Google explained

There are three sections currently on a Google results page. They are


The ads at the top and bottom. Until mid 2016 it was top and right side.

Google Maps.

This is also Google My Business, Google Plus Local, but let’s call it Maps because there is a map. (We understand the distinctions between these Google products but they aren’t important for this explanation).

Organic search listings

The three areas are shown in the graphic. You can click on any of them to jump to that section below. The key points are:

  • The first page of a Google search result is overwhelmingly the most important
  • You can get business from any of these three sections, or all three. They’re all valuable
  • They all cost money to reach (or time and expertise, which cost money)

Following are the main points to consider for each section.


Google Adwords

  • These ads work. Don’t be biased against them. You might skip the ads when you search but many people don’t, especially the younger generations. The reason you keep seeing them is because they get clicks.  Google makes billions on AdWords, also known as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. Businesses, including those we represent, get a hugely positive ROI from these ads.
  • There is no magic or mystery to this section, unlike the Maps and organic sections. AdWords is a straight money play. If you (or HSD on your behalf) bid the most for a particular search term and have a high quality score, your ad will be in position 1. It’s that simple.
  • AdWords is very controllable. You can spend a little or a lot. It can be on today and off tomorrow.
  • Results are nearly instant. You can be up in the time it takes to set up an account, write ads, and set up your landing page. That is, a few days.
  • AdWords is highly targetable. If you want to gain business in Atlanta and Miami, you can, even if your headquarters is in Poughkeepsie. If you want your ads to appear from 3pm to 5pm EST every weekday, we can do that. If you want to appear for “luxury watches” and not “watches,” we can do that also. And lots more.
  • AdWords is completely trackable. We get way better tools when we open an AdWords account. Google has designed it this way. We can find out which search terms have the most volume, which search terms get the most clicks, which ads work better, how many clicks your ads got and what you paid for each, who called you, who sent in inquiry forms from your page, and lots more. There is an art to designing campaigns and writing ads, but most of what we do is science – actual data – more than intuition and hunches.


Google Maps

  • The top 3 positions are shown. It used to be seven. If you can get there for important searches, you’ll get clicks.
  • If you’re in the top 3, you’ll get more clicks if you have 5 or more reviews of 4 stars or better. When you have 5 reviews, your star rating is displayed. Studies have shown that the one(s) with stars get most of the clicks.
  • These results are highly dependent on where you are sitting when you do the search, even when you use a location modifier such as “plumbers Atlanta Ga.” Google knows where you are via IP address or GPS or both.
  • You do not have any kind of entitlement to a top 3 listing. In a competitive industry in a competitive market, it might not be possible for you for a number of factors. We can tell you whether this is worth the effort and expense in your particular case.
  • If you have a commercial address (you’re not working from home), you most likely have a Maps page. Google’s massive software creates these, whether you have a business website or not. It might be incomplete, inaccurate and unclaimed, but you have a page that we can optimize.
  • If you do have shot at some top 3 placements for high-volume search terms, this effort is cheap, one-time (but worth rechecking once every 6 months), and very valuable.
  • If you don’t hire us to check and possibly fix your Google Maps listing, do NOT hire anyone on an ongoing contract basis. Most of these services actually revert your listing to its previous state if you don’t renew, which is worse than doing nothing. If you hired no one, in 6 months your page would probably be in a better position anyway because Google’s bots revisit and update frequently (like if you move, for example). This page is not a monthly expense and should not be a part of ongoing costs.


Organic search results

  • This is the part of Google that has created the most mystique, intrigue and confusion. It has clouded understanding of the other parts of the results page.
  • Organic results are slower to achieve but they also last longer – indefinitely, with a little bit of ongoing maintenance. It’s like getting in shape – hard to get there if you’re out of shape but not hard to maintain once you’re there.
  • It’s important to understand the right goal with organic search. Otherwise, you could be chasing the wind. It’s really not hard to understand once it’s explained correctly.
  • Here it is: The right goal for organic search is always to achieve a page 1 ranking for the high-volume, relevant searches. That’s it. The high volume, relevant searches are surprisingly concentrated in the top 20 percent of the possible searches for your product or service. We determine what these are before starting SEO work. That doesn’t mean every possible search. It means the keyword combinations that people actually type into the Google search window. Some are obvious, some are not, but it is not guesswork. Google makes these mountains of data available once we sign up. The analysis takes only a couple of hours.
  • With the right goal and accompanying scorecard, and the initial analysis or baseline measurement, we can make a pretty accurate estimate on what it will take to start ranking you for some good terms. It is not a flat rate per month for ever and ever. It is a project with a start and end date, and possible additional phases, but not forever.
  • Once you’re ranking for plenty of good terms, you should not continue paying for something mysterious called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A low-cost monthly rankings check is enough. If your rankings are holding, no more work is needed. If your rankings start to slip, remedial work might be in order.
  • If you have sophisticated or numerous competitors (or both) for these rankings in your market, your site might get eclipsed more quickly in this game of “King of the Hill.”
  • When you have Page 1 rankings, you’ll most likely get clicks. If your website or landing page is awful, you might not get phone calls. We can fix this as well.

We can explain more on the phone, and we go into more details in various other places on this website, including videos. Call 910-452-6345 for more information. One of us will answer the phone. On a rare occasion, you’ll get voice mail, but we’ll call you back within the hour.