sure that the anchor text of the links pointing to your site are your brand name and going to your home page.

Then once you build up your authority and trust with Google, then you can create some Power Pages and then get more links that point to these pages.  Then you will want to some partial and exact match anchor text but not that many and not until you first establish your brand and home page links.

This can take 6-12 months or more and is a never-ending process.    One thing you want to focus on with your main pages is to create a lot of visuals like images, videos and infographics.   If you are a personal injury attorney, you want to create visuals to explain how the personal injury process works.

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