Google Paid Search Can Double Your Site Traffic, Even If You’re #1

Organic and paid search are an important part of any Internet marketing strategy, however Google’s research on how the two work together has been questionable. In fact, Google has claimed that ceasing a paid search campaign would result in an 89% decline in clicks. It’s interesting that such a figure can be so significant, after all, what if a site is top ranking for a specific keyword? As you can imagine, a lot of questions were asked and Google’s most recent study presents new results that further explain the interaction between organic and paid search.

The majority of the time, for most sites, there are no organic results on page one. The 89% decrease in clicks makes a lot more sense given that 81% of paid search ads are displayed without an accompanying organic result, as an average. In fact, a search ad is only paired with a top ranking organic result 9% of the time. Organic results appear in positions 2 and 4 only 5% of the time, and rankings below 5 appear 4% of the time.

The researchers didn’t dig into keywords in much depth, analyzing branded vs. generic terms, however branded terms are likely to appear higher, which isn’t surprising.

So what if you’re already in a #1 organic position. Why the hell do you need to spend more money? Isn’t it a waste? You may be surprised to know that even if a brand is ranked in a #1 position, if a paid search ad is present, the site will receive 50% more clicks, on average. It may be hard to believe, but the data speaks for itself.

The study also showed that 82% of ad clicks are incremental if a site’s organic result is positioned between 2 and 4. Clicks are 96% incremental should a brand’s organic rank be 5 or below.

When looking at averages and considering the complexities of campaigns, there will be a far amount of variability within the data from keyword to keyword and advertiser to advertiser, which is why it’s important to do your own testing and measurement. Also of importance, the study used clicks for measurement, not tracking conversions, so we are unable to feel out what incremental clicks followed through to a defined conversion.

Is paid search a part of your Internet marketing stategy? If so, how are you using it? If not, does it interest you? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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