What are the Three Types of Search Results?

  • June 12, 2024
  • Bradley Taylor

what are the different types of search result?

Search engines will display results three main ways. These are organic search results, local business search results, and sponsored search results. We will break what each of them are in this article.

Sponsored Search Results

These results are usually shown at the top and bottom of the page and have a little tag next to them that says “sponsored” or “Ad” (See red rectangle marked as “A” on screenshot featured above). People set up advertising accounts where they deposit money and then bid on placement.

We have found our clients have received mixed results from these type of campaigns. Some actually notice an uptick in sales whereas others don’t. I have seen accounts run through hundreds of dollars in clicks and not be able to account for one sale from the campaign.

Yes, it’s considered a “shortcut” to get traffic flowing but the results of the campaign may not be what you were expecting. Sponsored search is the least valuable of the three types of search results. Even though Google and other engines do their best to blend them in with natural search results, many people see that “Ad” or “Sponsored” tag and instantly tune that result out.

Local Business Search Results

On the screen shot at the top of the page, these type of results are found in the blue rectangle marked as “B”. These are results that are ranked using two metrics. The first metric is location. How close is this business to where you are physically located? The second metric is based on the reviews that the business has garnered. The overall total number of reviews and the average rating (stars) that the business has will determine this placement.

However, there are variables to how these business results show up that we cannot account for. We have seen a business which is physically closer to us, has more reviews and a higher rating than a competitor and yet somehow still shows up higher than that competitor. Factors may include recent feedback vs. older feedback, business hours, or “friend-brigading”, ie., when a business gets all of their friends to leave a positive review for them.

Organic Search Results

These are the search results which show up under the business listings and do not have “ad” or “sponsored” tags next to them. These results are considered the most important by many search engine optimizers. This is because polls have shown that around 85% of people click the organic search results over any type of ad or sponsored result.

what are organic search results

Although we can manage a sponsored campaign for you, organic search optimization is our bread & butter. We are able to get tremendous results for our clients by getting them to the top of first page.

The process for achieving these results is pretty straight forward and consists of:

  1. Optimizing the back end of the site. This includes meta tags and tag descriptions.
  2. Improving the loading speed of the website.
  3. Building unique and relevant content on the website.
  4. Placing unique content on other websites pointing to the client’s website.

It’s a task which requires balancing the approach as well as paying attention to search engine algorithm changes. We have 20+ years of experience, so search engine optimization is something we feel we have down to a science at this point.


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