Here’s the write up for an interesting little experiment comparing the click through rates of a #1 organic search listing and a PPC ad for the same keyword. I wanted to see which would get more traffic, the results are below!
If you looked at a typical Google results screen 5 years ago and compared it to a typical results screen now then you’d probably notice some rather large changes:
These screenshots aren’t actual representations of what the search results look like because unfortunately I don’t have any snapshots of Google five years ago, but they’re a fairly accurate representation.
The areas in Red are either Google Ads, Google products listings or other stuff that Google has chucked in that will worsen the click through rate of an organic listing.
The areas in Green are our sites – the sites that we’ve spent ages SEO’ing…
Notice how the “Now” screenshot contains a heck of a lot more red than it does green
That’s right – it seems every day there are new “Google properties” added to filter clicks away from natural search listings to other areas of the Google network.
A while ago I spent a long time researching, testing and writing about how it was
Part of this high CTR was undoubtedly because my PPC ad had a nice bunch of sitelinks underneath it.
Also, the title for my organic listing may not have been optimal for a high click through rate – it wasn’t a bad snippet, I just haven’t tested it to see if it could be improved.
Finally, this experiment was performed in a competitive niche with a full spectrum of 3 PPC ads above the natural listings which will undoubtedly dilute the CTR for the organic listing. However, there weren’t any Google places or product placements to dilute natural traffic. I expect the experiment would have yielded different results if all ads were in the ad position located to the right side of the natural listings where they generally attract a lower CTR.
I’m finding it hard to argue that a PPC ad with aggressive bidding, when done correctly, can easily outperform the #1 listing in Google natural search.
It’s certainly making me consider introducing new PPC channels to a number of my sites because I can see that I must be missing out on a lot of volume in my competitive niches.
OF course SEO isn’t dying – I just write that to attract your attention ;) But, you have to admit, it’s pretty interesting to just how much volume PPC ads can take from the natural results!
Have you noticed this yourselves / have any data to report? I’d love to hear from you in the comments box below!