search engine optimization — basics
There are two ways information can appear on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
Sponsored (Paid) Results
Note that these results are clearly labeled "Sponsored." Google makes the bulk of its revenue through these paid search results. SEO does not address getting your content to appear in sponsored (paid) search results.
The other category of search results is the natural or organic search result.
SEO is the process of getting your content to appear near the top of the natural search result list when someone searches for the kind of information that you have published.
80% of users click on one of the first three results. Obviously, your ability to bring in traffic from search depends on getting your content near the top of the SERP when people search for information that you have to present.
Search works. People generally do find content relevant to the search request. From Google's point of view, delivering excellent search results is the crown jewel of the company. Google is a great resource for enhancing your content so that your content can correctly match the appropriate search. Google's engineers are talented and very motivated to spot and stop any attempt to game the system. Google works hard to protect its brand and make search ever better. The best way to benefit from search is to follow the principles of good SEO that are publicly available and promoted by Google.
As your SEO plan expands and matures you may choose to use paid search to help grow your traffic. Paid search is logical part of a marketing campaign but has no direct impact on your position in the organic search results.