• David Dubrino

    I feel like the thought by users that the first results in the organic listings are spam is still a widely held belief.

  • http://twitter.com/spizore Chris Spore

    What % of Goog’s (paid) search volume and rev, all-in, comes from branded iterations vs non? Guessing 40% volume is from some branded iterations, rev is 15-20%.

  • http://www.asifism.com Commie B

    This is convenient. For many businesses, clicks don’t mean anything. They’re just a metric. Send me customers and I’ll advertise without any qualms.

  • http://www.livinginthailand.net/ Neale

    Interesting data and something I need to dig deeper into thanks.

  • http://www.ramkrshukla.com/ Ram Shukla

    Works when you have competitors paid rankings on top 3 just above the organic SERPs

  • http://twitter.com/3dpt Peter Saal

    More clicks is meaningless. More conversions is what counts. This research is a sleight of hand that make advertisers look at the wrong data. Lots of people mindlessly click on the first result. So what?

  • Brad Russell

    “Surprisingly, even when brands’ organic terms are ranked number one, they get 50% more clicks, on average, when there’s an accompanying paid search ad.” – I thought it would be in the 20-30% range not 50%. Very interesting stats indeed.

  • Stephen Ornelas

    Here are some interesting numbers regarding organic placement on the first page of #Google, #SponsoredLinks, #Adwords, & the map section #GooglePlaces.

  • Simon Berenyi

    It’s very easy to get seduced by clicks, when as mentioned above it is the conversions that count. The figures relating to how many clicks turn into a call etc, would make interesting reading. Does anyone know of any such studies, and where to view them?

  • elison manjobo

    As much as this study highlights the impact of this on clicks it is important to note that , this is where it all begins. No clicks = no one to convert. IMO if you have the first ranking and want to run paids ads as well its worth your while to make sure that your web pages are optimized for conversions

  • http://twitter.com/Largeron Largeron Maurice

    Conversion rate vary from 2%, 3 % on average but it depends on your industry mainly..You can find some metrics here :  http://index.fireclick.com/

  • http://twitter.com/custcontapps customercontactapps

    @Simon, you’re absolutely right and indeed clicks are just a metric. For Google on the other these clicks are just a little more than just that. Also consider the bounce rates and high CPC (especially B2B). Depending on what business you’re in you should try comparing a campaign on a vertically-integrated advertising platform with usually lower CPC and high relevant target audience.

  • http://www.askforeman.com/ Stephen Foreman

    I’m not surprised on this to be honest, the majority of Google users when you watch them searching click on paid adverts at the top rather than scrolling down to organic search results. I think in general it’s a lack of user awareness that they are clicking on an advert rather than an organic search result.

    In the old days, adverts were clearly visible and Google changed the background colour to be barely visible on most screens. This obviously increased the number of clicks and the revenue for Google.

    The bigger question is, are brands paying more for people to click on their adverts when the user may have scrolled down to find the organic link anyway? I guess this would be more apparent with specific brands that are only available from certain retailers than generic products which can be purchased from anywhere. 

    An interesting study would be: Do brands actually have a reduction in sales by removing the advertising if they still have a #1 SERP result, OR do they still get the same number of sales/conversions just from different sources.

    After all, Google actually restrict advertisers if the keywords aren’t in the advert and can deny adverts if the advert implication to the user doesn’t match the landing page.

    Interesting stuff….

  • http://www.marcensign.com/blog Marc Ensign

    If it’s merely about clicks all you have to do is open your website and refresh the screen all day or buy some traffic on Fiverr for a couple of bucks and your stats will be through the roof!  Job well done!  What about the quality of traffic?  Conversion rate?  Etc.  I would rather have 100 people visit my site that are looking for the solution that I provide than 1,000,000 with their arms folded ready to bounce off my site because they are not seriously looking for anything I have to offer or they are in the wrong place to begin with.  

  • http://joelaz.com Joe Lazarus

    I’ve tested this a number of times for various sites. Paid plus organic can result in more clicks, but the incrental revenue from paid rarely justifies the incremental cost. Often, the problem is that the headline text for the organic listing isn’t optimized for clicks. For example, many companies fail to lead their organic page title for the brand term listing with their brand keyword. Companies also often don’t realize that they can prevent other advertisers from using a trademarked term in competing ad copy by filing a complaint with Google. If you optimize your organic result and prevent other companies from using your keyword in their ads, you’re probably better off sacrificing a few clicks and using those ad dollars elsewhere.

  • http://twitter.com/wfernandez William Fernandez

    This seems like something that I would have read back in 2003. More clicks doesn’t matter and organic traffic generally converts at a much higher rate than sponsored results.

  • Ecreativeworks ECW

    I haven’t read the full study, but based on the info quoted in this article, it seems like the language of this article is misrepresenting the research pretty strongly.

    Title: “If You Rank #1 Organically, You Can Double Your Clicks With Paid Search” — it sounds like Google research is saying that if you rank #1 organically, 50% of paid clicks are new clicks that you didn’t get from your organic listing (implying that 50% are cannibalizing, by the way). The title of this post seems clearly factually incorrect.

    “even when brands’ organic terms are ranked number one, they get 50% more clicks, on average, … ” According to the graphic inserted, this is not the case. They’re saying that 50% of your *paid* clicks are new (not cannibalizing), not necessarily that you’ll get 50% *more* clicks than you already do with organic position #1 — unless that was something else from the research that you didn’t report in this article?

  • searchpro922

    The article states a 50% increase in clicks, but the title says doubling the clicks. A doubling of clicks would be a 100% increase.

  • http://twitter.com/NickStamoulis Nick Stamoulis

    “nixing the paid ads would result in a 89% drop in clicks”

    I feel like you have to take that number with a grain of salt. Remember, Google wants site owners to invest in PPC because that is where a bulk of their revenue comes from. Personally, I like using PPC for branded keywords because I think it provides a better return. I’d rather pay for someone to click on my banner when I know they are already looking for my company.

  • Jerome Hoffman

    OK.  Well, don’t show up and give up your market-share to your competitors. You and many other business owners wish that it is that easy.  Unfortunately for you, the buying cycles for consumers have changed dramatically – they now have tools at their disposal (reviews, recommendations, blogs, etc…) that enable the buyers to be much more savvy and discretionary when choosing a business to work with.  If you are doing good business and treating your customers well, the rewards are there.  If does take, however, exposure to these potential customers first.  the days of good placement in Yellow Pages being all that you needed is gone. Pull your head out of the sand or your business will be left behind by your competitors who understand that Search Engines is where consumers begin the buying journey.    

  • http://www.facebook.com/Rgbrownii Robert Brown

    Know your market and where it’s going.  Yellow pages are dead -in a recent survey of my customers only 1/3 had one and none had used it in over a year.  I track referrals – yellow pages 0, newspapers, 0.  Direct mail few, Prospects come to me in this order: #1 personal referral by existing customer, #2 email marketing, #3 Google.   Flash Sale sites are up and coming but you have to be careful which one you use.  

  • http://www.asifism.com Commie B

    LOL. PPC advertising might work for some business models – it does not work for all. I think it helps to know your demographic and their buying habits. Generally speaking, all forms of advertising are really quite rubbish – you cannot measure their efficiency. The same, to some extent, applies to PPC, unless you are selling online – whether in the form of a product or service. And even then, with services, if you are selling a sophisticated B2B product, getting found is not the real problem – closing the business is. 

    Seriously, can you confidently say that big business uses SalesForce as a CRM over the competition because they found it on Google first?

  • http://www.asifism.com Commie B

    Would the way Google presents them have something to do with it?

  • d_a_t

    The click might be mindless, but the search probably wasn’t. If someone is searching for your brand then you probably want them to go to your website. If conversion is an issue for your brand terms, then maybe your brand is what needs work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1083661109 Lizzie Greene

    This is really quite simple for e-commerce sites.  For one month, bid on a cpc keyword that you rank #1 for organically.  For many sites, this can be your brand name.  After the month, do this computation:  Organic Revenue for keyword + CPC Revenue for Keyword – cost of CPC clicks for keyword.  Next month, don’t bid on the keyword.  Compare the organic revenue from this month vs. the organic and paid (minus costs) from the first month.  Whatever number is higher should dictate your strategy.  Don’t worry about the numbers that Google publishes when you can (very easily) determine the reality for your business and site.  

  • d_a_t

    It seems like too many people are drinking the “clicks don’t matter” kool-aid. The average value of a click, whether it be in sales, email sign-ups or whatever success metric you’re using, can be calculated and applied to figure out how much you can afford to spend. If it’s not profitable, it’s not profitable, but disregarding the potential for more traffic just because it doesn’t come with guaranteed conversions is foolish. What in life does?

  • Joseph koury

    Know your market. In some markets, Yellow Pages are alive and well. Depends where you live. Business industry and size has a lot to do with what marketing will work for you. I run into potential clients who have yet to get an email address, and their business is doing just fine without it. Would I always suggest to them to get on Google Maps, SEM and SEO?? yes…but some markets are still behind the times.

  • Joseph koury

    Most companies that do SEM can track your calls for you and even do call recording. How many calls are actually leads and not general inqueries is the question to be asking. The best way to do it is to sign up with a small budget for a few months with a Google SEM Partner, track your calls, at the end of the month, determine your LEADS per dollar and decide if it is worth it to double or triple your leads by double or tripling your budget set.

  • http://twitter.com/NatalisWorld Natalie Vasilyev

    If paid search wasn’t effective, why would large advertisers like SalesForce spend so much money investing into that media? I might agree on fact that paid search is not for every business, but it is a very effective and measurable media.  Also, use your creativity on making your goals attainable and trackable regardless of the services your website offers!

  • http://twitter.com/larrycarillo Larry Carillo

    @google-14dd2a867ff1402bbe3e524ded13d74b:disqus thank you for the URL! Very helpful information!

    -Larry Carillo

  • http://www.asifism.com Commie B

    I am afraid spending does not justify success. It only results on money being spent! If you can tell me how much of SalesForce’s business comes from the money the ‘invest’ or ‘expend’ on advertising on the Google Search Engine, we can talk about it being effective – everything else is really not that relevant.

    Agreed – ultimately you have to meet your business goals – tracking really only becomes an issue for many businesses when the goals are not being met. I’m not saying that is the right way to run a business, but neither is spending money on a non business generating, track-able medium that just results in a higher CTR and increased traffic.

  • http://twitter.com/CCSPHX CompassCleaning

    Am I missing something? We pay Google for our PPC campaign. They run a study that says ‘You all need PPC’.  Google tweaks the algorythm to front load paying businesses.  No, that’s not suspect at all.  I’m just being paranoid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/briano111 Brian Osterhout

    This is comical.  The big problem is what many companies are still selling the whole idea a click is a click.  I am sure almost everyone who has read this has done their own testing and has plenty of data to prove, a ppc click is not the same value as an organic click yet it can, depending on your SEM and SEO skill, cost you a good deal more.  

    It just doesn’t (on most campaigns and verticals) convert like an organic click at any price. A smart marketer should test and test again against every type of variation to come down to the real value of their clicks and where they come from… so they know what clicks they really care about driving and in what quantity.


  • http://twitter.com/GDMorey Greg Morey

    If only it were that easy!  Consider Consumer Behavior, even your own. People still have to be reminded your business is there then they search, read reviews, ask friends, then they move to the shelf and purchase path.  63% of America has bought something based on a Review from someone they have never met before.  You still have “Smith-Barney” your way to the consumer’s wallet – you have to earn it.

  • http://twitter.com/GDMorey Greg Morey

    If only it were that easy!  Consider Consumer Behavior, even your own. People still have to be reminded your business is there then they search, read reviews, ask friends, then they move to the shelf and purchase path.  63% of America has bought something based on a Review from someone they have never met before.  You still have “Smith-Barney” your way to the consumer’s wallet – you have to earn it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000012452846 Kimberly Prescott

     Actually we use PPC and can track all the way through to a closed lead. The technology is out there and works if you know how to use it. Additionally, we are a B2B and use it as one of the main sources of our leads. Perhaps, perspective is the key here in this conversation thread.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000012452846 Kimberly Prescott

     Actually we use PPC and can track all the way through to a closed lead. The technology is out there and works if you know how to use it. Additionally, we are a B2B and use it as one of the main sources of our leads. Perhaps, perspective is the key here in this conversation thread.

  • http://twitter.com/K_J_Designs Keith James Designs

    A lot depends on how much you are spending on SEO and what your PPC rate for your chosen keywords are. A well planned and optimized PPC campaign can actually beat SEO. The problem is that many novices simply send their PPC traffic to their homepage and not to a targeted landing page.
    You also have to consider the amount of time and effort it takes a new company or site to rank on the first 100 results. What are your choices? Wait? Organic results will always be preferred but there are only so many results on the first page.
    You can spend a lot of time and effort to never make it to the front page. You could also make it to the front page and get slapped down (sometimes way down) with a change to the algorithm. 
    I just hope that Google’s changes to their algorithm isn’t an attempt to just drive more PPC spending. 

  • HawaiiSEO

    LOL – Sure they do… I tested this on a brand name keyword that we had a #1 organic ranking for and found that the PPC result didn’t generate any traffic at all. None. Zero.

    First – I created a baseline. 

    I did this by measuring the total % of keyword traffic generated over time by the target keyword. (The brand name of the company)

    My target keyword was responsible for nearly 20% of the total traffic the website received. This ratio remained remarkably consistent month over month. The total traffic to the site went up and down fairly drastically due to seasonality but the % of total traffic from the target keyword remained very consistent.   

    About 30% of that traffic was PPC and the other 70% of that traffic was Organic. This ratio was also remarkably consistent month over month as well.  

    So – We shut off that keyword for an entire month to see if the % of total traffic generated by the keyword would drop. 

    As expected… The keyword still generated nearly 20% of the total traffic to the website. The ratio was EXACTLY the same as before the test.

    Then we turned the PPC campaign back on for a month…  Again – The keyword still generated the EXACT same level of traffic as before.

    The we shut off the PPC campaign again for another month. This time we kept it off because there was absolutely ZERO loss of traffic. 

    The only thing that changed was the COST. That was a BIG change.

  • Fosti Nosti

    this is realy nice article



  • Rajesh Dhawan

    Clearly, the PPC clicks in this case just imply the fact that users find it more convenient to click the results that are on the top of a page. 

    With PPC ads on the top and above the organic results, a percentage of total visitors to a brand’s website would click on the PPC ads rather than scrolling down to the first organic result. 

    This could be explained by that fact that if you have a look at the consolidated page comprising of the PPC and organic listings, the top organic listing will actually be either ranked 2nd or lower. In some cases, the top organic listing could be even 3rd or 4th. 

    It all boils down to user behavior, and your study does prove that.

    The only unanswered question is to check if the PPC users represent more buying interest and hence drive better conversions.

  • http://www.asifism.com Commie B

    Hi Kimberly. I’m aware of technology out there to track PPC leads. It’s great that you and your business have mastered the art of PPC and it works for you.

    If you sell a B2B service, have you done a cost benefit analysis of how many times your customers click on a PPC ad just to come to your site and sign-in to the service?

    Perspective is they to everything – you see things in a way that make them right or wrong. Facts are generally built around supporting a perspective, ANY perspective.

  • http://www.asifism.com Commie B

    Yes, consumer behaviour is the key. Reminding people about your business in this age of fast information is absolutely key as consumer memory is short – and that’s the only place PPC counts.

    Reviews, etc have nothing to do with PPC. Perhaps if Google was honest about it and left ads to just the right side, search would deliver its purpose. Google sells search – it doesn’t provide a free service – I think that is where consumers need education.

  • HawaiiSEO

    Like I said… Nothing changed but the cost. (Which was a huge change)

    Just for the sake of argument…

    Let’s say that the some of folks who would have preferred to click a PPC link… if there had been a PPC link to click on were somehow less motivated to make a purchase after they looked a bit farther down the page to the #1 listing which was the official website and an exact match to the brand name query they just made…

    There would need to be a very big drop off to justify turning such an expensive campaign back on. We didn’t see any drop in revenue per visitor. No drop in average order value, nothing. Not even a little bit.

  • Rajesh Dhawan

    Agreed absolutely. If it is just a question of offering multiple options on the same page for a user to click, then it makes sense to conserve the marketing budget and let a single organic listing prevail.

    Perhaps, you could just re-deploy the budget on other PPC terms that could offer more value or increase your bid on existing PPC terms for a better rank within the paid listings.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aiden-Moor/100001939456401 Aiden Moor

     As its title shows that it will turn into double then it will be 100% but the figure only shows that it turns into 50% . So now how can I take it according to its title.

  • jnscollier

    People not in this industry don’t know the difference between a paid search ad and an organic result.  They think the top ad is an organic result and the best one that Google ‘chose’ as the best result.

    Obviously when there’s no organic results and a paid search ad for a given term, it makes sense that it would cause 89% drop in clicks… since… you wouldn’t have gotten a click since you don’t show up organically.  Makes sense.  It was good to get clarification around this!

  • jambad

    Isn’t this study kind of like Ford Motor Co. doing a study that concludes that Fords are better vehicles? All of this data supports the need for continued or increased paid budget. Would Google have released the data if Chan had concluded that paid traffic cannibalizes organic? No. 

  • georgemichie

    This is a much better study than the first draft but the harder questions we’re trying to crack relate to:  a) the type of brand phrase:  “Sony TV” is sold by Sony, but also 1,000 other places online.  Taking Sony’s own ad off the page will cost them traffic.  “Walmart” is only available at Walmart, hence the incremental value of the ad is likely much smaller.  Moreover, there are companies with ambiguous brand names like Diapers.com.  Someone searching for “Diapers” may be looking for that company, or the product described by the trademark.

    The other challenging piece is the extent to which the competition is from affiliate links.  Do I choose the Acme.com organic link, or the cheesycouponsite.com/acme link that promises “10% off Acme.”  The ad may draw clicks away from the organic link (cannibalism), but also save commission and margin by cannibalizing from the affiliate traffic.

    Test, test, test…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1083661109 Lizzie Greene

     I ran the same exact experiment with my site and saw a considerable increase in traffic and earnings when bidding on my brand name even after subtracting our Adwords costs.  The fact that you and I both experienced different results proves my point: don’t bother trusting Google or any “Best Practices” blog when It’s very simple to run an experiment and find the reality for your own site.