The assumption by experts (myself included) and laypeople alike is that when it comes to getting the most clicks on Google, the organic results is where most of the action is.
However, new research by Wordstream provides some interesting stats that cast some doubt on that assumption.
Here are the stats…
64.6% of clicks for high commercial intent keywords are from Google ads vs. 35.4% from organic results.
The top organic listing gets just 8.9% of the clicks, the top 3 ads on the page get 41.1% of the clicks.
45.5% of people couldn’t identify the search engine results page if there wasn’t a right column.
Wordstream is a very well respected firm though, to be fair, is very much focused on the PPC side of the equation. So, as with any research, you have to take the source into account.
There’s also some additional data that would be nice to see here such as the conversion rates of PPC traffic vs. organic traffic as well as getting some breakdowns by industry/niche.
That said, those are some pretty big numbers in favor of PPC being the place where most of the action is these days for “high commercial intent” keywords.
However accurate the data is or isn’t, there are two big things going on here that you need to factor into your online marketing strategy.
First is that Google, quite purposely, is shifting the focus of the search engine results to paid search and Google AdWords. Take a look at this screen shot I took for a search for local plumbers in St Louis. The areas is the red boxes are paid search.
Notice how, above the fold, only 4 local search results show up. And this is using a pretty good size monitor. People on laptops and iPads are going to see even fewer of the local or organic results.
Here’s another screen capture from a product search for the Canon Rebel t3i.
Again, look how much of the above the fold space is taken up by paid ads. Google recently transitioned Product Search to all paid results so if you sell products online, you pretty much have to use paid ads if you want to show up on page 1.
The second factor to keep in mind is something I’m constantly harping on (and will continue to do so!)…diversity.
Relying on just SEO, just PPC, just Facebook, etc. is a recipe for disaster.
It always has been (just ask those that have had an AdWords account banned or got slapped by the Panda or Penguin organic algorithm updates) and is only becoming more so.
If the data from Wordstream’s research is accurate, then paid search results are now getting about twice as many clicks as organic search results for high commercial intent keywords. Based on the screen shots above and seeing how the paid search dominates the above the fold results, it certainly seems like those numbers are quite plausible.
If you’ve been ignoring Google AdWords, I hope this research will encourage you to consider adding AdWords to the marketing mix for your business. Because these days, if you want to stake your claim to a spot on page 1 of Google, AdWords may be your best, if not only, option.