Last Updated on March 5, 2023

The majority of people use Google, and so this is where we concentrate our SEO efforts. Below outlines the different areas within Google, with an explanation for each.

Google paid listings

Part 1: Paid Adverts (PPC)

Many people believe that Google contains all paid listings, but actually only the part at the top is paid advertising, the rest is free!

  • These paid links show up at the top of the results.
  • They are often labelled with a different colour (either Yellow or Green).
  • Businesses bid per click, paying a certain amount each time a user clicks their link.
  • This can get expensive, ending up in a race to the bottom.
The local map pack in Google

Part 2: Map Listings (Google Local)

These are important for local businesses, that have customers in a certain area. They require a claimed Google My Business listing, which is FREE.

  • Allows customers to call or get directions right from Google.
  • Free with Google My Business listing.
  • Influenced by reviews and business details.
  • Local SEO services make you rank higher (get more customers).
The natural search listings in Google

Part 3: Natural Listings (Google Organic)

This is the main target of SEO, helping your website rank more highly for your search terms. The main influences here are inbound links, social media, and user experience signals.

  • Main free Google listings.
  • Rank higher with SEO services.
  • Links directly to your website.
  • Most cost effective strategy.
google knowledge panel example

Part 4: Knowledge Panel (Google Organic)

This is where Google brings back specific information for a search, instead of simply a selection of useful links.

It comes in the form of definitions (shown in the “Answer Box”), and with specific company or person information (shown in the Knowledge panel on the right of the SERPs).

  • Free part of the Google engine.
  • Requires your entity to match the query well.
  • Definitions must be simple enough for all to understand.
google product carousel

Part 5: Product Carousel

Using Google Merchant Feed and Product data, Google lists products related to the search query in between organic listings.

  • Currently (March 2023) only showing on USA SERPs.
  • Ranking signals are unclear, but potentially related to reviews across retailers, product name search, and CTR.
  • Clicking on a listing shows a product knowledge panel.
google video carousel

Part 6: Video Carousel

Videos showing within Google organic listings, usually Youtube videos related to the query.

google top stories example

Part 7: Top Stories

Recent news stories related to the keyword topic.

Now available for all news articles (previously it was only Google News approved websites). Simply submit to the publications centre here:

twitter carousel serp

Part 8: Twitter Carousel

Google has close ties with twitter, and they use this to offer recent tweet carousels for certain entities within organic search.

Being a popular entity and tweeting often can improve the chances of having a full carousel showing.

recipes carousel google

Part 9: Recipe Carousel

Recipe keywords show receipe carousels at the top, and you can rank here by using appropriate code.

people also ask serp

Part 10: People Also Ask (PAA)

Google shows related questions to your current keyword within organic listings as individual drop downs – clicking on these shows the answer, and allows users to click to view the website showing the answer, or click the question to see more results for that answer.

google shopping ads pla

Part 11: Shopping Ads (PLA)

Part of Google Adwords, but using the Google Merchant Feed data to display product listings at the top of searches.

These ads contain an image, headline, and price.

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