It is ranking that isn’t paid for. There, that was an easy post. Done.
If you would like a more in depth explanation, keep reading. First, what is ranking? That means the position you are listed in when you do a search online. So if your website shows up at the top of the list on the first page, then you are ranking number one.
We will talk about a Google search since the majority of searches are done on Google. The top listing on the page does not have the number one ranking. If you notice, in a small yellow box, it says Ad. So that company has paid the highest amount of the advertisers on that page. There are 3 ads above the organic listings and another set of ads in a column on the right side of the page. The ads in the right column are less expensive to buy.
Not always, but generally there will also be the map listings. The map and the map listings move around somewhat. Sometimes it is between the top ads and the first organic listing and other times it is further down. The map used to have 7 marks on it and 7 listings below it. Now the map usually has more dots on it but only 3 listings below it. However, you can click on More at the bottom of the 3 to see others.
Finally we come to the organic listings. There are typically 10 per page. It is important to be on the first page because most people never look on the second page. In fact, most never look past the first 3 listings on the first page. Getting to be on the first page is the point of search engine optimization. It requires doing a number of different things which are full discussions in and of themselves. You need great, authoritative content and lots of it. You need other people to like your website and show it by linking to your website. It also helps if you are listed in the search engines, directories and any other citation sites you can possibly get listed on. You also need to have the website easily readable on mobile devices.
Search Engines use these criteria because they want the user experience to be as good as possible so people will keep coming back and doing searches. They don’t want to have a one page site that is poorly put together with lots of misspellings and lousy content to be the first thing someone sees. They have software that looks at a number of factors about each website. The better the website and the more relevant to the search, the higher it will move up in the rankings.
One last point. Ranking depends on a lot of things. You might do one search and a website will be number one. But with a different search it might be on page 2 or not be found at all. So ranking is very keyword specific.