Last summer, Google left marketers scratching their heads after reporting that nixing paid search ads (from a balanced paid and organic search marketing strategy) would result in an 89% drop in clicks.
“What happens if your brand is the top organic result for the keyword?” Search Engine Land wondered. “Surely the results would be different than if your organic result was on the second page?”
Admits David Chan, Google’s lead researcher for the study: “When we released the first paper, we had a lot of questions coming back, asking more more [sic] details around incrementality [sic] and under what situations can you expect different numbers.”
In response, Google just released new research that sheds light on the original findings -- particularly that 89% figure, which makes more sense when you consider that paid search ads appear without an accompanying organic search result on pages 81% of the time, on average.
Based on the revised data, Google finds that even when a brand is ranked No. 1 for search on an organic basis, they can get 50% more clicks on average by paying up for an accompanying ad, WebProNews notes.
“Only 9% of the time does a search ad show with an organic result in the top rank,” Search Engine Land remarks. “An organic result appears in ranks 2 to 4 5% of the time, and in lower ranks (below 5), about 4% of the time.”
In other words, “Google is a pay to play world, even with the best organic SEO,” VentureBeat concludes. Granted, “research from Google showing it helps to buy more ads doesn’t seem like the most objective data in the world, but it seems to have struck a nerve with a marketing industry that has long preached the gospel of search engine optimization.”