Monday, May 12, 2008

Organic Search and Sponsored Links

Every time you use search you get two different search returns. Notice in the picture below that there is an area at the top of the result that has a slightly tan background. Then there is also an area on the right hand side of the screen that has different results. Notice that these two areas are captioned “Sponsored Links”. Much more on that in a bit, but basically these are ads that folks pay to have displayed when the search term you entered is used.

Below the tan background is the Organic – or free – search. Everything I have been talking about so far is used to get you to show up in the free search results.

Some people may avoid the sponsored links results thinking it is tainted by being paid and so it may not be as relevant. I believe that some of the sponsored links results are poor. As an example, some folks make money from Adsense click throughs.

NOTE: A click through is when some one clicks on your ad or search result and is taken to your page.

When a search term or phrase is expensive in the first 2 or 3 spots and inexpensive in the 6th, 7th or 8th spot, some folks will place their sponsored links ad low and then take you to a page which simply shows the sponsored links results again. When you click on one of the sponsored results on their page they get paid by Adsense for the click.

This is basically click fraud and I assume the search engines are all trying to police this activity and stop it. None the less, it damages some people’s opinion of sponsored links because it adds no value. In fact it steals your time.

Regardless of the value of Sponsored Links – and there is great value to be had there – high ranking in free search is very, very valuable and should be everyone’s goal.

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