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Do I have to pay to rank in Google?

I hear it all the time: “Do I have to pay to rank in Google? This article helps bring clarity to free AND paid listings in Google, and points to free, helpful resources for help.

Author: Jeremy Harrison

Updated: September 15, 2021

Do I have to pay to rank in Google?I hear it all the time: “Do I have to pay to rank in Google?”

If you’re one of those folks, you’ll be glad to hear:
NO – You do not have to pay to rank in Google. Many people are able to achieve top rankings in Google without paying them a dime. Great news if you’re on a tight budget!

Free listings in Google are called “organic” listings. They take up the majority of Google’s search engine results page (SERP) – as you can see in the image on the right. More good news: most people click on the first 3-5 organic listings.

So, now you’re probably dying to know:
How to rank in Google – for free!

There are two basic ways you can rank in Google for free:

  1. Make sure your website is optimized for search engines. You’ve probably heard of the term SEO (search engine optimization). Essentially, Google wants to be friends, and there are several things you can do to make your website more “friendly” with Google (who wouldn’t want that?!).

    SEO HELP HERE: It’s important to get SEO right on your website. That’s why we’ve created this free, easy SEO Cheat Sheet to help you along. If you need a little extra help, check out this article about optimizing your website. Or, if you’d like a pro’s personal help, feel free to reach out. We’d like to be friends too!

  2. Create a Google+ page for your company. This is particularly useful if your are a local, brick and mortar business. You will show up in Google search results with the little red pin-point beside your business, so not only will people find your business, you’ll show up on Google Maps. Then, if you have a website, be sure and link it with your Google+ company page.

    GOOGLE+ HELP HERE: We’re working on an article to help you set up a Google+ page. In the meantime, check out Google’s own instructions for setting up Google+ for your company. Or, again, let us know if you need help, and we’d be happy to assist.

We strongly suggest using both strategies in tandem, as good SEO and Google+ pages work together. In fact, this has proved to be a key to our own growth over the years, and we still rely on our free Google rankings to bring in business.

The only downside: Organic / free Google rankings don’t happen overnight. It can take months to get on the first page of Google for the keywords you are targeting. And for some ultra-competitive keywords, you may not be able to do it at all. But if you do it right and manage to get on page one, you’ll really benefit in the long run.

If you need traffic now (or yesterday), you can pay to show up in the “sponsored” section of Google’s SERP with Google AdWords. Since you’re paying to show up, this is a very fast process. Caution: many people get burned with this route. If you don’t have the right strategy in place, or set up your AdWords Campaigns incorrectly, you can burn through cash very quickly with no results.

We strongly recommend consulting with professionals if you are interested in paid search. Again, we’re available to help if you’d like.

So – there you have it! You don’t have to pay to show up in Google, but you can choose to if desired.

Here’s the link again for your free SEO Cheat Sheet to help you along.

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